Saturday, January 3, 2009

Soil fertility and health

Our problems with liver flukes reminded me that I have been neglectful of my pastures. When we started here we got the soil tested all over the farm, and developed a plan to address some of the big imbalances. We based our plan on the work of Dr. William Albrecht (see the Acres bookstore for his works and Acres magazine for a good ongoing discussion of its implications.) I've worked very hard to get the gardens into balance. We are not there yet, but we are much closer than when we started. The results have been impressive (at least to me.) We have had minimal damage from bean beetles, cabbage worms, Japanese beetles, and other common pests. We have had no blossom end rot, very little damping off, and everything has held in storage for much longer than expected. I haven't had the nutrient content of the produce tested, but it isn't even comparable to the produce we can get at the store.

With the livestock I have focused more on balancing their supplements rather than pasture fertility. That wasn't the best approach. This year we will begin a more deliberate soil fertility improvement program in the pastures. I expect that we will see increased productivity and improved animal health as a result. I'll be posting details of the plan and describing our implementation as we go along.

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