Secrets to Great Soil
If I had to recommend only one book to start you off on improving garden soil, this one’s it.
Secrets to Great Soil by By Elizabeth Stell. This book is such a quick and interesting read with knowledge that will remain with you forever.
I’ve tested many of the methods in this book and posted results on this site. Id like to republish the intro because its a story that I’ve told over and over again since I read the book. I think you’ll like it…
About the same time, I discovered a copy of Malabar Farm on my grandparents’ bookshelf. Louis Bromfield reached a conclusion similar to mine from efforts on a much larger scale in the 1940s. He bought an Ohio farm whose soil was so badly eroded that most topsoil was completely gone or marred by large gullies. Though once productive, the farm had been abandoned. After years of failure to replenish organic matter and mismanaged fertility it could no longer produce decent crops.
Bromfield transformed his fields by incorporating as much organic matter as possible as rapidly as possible. He built up the soil with animal manures and green manures, crop rotations that included pasture, and judicious use of lime and synthetic fertilizers. He controlled erosion on sloping fields by growing cover crops rather than leaving the soil bare over the winter and by plowing along the contour rather than straight up and down. he grew strips of sod between strips of easily eroded crops such as corn.
Improvements were visible after only a year or two. Yields increased greatly: Corn yields doubled or tripled in four years, and on some fields wheat yields increased almost tenfold. Every year, fewer pests and diseases bothered the field and garden crops. By the fifth year, insecticides were no longer needed even though an occasional pest was still seen. The animals, fed directly from the farm on pasture, silage, or field crops, became noticeably healthier. (A laboratory analysis of the farm’s alfalfa showed it was especially high in nutritious minerals.) A nearby stream muddied with soil washed from the fields became clear again.
During the drought of 1944, when farmers all over Ohio were hauling water, the springs on Malabar Farm were still flowing, because all of the erosion controls had allowed rain to seep into the soil and recharge long term water reserves.
other posts you might like
- How to Make Good Garden Soil
- Build a Compost Pile
- Compost Bin Designs
- Types of Bonsai Trees
- When To Start Vegetable Seeds
Dreaming of a
Beautiful Garden?Not Sure how to Put it all Together???