By Jannie Vaught
“Let food be your medicine let medicine be your food” A famous quote that has stood the test of time by the Greek physician Hippocrates. Regenerative agriculture has many layers of the health of the soil, and the learning just keeps going. A book to have in your gardening library is “From Dirt to Soil, One family’s journey into regenerative agriculture “by author Gabe Brown. Whenever my garden has problems or complete failures, I always go directly to the source, My soil! And the balance of nitrogen and carbon is usually the culprit. The nutrients are there but due to lack of carbon or bulk roughage for the microbes and worms and all the creatures that live and thrive under my feet are telling me something is off balance.
Since I am a gardener I try to keep it simple make and use compost and not just plant-based compost but a good supply of animal manure. For me, it is chicken house hay cleared out weekly and placed into a set-aside location and pilled up and turned to let nature do her wonderful work of decomposition. My friend raises rabbits and she brings me rabbit manure. I let her pick all she wants from the garden as this is a good trade. When overgrazing happens due to the practice of overgrazing livestock you will see the overgrowth of prickly pear cacti and invasive species where there use to be native grasses. When livestock is grazing rotation is applied the grasses regenerate and the soil is not left bare and vulnerable to drying and soil loss. When this is done regularly the grass can regenerate and the native plants keep regenerating is a natural way. regenerative grazing to a new location keeps the grass growing the animals fed and nature in harmony.
Even in my home kitchen garden, I attempt to follow nature and just keep moving the compost and planting a variety of seeds and plants. I cover crop spring and fall. I chop and drop to return the carbon created by the cover crop back to the soil and mostly I simply enjoy watching nature at work. Leave the leaves, use last season’s leaves, and compost now to cover any bare ground to hold water and promote the Dirt to Soil.
Going from tough dry dirt is work, observation, and diligent practice. And when the Tomatoes and peppers are hanging full, I remember why being a partner to nature is a best practice to be part of. and then Food becomes my medicine.
Growing Green and turning dirt into the soil, With Jannie