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Modular design course - days 5 and 6

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Day 5 – Soils and Life 

Recap (elements and functions) and Introduction to soil
Life in soil - organisms, micro-guilds, pests
Design – objectives and directives – design for risks and events

- elements of a design project
Soil building in nature  - patterns of soil building – succession
Agriculture, horticulture and soil – soil as a growing medium
- the importance of "edge" in soil


Observation and Pattern – observation walk/exercise
Soil structure - what makes a good soil? - carbon stores and losses
- composition of soils, classification and testing
Soil variation across climate zones, impact of cultivation
- cultivation strategies
Polycultures in zones 1 and 2 – home gardens, market gardens and small livestock


Day 6 – Soils and Cultivation

Nutrients in soil - nutrition for plants, animals and humans, availability and uptake
Design methods –limiting factors in design
Systems and energy – open and closed systems
– the efficiency of natural processes - “exergy” and “lethargy”
The nitrogen cycle in soils - importance of nitrogen fixers
Polycultures, plant guilds, interaction matrices


Life in soils – pulsing, ethylene, ferrous/ferric switch
Soil building in zones 1 and 2 (composts, fertilisers and mulches)
Polycultures in Zone 3 – livestock and climate

– rangelands, permanent pastures, mob stocking and Holistic Management
- Alley cropping – strategies and techniques for cereal growing
Soil as a construction material (terraces, roads, dams, houses)
- the basics of earthworks - working with machines



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