Soil Quality Improvement Under an Ecologically-Based Farming System in Northwest Missouri
The results of this soil quality assessment suggest that ecologically based management successfully restored biological activity of silt loam soils previously under intensive conventional agriculture. The system practiced at the study sites illustrates how resources internal to the farm (i.e., composts) can be used to manage soil productivity.
Some research conducted in association with this article took place at Linda Hezel's Prairie Birthday Farm in West Central Missouri. Prairie Birthday Farm is a 15-acre, biodiverse farm with heirloom and wild fruit and nut trees and bushes, tall grass prairie, honeybees, permanent raised-bed heirloom vegetable gardens, a culinary herb and edible flower garden, and bramble/vine gardens. Pastured chickens and ducks as well as two horses on rotation-paddock pastures provide for on-farm compost production.
In 2008, Hezel received an NCR-SARE Farmer Rancher grant to identify and evaluate 3 different covers and their combinations placed over permanent raised beds in order to determine which cover or combination of covers would successfully enable winter food production.
Want more information? See the related SARE grant(s) FNC08-741, Comparison of coverings over permanent raised beds to extend the growing season for year round food production .
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This material is based upon work that is supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture through the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.