Date of this Version
Environmental Studies Undergraduate Student Thesis, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Conventional agriculture is the currently leading production method to grow crops in the western hemisphere. Long-term sustainability of the system and all the components is secondary to producing high yields each growing season, which leads to issues such as erosion and reduced soil quality. Other agricultural production methods such as permaculture aim to build soil and improve quality every growing season. This experiment intends to look at the potential of permaculture to improve soil quality on small-scales at the end of each growing season. The parameters to gauge success are a larger concentration of macronutrients at the end of the growing season and a pH within the ideal 6.0-7.0 range. Replication of two experimental and control plots were implemented to test the potential of permaculture on small-scales, with control plot plants separated into rows to mimic conventional agriculture and experimental plot plants in the permaculture beds were placed by each other to enhance plant connections. Each bed received two applications of either organic or conventional fertilizer on the same date. Statistical analysis of the data showed that the only macronutrient successfully impacted by the permaculture methods was sulfur. The pH for both treatments was not improved and increased well above the ideal 6.0 – 7.0 range.