But it’s not all about farm ground, you too, can improve your soil health. Mill Creek Conservation Stewards John and Vicki Jorgenson wanted to check out their soil health on 2 acres of ground.  This property was covered with invasive weeds and has been restored to native plants.
John was concerned about soil health and planted the “Tighty Whities” about 2 months ago, and today he dug them up.  “We think of soil not as dirt, but our ecosystem base for everything we grow” said Vicki.

A teaspoon of healthy soil contains more microbes than there are people on the planet according to the NRCS.  The agency shares four steps to healthier soils, including avoiding soil disturbance whenever possible, planting cover crops, maximizing biodiversity in the ground throughout the year, and maximizing living roots in the soil throughout the year
The results?  Those tighty whities are eaten up and full of holes, indicating a lot of activity from those microbes! After being planted in ground converted from weeds to native plants, soil health has improved. 

If you would like to participate in this statewide program, check out this USDA website Soil Your Undies Challenge and take these steps:

  1.  a pair of new, cotton underwear horizontally about 3 inches deep in the site you’re curious about. Don’t forget to mark the spot you planted!
  2. at least 60 days. This gives your soil microbes time to do their magic! Then dig the undies back up.
  3.  your results by sending a photo of your “harvest” and a  little information about your operation to [email protected].

If you would like to learn more about Mill Creek Conservation Stewards or soil and water conservation, Marion SWCD is open and ready to assist you with technical advice and grant writing assistance.  Contact us at 503.391.9927.