Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Soil is Alive!!

So Saturday I spent the morning digging around the ranch with soil expert Betsy Ross CEO of Sustainable Growth Texas and Sonora native. She is so full of information and knowledge that's it's a little overwhelming but in a good way.
 
I took soils in college with Dr. Dirt at WTAMU but that's been 10 years ago now (YIKES I'm getting OLD) so I needed the refresher.

Surprisingly through the brutal drought this land's soil isn't that bad off. We found fungi and plenty of organic matter but Betsy still wants to wake the soil up and get it performing to it's highest potential. 



The soil food web plays a huge part in this "Awakening" process and understanding the fungus to bacteria ratio is something I need to learn more about. Elaine Ingham wrote the soils bible "Soil Biology Primer" and from the looks of it it's going to be an eye opener. 

I am excited about taking some bare spots of ground around the ranch and trying different recommendations from Betsy to see how "alive" the soil can become.  I will take pictures along the way. I am hoping to see lots of grass growing in these spots by September/October. 

 The seed base is there so when the soil conditions are changed to the seeds liking they will germinate and grow healthy "perfect bite" grasses and forbs. 

A really cool app that Betsy showed me is called "Soil Web" it was put together by UC Davis using NRCS data.  If you want to know your soil profiles or what plants used to be growing on your land check it out.  It retrieves GPS coordinates from your location and then pulls up the data.  Oh technology you never cease to amaze me!

So in all my range plant nerdiness I loved seeing that all the plants that were on the report are still thriving on the ranch.  My favorite is Yellow Indian grass!

 







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