Improving the Soil

Updated: Feb 10, 2020

It all comes back to the wonderful life in the dirt. Abiding Pastures had been scraped, tilled, sprayed, packed down and abused for some time. We had done this before. We had moved many times. Our first garden was tiny and lived next to a 3 car garage in Houston, TX. The subdivision where we lived had been an old cattle farm. The dirt….well, we had no idea what we were doing. We had read one book and did everything Jon Jeavons said in How to Grow More Vegetables. It was a gold mine and 40 years later, I still refer to it.

There have been so many times that I wished I could meet this man and thank him for teaching us how to get started. The dirt was great and our vegetables grew like crazy!

Fast forward to Abiding Pastures Farm…I could not even get a shovel in the ground. Mike discovered that we could get free leaves from the city of Winston Salem. He spent many hours driving back and forth to get our truck filled with leaves. We had people deliver them in huge trucks and we piled them on the ground. Over the winter our chickens scratched and turned those leaves. By spring, we actually had some top soil and we planted the first garden.

The leaves fed what microbes were there and the chicken manure turned the leaves into compost. We not only had free compost but we also had fertilizer from that early flock of chickens, ducks, and guineas. We actually made enough vegetables that summer to feed all of us. We canned some and ate through the winter. However, we knew that we had to keep feeding the soil.

But now, look at this soil!

This was our third year garden:

Our seventh year. You can see how far we have gotten top dressing with composted soil from our corral where the cows provide us with amazing deposits that turns wood chips into black soil.

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