Ecological Soil Management Course

How Does The Course Work For You?

The Course begins as soon as you register. It’s a self-paced course where you can access the Lessons anytime once they are released. Lessons are written and presented by Alan Broughton. You have lifetime access to the course; once they are made available online they remain there for you to access permanently.

Online Ecological Soil Management Course Outline

Lesson 1: Soil – The Foundation For Agriculture


Topic 1: The Complexity Of Soil

  • Relationship between soil physics, biology and chemistry

Topic 2: Soil Organic Matter And Carbon

  • Ecological soil fertility management principles

Topic 3: Finding Local Soil Information

  • Soil formation
  • Soils of Australia

Lesson 2: Assessing soil fertility


Topic 1: The Soil Profile

  • Soil profile examination

Topic 2: Plants As Indicators Of Soil Conditions

  • Weeds as indicators of soil conditions
  • Symptoms of nutrient deficiency and excess

Topic 3: Soil Fertility Monitoring

  • Useful soil fertility monitoring tools
  • Soil laboratory analysis
  • Taking soil samples
  • Soil colour
  • Soil texture testing
  • Soil structure

Topic 4: Easy Soil Tests To Do

  • Soil stability: the Emerson test
  • Acidity and alkalinity
  • Salinity

Lesson 3: Life In The Soil


Topic 1: Bacteria

  • Bacteria: benefits, nodulation of legumes, azotobacter, actinobacteria)

Topic 2: Fungi

  • Fungi: Benefits, mycorrhiza

Topic 3: Other Soil Micro-Organisms

  • Archaea
  • Protozoa
  • Nematodes
  • Algae
  • Encouraging micro-organisms

Topic 4: Providing Best Conditions For Micro-Oganisms

  • Bacteria-fungi balance
  • Soil biology monitoring: using a microscope, lab testing

Topic 5: Larger Critters In The Soil

  • Non-microbial soil life: collembola, mites, dung beetles, earthworms

Lesson 4: Soil Nutrients


Topic 1: Soil Fertilisation: From The Romans To Albrecht


Topic 2: Reading A Soil Test

  • Soil testing versus foliar testing
  • Chemical symbols

Topic 3: The major cations

Calcium: role, interactions, requirements, sources
Magnesium: role, interactions, requirements, sources
Potassium: role, interactions, requirements, sources
Sodium: interactions, requirements, sources
Other cations: aluminium hydrogen

Topic 4: Anions

Phosphorus: role, interactions, requirements, sources
Sulphur: role, interactions, requirements, sources
Nitrogen: role, interactions, requirements, inoculation of legumes, capturing the benefits of nitrogen fixation, other microbial nitrogen fixers, nitrogen loss, nitrogen sources

  • Oxygen
  • Silicon

Topic 5: Trace elements

Copper: role, interactions, requirements, sources
Zinc: role, interactions, requirements, sources
Boron: role, interactions, requirements, sources
Manganese: role, interactions, requirements, sources
Iron: role, interactions, requirements, sources
Cobalt: role, interactions, requirements, sources
Molybdenum: role, interactions, requirements, sources
Selenium, nickel, platinum, rhodium, chlorine

Lesson 5: Soil Improvement Techniques


Topic 1: Soil Aeration


Topic 2: Compost Making

  • Biodynamic farming
  • Compost making: materials, method, usage
  • Compost tea and compost extract

Topic 3: Worm Farming And Vermicompost


Topic 4: Green Manures And Legume Herbs And Trees

  • Soil fertility trees

Topic 5: Compost Tea, Compost Extract And Manure And Weed Teas

  • Manufactured organic fertilisers
  • Biological preparations and stimulants
  • Manure and weed teas

Topic 6: Biological Preparations And Stimulants

  • Coal, ash, charcoal
  • Rock dust, paramagnetism
  • Foliar fertilising
  • Animals as soil improvers

Ecological Soil Management Course Outcomes

After completing the soil management course you will be able to:

Read signs that show the basic characteristics of the soil

Conduct basic soil tests to better understand your soil

Boost soil biology to support your crops

Develop climate change resilience by increasing soil carbon

Interpret a soil laboratory test

Make quality compost and worm castings

Use plant diversity to improve soil fertility

Plan a comprehensive soil fertility program for your land

Alan Broughton’s
Ecological Soil Management Course
online course
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