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Quote of the Day: Wendell Berry

October 21st, 2012

“Soil loss…is a problem that embarrasses all of our technological pretensions. If soil were all being lost int a huge slab somewhere, that would appeal to the would-be heroes of “science and technology,” who might conceivably engineer a glamorous, large, and speedy solution – however many new problems they might cause in doing so. But soil is not usually lost in slabs or heaps of magnificent tonnage. It is lost a little at a time over millions of acres by the careless acts of millions of people. It cannot be saved by heroic acts of gigantic technology, but only by millions of small acts and restraints, conditioned by small fidelities, skills, and desires. Soil loss it ultimately a cultural problem; it will be corrected only by cultural solutions.”

– Wendell Berry found in The Small-Scale Poultry Flock: An All-Natural Approach to Raising Chickens and Other Fowl for Home and Market Growers–With information on building … feed, and working with poultry in the garden

I’ve always thought that gardeners grow soil not plants. Without soil, we wouldn’t have gardens. Since I inherited no soil at our previous place and spent 10 years building it up to a nice rich earth, I know what at it takes to climb back from ‘ground zero’.

It takes a lot of hard work, lots of manure, rock powders, humus and other inputs to grow mere inches of topsoil. I probably added a foot of inputs each year to gain a few inches of soil over the course of 10 years.

This is one of the reasons I’m always encouraging the use of mulches and cover crops instead of letting the soil lay bare. Also the reason I advocate for a no-till system and permaculture. Preserving our soil is one of the most important things we can do for future generations!

What soil preservation technique is your favorite: cover crops, mulch, compost, etc?

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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