Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Every Day Is Earth Day
The picture above shows what you get for "free." This is mucipal lime sludge being spread at no cost to the land owner, paid for by every one who pays their monthly water tap and useage free. The picture below shows what I used, I paid every penny for it.
In the nine years we have lived here, this is the greenest most lush I have ever seen this land. We have 100 acres of beautiful wheat here at the top of the hill near Martinsville. We needed this in 2011 when it rained 25 inches in spring. Half of those acres were planted to wheat or cover crop. The other half washed away.
What is Earth Day? To me, Earth Day is leaving this planet better than we found it. I am not sure that is possible because we don't work in God's time, we work in Man's time. What we see as all wonderful is not so wonderful a few years down the road.
I think the best thing we have done is no-till. There is definitely less soil in the rivers and the ocean thanks to no-till. Many have tried no-till, if not most. Probably over half of those farmers went back to some kind of tillage because they were not satisfied with the results.
Still, there was and is biology lacking. The best thing I have done for my soil is to plant a cover crop every time I take a crop off. That requires more labor and more plant food. The more I put into it the more I get out. Everything needs to be in some kind of balance so I soil test regularly, once per crop rotation cycle at least and tissue test every crop at fruiting.
The phrase "Soil Was Meant To Be Covered" is very applicable to me. If I don't do it, Mother Nature will. Mother Nature raises some beautiful covers like Purple Dead Nettle or Cressleaf Groundsel. Since I am here for such a short time, I prefer the intensive way, that is me planting the cover crop I choose as I discover what I need.
Fertilizer is the same way. It has greatly changed the way we farm. The more I address my soil test, which I consider as good as any and the more I address my tissue test, the prettier, healthier, more profitable my crops become.
Does GMO fit into my success? No. Does glyphosate, the miracle weed killer fit into my scheme? No. I have learned what they offer does not give me success. They will send me the wrong direction with chelation and increased pest resistance while needlessly driving up my seed costs. I see this happening to so many other farmers..
Every day is Earth Day. What have you done to preserve your little piece of earth?