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Why is organic matter important? What causes biological degradation? How can I assess my soil biology and how can I improve it?

This training is the 4th in a series discussing soil science. This series of lectures and practical demonstrations gives a broad overview and introduction to some basic soil characteristics: phases (solid, liquid, gas), texture, density, structure, reaction (pH), plant-water relationships, organic matter, and nutrients.

After this lecture we went head out to into the ECHO Farm to look at cover crops being grown on the farm as well as how to set a pitfall trap to assess insect life in the soil.

Special thanks to Dr. Landon Darilek for giving this presentation at the ECHO Asia Small Farm Resource Center in Chiang Mai, Thailand on 11 September 2020.

Video highlights:

00:00 Welcome from Dr. Ed Sabio, ECHO Asia Regional Director

04:45 Introduction and Review from Dr. Landon Darilek

12:40 Introduction to Soil Organic Matter (SOM)

17:55 Categories of SOM

23:40 Soil Biomass- What is living in 1 teaspoon of soil?

35:30 Sources of Organic Matter (OM)

39:55 Carbon:Nitrogen Ratio

47:50 Functions of OM in soil

50:20 Factors affecting SOM levels

52:27 SOM Issues, Assessment & Technical Interventions

53:05 Ways to assess soil biological health

1:09:00 Ways to maintain SOM levels

1:24:18 Composting

1:33:00 Tillage