Understanding Soil Health in Horticulture Systems (Part 1/Intro) – Two Mornings – Online/Remote Course
An online course on the principles of soil health, using problem-based learning. Learn what the soil health principles are, where they are gleaned from and how their application improves- and creates soil crumb structure.
Living Roots – Covered Soil – Minimal Disturbance – Diversity
The soil health principles work. From large farms to market gardens, when implemented doggedly they bring real results: better soil structure, healthier crops and more consistent yields. What’s more, the growers that have most rigorously applied these principles have the more profitable operations today.
Session 1: Presentations
- Regenerative ag & soil health principles
Session 2: Workshop/Exercises
- Analysis of soils on your operation
- Applied principles
When enrolled you will be given complementary access to a Soilmentor account for use on the course, for: recording soils obsevations and sharing data with the tutor, for feedback and analysis on session 2.
All sessions will be videoed and made available to you offline, for you to watch again, or to view if you miss the live session.
Available for: LWA & OGA Members
Regenerative Agriculture – The Broader Context
- The imperative
- 4 Ecosystem Processes
Empirical case for good soil management
- How different strategies affect soil structure
- Reducing grade-outs and crop failures
- Minimising moisture stress
Defining soil health
- How it’s articulated and how to measure it
Soil Health Principles
- What they are & the processes that underpin them
- Empirical evidence of their application on market gardens
Evidencing soil health
- Aggregation, spade tests, visual soil inspection
Aggregation and crumb structure
- What creates it, and how to maximise
- Fostering nitrogen fixation for all crops
One Key Insight
- Microbes Matter
Soil Health Principles
- Living Root – for as Long-/as Often as Possible
- Covered Soil – with Residues or Living Plants
- Minimise Disturbance/Compaction – Tillage
- Maximise Diversity – in Rotations/Plantings
- Feed Soils – with Organic Matter (Between Cropping)
- Incorporate Animals – Ideally Adaptive Grazed
- Minimise Use of Chemicals/Synthetics
Best Practice Management Solutions
- Cultivation systems
- Cover crops
- Traits of best practice options
Sign-Posts & Practical Tips
- Case studies
- Monitoring & trials
- What to do this season
About the Tutor
Niels Corfield has been working to deliver a truly regenerative food system for over 15 years. He is an advisor, researcher, educator, designer & tree nurseryman. Working to create agroecological landscapes and farms in the UK and Europe he is focussed on systems that are low maintenance and productive. He advises and consults on: soil health, planned grazing, agroforestry, and whole farm planning. He helps transition farm operations, through an inclusive/participatory approach.
He provides a mapping & design service for whole farm planning, that include: agroforestry, fencing, water & power. His clients include: Southanan Estate, Fir Farm, Dora’s Dairy, Birch Farm Woolsery, Fosse Tillery Farm. In his work as a soils researcher, technician and demonstrator he has helped to develop the Sectormentor for Soils app and website: https://soils.sectormentor.com/about-us/
Pulling together the different protocols along side testing & demonstrating the app in the field, with farmers. He has also helped coordinate the PFLA project: Monitoring the Pulse of Soils under Pasture. As well as conducting cover crops trials on arable and horticulture operations in the UK, he has carried-out on-farm soil assessments with a number of farmers and growers in the SW, Wales, the SE and the Midlands. He delivers specialist training courses for farmers, growers and land managers.
He has delivered trainings in England, Wales & Scotland. These courses are practical, applied & participatory and focus on ways that farmers and growers can implement the principles of regenerative agriculture on this operations.
He is committed to an information-lead approach to land-based decision making and management practices. He works closely with Sectormentor, SioBio Lab & Field Margin. He has 12 years teaching experience, with adult education. He is formally trained in Holistic Management & Regenerative Agriculture Design.
- Digital hand-outs
- PowerPoint Presentations
- Market gardeners
- Commercial growers
- Nursery workers
- Horticulture managers
- Apprentices, trainee growers