Hands on workshop

As ecosystems increase in their productivity from bare soil to forests, the balance changes from a bacterial-dominant to a fungal-dominant system, as well as going from low to high carbon content in soils. In his research looking at biological soil enhancements, Dr David Johnson from the Institute of Sustainable Agriculture at New Mexico State University (NMSU), found a high population of soil fungi in the soil is critical to a plant’s productivity in healthy agricultural systems.

The weeds that typically grow well in poor soil are indicative of a low fungal contingent, and play a part in the initial stages of transition from a poorer soil towards one that can support higher order plants. In order to move up the ladder some controlled disturbance is necessary – this can be created by grazing animals, which with their activity and dung, create a microbiological inoculation event that moves with the animals. In the absence of animals or to increase the impact of those animals, the addition to soils of a fungal-dominant and biologically diverse compost inoculant, in combination with a diverse array of living plant roots, will kick start the process of soil transition.

The Johnson-Su Bioreactor & Composting System, developed by Dr Johnson and his wife Hui-Chun Su Johnson, is a method of creating this fungal-rich compost. The bioreactor mimics what happens to dung and organic matter on grasslands, “it’s approximately 70% moisture content, doesn’t require turning, shouldn’t freeze and is always aerobic.” Built using easily sourced, relatively cheap materials , it’s placed on a pallet to allow good airflow from below, keeping the process aerobic, together with the six air columns created with pipes during the construction and filling phase. The pipes are pulled out after 24 hours as the pile completely stabilises itself with newly developed fungal hyphae and actinomycetes.

This ‘hands on’ workshop facilitated by Mark Tupman from Productive Ecology, will give participants the opportunity to learn how to build & fill their own Johnson Su Bioreactor., together with tips on how to maintain composting conditions to ensure that the compost produced is actually fungal dominated and biologically diverse at the end of its maturing process.


Date:                   Thursday August 18th, 2.00pm to 5.00pm  AWST

Location:          Lower Blackwood LCDC Office, 403 Kudardup Rd, Kudardup, Western Australia 6288

Cost:                   $50 + GST / participant

Tickets:             Click to register

More Info:       Click here for more information