Organic Matters

‘No field was ever plowed by turning it over in your mind’…and yet that is what I would recommend as a land management  goal. You see, tillage is a destructive practice that oxidizes away your organic matter. Why care? Without it you have a lifeless mineral matrix whose sole purpose is to prop up crops with an endless need for capital and labor intensive inputs of water, fertilizer and biocides. For my money, I’m going to do all I can to amplify the positive effects of a living soil food web. That means mimicking a natural ecosystem which includes cycling the plant residues through animals onto the soil, minimizing soil inversion/disturbance, biological nitrogen fixation and increased biodiversity. The roots of plants exude sugars into the soil to provide energy for beneficial microrganisms which is nature’s process for building soil. The useful ecosystem services you receive from partnering with nature include increased water holding capacity and infiltration, increased fertility and nutrient density as well as additional disease resistance with less labor, machinery or costly overhead. ‘Work smarter, not harder.’