Preparing the soil at Parr Field


Field preparation is like preparing a canvas for a painting.  The Earth is our canvas and the crops are our paints and colors.  The nuts and bolts of clearing land is basically removing much of the vegetation and raking it out of the way for later tilling.  The good part about removing vegetation is that it is embodied carbon and can be turned into compost through a composting process that includes the addition of nitrogen, air, and water.  Another way to deal with clearing the field and preparing the canvas is to burn everything.  Lighting everything on fire is fun, but during dry spells like we are having now it is frowned upon and dangerous.  In times of climate change and carbon buildup in the atmosphere, we think it is better to gather up these carbon piles for use in composting than to burn them.

However, it is also important to think of a natural fire regime and how that might periodically benefit our system and soils.  If this were still a short grass prairie, we might have seen fire in this area every several years or so due to lightning strikes or Native landscape management.  In this times fire was not something to be attacked or feared, rather it was an important part of a natural process that helped maintain the balance of the overall system…


About Miguel

Miguel Santistevan is a researcher, educator, and advocate for traditional agriculture crops and systems.
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