Thursday, September 8, 2011

Smoke Test

We always used the words smoke test when firing up a new or overhauled engine. My friend Jules sent a really good cover crop email that includes a link to a smoke test in soil where tile and cover crops were used and you can see the smoke from the Jimmy Diesel engine blowing its famous smoke into the pressurized tile and out the macropores into the air.

This is a very good email I will share with you if you are interested and I am sending it out to my contact list today. Just email me at if you would like a copy.

The email includes the introductory video also has a description of the soil pit where the experiment was performed on lake bed soils in Northwest Ohio, Williams County on the Overland farm recently. This should help the farmer, landowner and agronomist/consultant see the value of cover crops, especially in tiled land.

The speaker is Frank Gibbs of NRCS in northwest Ohio. I met him at the soils class held at the Coshocton Hydrologic Station in August. This all ties toether with my trips and blogs in August to various field days where we are trying to improve plant health through soil health. Part is physics like macropores, part is chemistry inclduing fertilizers and lime and part is biology, the tons of living organisms found in healthy soils. Healthy soil, healthy plant, healthy animal, healthy humand is the concept, just like I taught in my ag classes all my life since 1971.

Gardeners can improve their soil right now by sowing radish, wheat, oats, rye or whatever they can get their hands on into their passing summer garden. This can be plowed or tilled in to improve soil health, tilth, and structure. Farmers have already done this or soon doing this by flying cover crop seeds into stand corn and bean fields or have them up and growing where they harvested cereal crops this summer.

Its an old technique of keeping the soil covered that was never more viable or needed than today.

Ed Winkle

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