Well folks, here I am, googling when turkeys are old enough to get rained on, in my underwear, ‘cuz all my appropriate pants are wet. It seemed like about time to offer y’all an update on happenings here at the holler, and so here goes…
I’m about dead exhausted from the amount of work needed to not only maintain our gardens, plantings, and livestock, but also give a hoot about the impact of our activities. To put it selfishly, we can’t feed ourselves into the future if our agricultural activities lead to further depletion and degradation of our soils. Or, to frame it as part of a bigger picture, none of us are making it out of this century if we can’t create systems that capture and store carbon. Luckily, the process of doing this has been really tasty.
We are still at height of photosynthetic crescendo here north of the equator. Between ample rainfall and (mostly) ideal temperatures, vegetative growth has been easy to observe on a daily basis. With near weekly precipitation events, pastures have been recovering back to grazing height in as little as a week. Our native warm season grasses are shooting up an inch a day or more. Sun, rain, appropriately timed mowing and grazing, and of course a bit of fertility go a long ways towards the process of generating more soil carbon, via photosynthesis and vegetative growth, but there’s an invisible but necessary component in the “farm ecosystem” that I have plans to address this year.
Fungi and microbes are key for soil health… and healthy soil encourages more growth, therefore more photosynthesis and more sequestration. We’ve assumed for long enough that our fungal and microbial networks, our subterranean livestock, if you will, are naturally present and in balance… though there are places here and there on the land that do not seems to support healthy growth. Most of our pasture areas have had years of fertility enhancement at this point, so what’s the problem? It may be that they lack diversity on the microscopic level.
It may be that our pasture soils need microbial inoculation. With bioreactive composting, spreading, and proper rest periods, I hope we may begin to see some changes. I’m not a soil scientist, and so measuring changes will have to be based on observation, though I’m open to hearing from anyone out there how else I might go about this.
Now I hate to get too technical about things… that’s sort of how we might’ve lost our way as a species in a world where larger and larger inaccessible technological “solutions” are proposed to solve issues caused largely by technology. I’m not some rich weirdo like Elon Musk, ready to rocket off and leaves the plebes behind on a dying planet in some spin off series of human conquest and imperialism gone galactic. No, I’m a much poorer weirdo, and I think the solution is in the top few inches of the earth we walk on and our ability to grow more plants in a tighter space. Now if you don’t mind me, I’ll be walking in my underpants cranking my seed spreader (really, that’s not a euphemism), sending good vibes to all the mycelium out there. But probably I oughta pick okra and herd the turkeys first. Google says they’ll be ok.