Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Questions from Our Assignment

What is this project’s direct connection to soil?

This project directly relates to soil because is all about how we can manage soil in a responsible manor to get the food we need from it while insuring that it will be around for a long time.  We need to start thinking about how our everyday decisions are going to affect soil quality in the future.

How does soil make this project work?

This project was centered on weeding pant beds so that they will be ready for planting in the spring.  Soil makes this project work by providing a four dimensional living habitat for the plants to grow in.  Doing this by hand, instead of with heavy machinery protects the structure of the soil allowing for a more sustainable cycle of growing and harvesting. 

Is there a way that soil management changes could improve this project?

Soil management is at the hart of this project so it is already an integral part of the project.  However, developing better ways to protect the structure of the soil and the organisms living in it is always a continuing challenge.  The goal of soil management is always to leave the soil as healthy as is way before being managed and we have a long way to go.

From this project, what did you learn about soils that you did not know before?

While doing this project our group learned a lot about what organic farming was all about.  It’s not just abstaining from using chemicals and artificial fertilizers.  It also involves looking at the big picture.  It’s about using the incredibly complex and diverse nature ecosystem to aid you in your crop development.  In the end, the goal is not to kill all the bad things, its to grow and develop all of the good things whether those thing are the one that you will eventually harvest or not.

What is the broader impact of the organization or project you helped with?

The broader impact of this project is the education of all those that were involved with it.  Everyone that helped out on the farm that day will take with they valuable lessons and information that will help them make more informed decisions later on.  Whether those decisions involve choosing to buy better produce at a local market or even choosing to start a new organic farm, everyone can continue their lives with a new insight.


This is a picture of a plant that was found around the area that we were working in.We are unsure of what type of plant this is, but we do know that I can be harmful to the crops that are going into the beds that we prepared. This plant would fight for nutrients in the soil, and that can lead to the crops having less nutrients.

Preparing beds for planting!

Diggin' soil :) Here, we are tilling up the soil. With this hand method, although it's more time consuming compared to major food industry crop farms having machines "till" the soil, our method has a lower possibility of compaction occurring with soils. This is important because once a soil becomes compacted, there is minimal (if any) water movement, no ion exchange going on for nutrients between plants, and you end up with a non-diverse soil that has little chance of survival, which is not good for our economy since we always need food readily available! Also, tilling up soil by hand gives us an opportunity to get rid of invasive species that affect soil health, like the notorious Quackgrass.


While roots can grow really deep into soil, there are some limitations that are minimal; this is because roots have a symbiotic relationship (meaning both benefit each other) with mycorrhizae that increase the surface area for roots to reach water, and also interact with fungi that can benefit plant health as well.


Organic Farms use natural methods to preserve soils that are available for our use: Soil truly is what drives the World. Without it, we wouldn't be able to grow nutritious foods that people need to survive, and beautiful flowers that we love to smell! This is why we need to come together to save our soil from destruction, because when soil is gone, we are gone.

Upper Soil Pit

This is a picture was taken in the upper soil pit at the organic farm. James was showing us the different horizons that are within this pit. Although its hard to tell in this picture, this pit shows how the soil in this area was made from continual flooding events. These floods occurred over many years, and after each event, sediment was left on top of the area and this accounts for the different horizons.

Worms Everywhere!

Worms! While worms are small, they play such a big role in the health of soils and plants alike. Worms help recycle, create fine aggregates, and also create paths that not only they move through, but also helps channel water throughout the soil and provide many nutrients all around! The more worms you have in your soil, the more beneficial it will be. Organic farming incorporates a diverse habitat including worms to grow nutritious crops for human consumption.