• Barbara Bour

Dirt Hacks: What a Book About Regenerative Agriculture Has Taught Me About My Yard.

Just read Gabe Brown's Dirt to Soil. This is an optimistic story about regenerative agriculture that begins with the dirt and ends with a profitable farm and cattle business that that improves the land and the environment. Techniques of regenerative agriculture are applicable to our yards. Much of what we are doing in our yards harms soil or really the microbes within. This includes chemical fertilizer, herbicides, insecticides, fungicides and blowing.

Gabe Brown's Principles for soil management:

  1. Limit disturbance of soil. For the farm this means not tilling. For the average home owner this is a simple as avoiding blowing soil, simple time saving process of removal of plants & shrubs by cutting them rather than digging them out. Chemicals also disturb natural processes that keep soil healthy.

  2. Amor the soil surface. For the average home owner, this is as simple as leaving plant residue and leaves behind to recharge the soil.

  3. Build diversity with large variety of plants, shrubs and trees.

  4. Keep living roots in the soil. Don't bother pulling vegetables and other annuals out late in the season. Plant cover crops on vegetable beds to protect soil in the winter.

  5. Integrate animals. I don't see us suburbanites grazing cattle in the near future, however support for the beneficial animals, birds, insects in your yard is a good thing. Beneficial animals and insects need habitat. Habitat is best supported by a diverse variety of native plants.

Disturbed soils are often pale in color, tough, difficult to dig, and don't absorb water. Chemicals and blowing kill off microbes. Moss is often a sign of low nutrient conditions caused by low microbe levels.


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