Saturday, September 25, 2010


Soil without biology is dead soil. This may look like trash to you but to me it is valuable food for my soil livestock, my soil biology.

Farmers tinker around with biology more than they understand. They modify the soil structure, they modify the soil chemistry, they affect the soil biology. Then they plant modified seeds into and spray it with modified chemicals and suddenly you have so many variables going you don't know what causes what.

Some hybrids really responded to this year's weird weather and some didn't so much. Was it the hybrid or the conditions they were provided to grow in? You really cannot answer that. Then you look at a test plot and Brand A wins. You plant it on a lot more acres and it doesn't win so much. Was it a one time wonder?

I really enjoy tinkering with the biology involved in farming. I am down to a certain way of fertilizing, a certain way to plant, and a certain seed to drop. Many farmers do better but I still enjoy it. I see the science and the wonder of it all.

I haven't even mentioned the livestock industry or the animal kingdom. They depend on plants for feed. Healthy soil makes healthy crops which feed healthy livestock and provide us with healthy food. Any mistake or contamination and it all goes wrong for a bit.

A good friend asked me where I learned these things.

Soils? Started as a child and soil test kit and just kept learning. Always wanted to help dad grow the best products he could. Soils classes at OSU helped a lot. Took over the school farm in 71 and worked with a good farmer who was a NaChurs rep. Never used much of that fertilizer though, too expensive. Masters classes in soils. Brookside training which did not fully agree with mine. OARDC Labs which did a good job. Picked the brains of the best, tried it, modified it. Always wanted to know what was under my feet and how to improve. Curiosity hasn't killed me yet.

I did use more liquid fertilizer this year than I ever did because I needed a little boost in cold wet soil. I used it again to give my double crop a boost. It did both.

There is so much to learn!


1 comment:

  1. Hello, you sure were are not related? Have been driving down the roads lately and every time I go by a wheat stubble or prevented planting field soil tilth comes to mind. You see these farmers working or should I say beating these soils to death. It's like if one beating is not enough ,I will hit you 4 more times. Surely you will give up in the end. But what I see is these soils just becoming more depleted of any structure. What's nice is walking in my fields and seeing my critters homes or the earthworm castles doing their job. Just had to pick up on your blog. Keep harvest safe! tom