I am hearing a lot lately about “healing the soil”. I never really thought much about it before. I think that I just “did it”. But the more that I read and hear, the more I realize that this is new to many people.
My friends are telling me that they have moved onto lots that are lifeless, dead, no bugs even. It is because of all of the Round Up that was used to kill any weeds that might come through the cracks, or the bug spray that was used to kill the ants. Dead weeds, dead bugs, dead soil. I know, because that is how this backyard started out. Life generates life, no life- is-well; dead. But we all know that resurrection can happen.
Furthermore, most farmers that I know here only have Bermuda grass, because it does not require much water. Bermuda does not do much to replenish the soil, and does not grow in the winter time. This leaves their “grass fed” animals without any grass-all winter long- forcing them to be fed genetically modified hay and grains. Add to that the fact that heavy animals, like cows or horses pack the soil down, especially when wet, making it even more difficult for the soil to heal itself unless properly managed.
Because I learned about gardening from sustainability experts like John Jeavons and my grandpa; I knew that you had to feed the soil if you wanted it to produce something. I also knew that Bermuda, does not equal true pasture. Animal manures, compost and cover crops have been the food for my garden soil all along. Most organic people these days use manures and compost. But now that most animal manures are full of hormones and antibiotics, and since compost is only as organic as the stuff that you put into it; you may just want to consider green manure.
Sadly, we cannot take the poisons out of the soil, but if we give life a chance, it can regenerate. Don’t ask me how, but it does.
So this is what I do to help turn my dead dirt into resurrected, living soil. I plant non gmo alfalfa seeds.
Alfalfa is a great “green” manure. Though there are others (like red clover, legumes and vetch), this is my favorite. The roots go deep and bring nutrients up into the stems of the plants. You can mow the plants down and leave the clippings as a mulch that will decompose into soil. The nutrients that were once leached into the deep parts of the soil, will now be returned to the top layers of the soil. The dead plant material will also make a home for all the wonderful microbes and worms that make your soil a living-breathing thing. This my friends is soil resurrection! MAGIC! Yes, I am a believer.