Great video explains how to turn sandy desert soil into fertile soil for low cost. This is now scientifically proven and being used in test plots in Egypt and many other countries. The secret is to mix powdered clay with sand then add plants and water to produce mycorrhizal fungi. Search related articles on our blog by searching for keywords such as desertification, soil, etc.
Be sure to watch the original video on TEDx where researcher Ole Morten Oleson goes into the details by. They’re using liquid nano clay (tiny particles of clay in water) and pouring it directly on to the desert. This method enables mycorrhizal fungi to grow on the roots. This simple breakthrough is producing results 416% better than any other method. The breakthrough was so startling and significant that no soil scientists would accept the results. It took six years to determine what exactly was happening and verify the experiments before other scientists would believe it worked.
Special thanks to Mark at I Am Organic Gardening who’s been publishing a whole series about how he’s building soil naturally and organically on his farm.
Insightful comment from poster James Kniskern: The idea is to get water to stay in the sand. Sand lets water flow down and out, leeching nutrients with it. Using clay, the water and nutrients stay where plant roots, fungus and soil life can use it. After a few years of crops are grown on this new soil, biomass builds up and holds those nutrients as well. Either the Chinese method of biogel or this nano clay method do this. Both are valid, and both seem to work just fine. What is needed is to get the foothold of life in the deserts, then, and only then can nature begin to do her job of making it green. And after it gets set up, forests allowed to grow, rain will again begin to fall on its own, as trees are rain makers too.
To this I recommend growing a forest garden in rows like we’ve recently started doing. This is a well documented type of agro forestry. This is the type of garden we’ve been growing for almost 5 years.