Strawberry Hill Farm / Blog / Does the way you farm impact your soil?

Does the way you farm impact your soil?

Posted on by Tim Livingstone

Our neighbours have gotten to the point where they are unable to farm as they used to so have given us a couple of fields to use. One of these is adjacent to our stand.  We have had a remarkably warm fall which started out dry and is now very wet! The field contains rock free river bank soil but there was almost no rotation and it was farmed conventionally for many years much like our farm was before we bought it.  Last night I took soil samples from our field and from the one next door to see what three years of organic farming with the soil biology in mind has done for the soil.

The soil on the right is from our broccoli and cauliflower patch and the soil on the left is from next door.  There is clearly a visible difference in soil structure as well as a marked difference in smell.  The soil on the right has a nice earthy smell where the soil on the left has almost no smell at all.  

As organic farmers, we rely on the soil biology to make the nutrients available to the plants.  Better soil biology also means better organic matter, better water drainage, and better capillary action to bring the water back up in dry weather.  Better soil structure allows us to work the soil sooner and the plants are happier because air can get around their roots even when it is wet.  Because of past chemical use, we cannot harvest organic crops from the new fields for a couple years.  We look forward to the challenge of building these soils up during this time.  The picture above shows what can happen in just three years and we look forward to doing it again.


Our first pork has come back from the butcher.  Kirsten has put together some delicious sausage recipes which we are in the process of certifying organic.  She added a new recipe this time for Sweet Italian sausage.  These are available through online orders for those picking up from our bus and can also be purchased from Sequoia in Moncton.



We planted a late planting of spinach and salad turnip along with our fall salad mix.  We have sent fewer salad turnips this year than in the past couple years, but this is the best time of year for them.  They are good sliced and eaten raw or you can cook them in stir fries or boil them as a cooked vegetable.  The tops can also be cooked as a green if you are adventurous!  If this is your first time seeing them, be sure to give at least the white part a try.  I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

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