Thursday, January 15, 2009

It Starts with Soil

We moved to this little Farm in May 2007 which is almost 2 years ago. In our exuberance to begin our work on the Farm, we had ambitious Garden Plans for each of the last 2 growing seasons. This year is no exception. However, one factor is different.

We 3 C's are increasingly aware that the Soil in these parts is tired and worn after what surely must be 160 years of cultivation. I think I would be tired too. We Settlers to this Continent have been continuously taking from the Soil and giving little in return. We have forgotten that: Soil is the source of Life, Soil is a limited resource, taking necessitates giving, we Humans are Stewards of Soil. That Soil we hold in our hands belongs to Future Generations.

When we take and take, we erode the Life Giving Potential of this Precious Soil. When the vitality of Soil is diminished, the Plants we raise from that Soil are diminished in their living potential. Such diminished potential gives rise to Insects, Diseases, Weeds with which we Growers will increasingly struggle. We could talk at length about some of our struggles in the Garden these past 2 years. Plus, the diminished Nutrients in the Soil result in Foods which are not optimal for the Health our Bodies need. What we give is also what we get.

In the late 1990s, we found a holistic Veterinarian for our Pets Wicket, Scamp and Max. We were thrilled. In that 1st session, the Vet went right to the point. He said that the Food we feed our Pets comes from impoverished Soils. Feeding Pets Food from impoverished Soils results in Pets whose health is increasingly compromised.

As the years passed, I became aware of a kind of Agriculture which "mines" the Soil. This kind of Agriculture does not consider Soil as the basis for Life, but rather a medium which holds Plants in place. Man made chemical inputs feed the Plants. In my own mind, this approach is a recipe for a Desert of our own making.

As we began our adventures here, we knew we needed to beef up the Soil. I can tell you that as a person who has lived 58 years of her life in the City, I have made peace with Poop. That rich Organic Compost is making a difference on this Land.

Those Chickens are doing their part. In the beginning, I wrinkled up my City Person's nose and thought "Oooh, Poop." That changed pretty quickly. Now, the Farmer in me sees Poop and I think Fertilizer. It surely beats the Chemical kind. Our feathered Friends eat and they scratch and they poop. Last year, Organic Farmer Rolf Christen brought a grain truck load of aged Cow Manure. The stuff was filled with vital energy. We used every single particle. Rolf will be bringing more this Spring, when things dry out a bit. We are grateful beyond words.

This year, I am focusing more on information on "Soils" and less so on Seeds. I will have to do battle above the Ground if I do not give consideration to what is happening in the Ground. That makes little sense. I am a slow learner, but I do learn.

We are finding some amazing resources. I am told that when we are ready, the teacher will emerge. Last Friday, we met Brad Whitaker and his family, who are Organic Farmers in the Linneus area. Brad is a great resource who is helping us analyze and restore some of the vitality to our Soils. Our neighbors Ethan and Sarah Hughes are experienced in Permaculture, which is a permanent system of Agriculture giving consideration to Gardens as Ecology. They will be offering a class on Permaculture in the next few months. We are likely to be there on the front row.

It starts with Soil. We are hungry to learn. I can imagine that the Soil is hungry too.

Dear Reader: I would be curious to hear your Journey of Discovery through these things.

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