The first step to improving the soil is to get a soil test! We are actively working with a local company that only takes soil tests and assists farmers in developing a plan for improving their soil quality, Midwestern BioAg. Steve is the representative that we have been working with and he's been fantastic so far! Midwestern BioAg's mission is to educate the farmer about soil quality, not just take a test and tell them what to do. Learning how to decipher a soil test has been a fun and challenging experience. We're definitely moving in the right direction.
A few main steps that we will forever take now are to add compost, add manure, and cover crop! About a month ago we rototilled the field, broadcast oats by hand (thank you many interns!), and then covered them up by running a cultivator through the field. The oats are now a few inches high and next week we will till them in, let the field rest for a few days, and then spread 3-5 tons of composted manure blended with a fertilizer mix and some other necessary soil ammendments to 3 acres of land. Whew! Improving the soil is a lot of work but well worth it!
Monica rototilling the field to prep for planting our spring cover crop
Monica, Dayna, and Greg checking out the soil
All of the St. Olaf interns and Carleon Mentees helping spread oats by hand!
Each year we will continue to actively improve our soil and watch the birds, bees, worms, and more happy bugs flock to the field. We will continue to educate ourselves about the importance of soil health and the steps needed to improve the soil, we hope to be stewards of the land and be available to assist others who too decide that soil health is a top priority.