Early Winter is a time on our farm when many important things are happening, one of those is caring for our soil. We take time to add composting material to our soil all year through and also when our crops have completed their growing cycle this time of year. This provides a ground cover keeping… Read More »
Early Winter is a time on our farm when many important things are happening, one of those is caring for our soil. We take time to add composting material to our soil all year through and also when our crops have completed their growing cycle this time of year. This provides a ground cover keeping nutrients in the ground while protecting the soil from disintegration while retaining moisture and eliminating runoff.
Soil sampling is another key activity that occurs in early Wintertime before the grounds freeze. A core of soil is removed from the fields using a core sampling apparatus tool. Several soil samples (up to 20) would be collected from one field and mixed together to create one uniform sample for testing a particular field area (typically a 20-acre lot size). Once collected, allowed to dry, and labeled, the samples are sent to a private lab to identify soil PH, minor and major nutrients, along with organic matter content. We provide the lab with soil samples and additional information such as field history and planned crops to help identify soil needs. This information is a helpful tool for understanding how to augment the soil for the next planting season along with aiding in diagnosing plant culture problems. Not only is it important to sample soil for the farmers’ benefit to help grow healthier crops, but, it also benefits the environment as well. Soil sampling helps with soil and water conservation efforts and reduces the use of fertilizers. Healthier plants hold more nutrients, produce a better yield, and aid in keeping soil and water in place aligning with our sustainable and regenerative farming practices. (learn more about our farming practices here on our website). We also take care of our soil so that we can secure local food production for future generations.
Soil samples are taken every year and we test the lower layers, not just the top organic matter for a comprehensive true analysis of the soil, as well as any trends that may be occurring. We test the soil at the same time each year, (late Fall/early Winter) to more properly identify developing nutrient inclinations. The soil is tested at the lab using three of the commonly used methods of testing namely; dilution method, saturated media extract and leachate Pour Thru. All of these methods are tried and true methods for obtaining accurate results. An analysis report is created from all the data which we will then utilize to implement our soil plan.
Our farm uses only sustainable and natural growing methods striving for eco-diversity and the long-term enhancement of the natural resources in our care. Our soils become healthier each year (regenerative agriculture) because of our efforts. Not only is soil sampling a big part of growing healthy soil, other strategies include cover cropping, contour farming, conservation tillage, crop rotation and so much more. You can read more about our farming practices and the additional steps we use to grow healthy soil on our website.