Soil tests after 9 years of no-spray no-till

In August, 2008, we moved into our house on a 1/10 acre lot, and I began gardening with a single sheet-mulched plot in the front yard. I took a baseline set of soil tests from the front and back yards in January, 2009 and began a regimen of no-till, no-spray (i.e. no chemical amendments), no-manure gardening, using only plant-based mulch to maintain soil fertility while harvesting as many as 75 crops for market each growing season. The soil tests were done by our local university extension agency.

notes on Oklahoma Native Plant Society Indoor Outing, Feb 3, 2017

Gardening with Oklahoma Native Plants: Steve Owens, Bustani Plant Farm

Soil preparation is not as important for native plants: they like the soil the way it is! Some even like to be stressed. Try growing them in cracks between landscape elements.

Wildflower meadow gardens are great for pollinator habitat, but study your site first. Consider microclimate and choose plants accordingly. Contrasting white flowers can help break up the uniformity of a meadow garden.

Celebrate the first annual International Ragweed Day!

giant ragweed (Ambrosia triffida) photo courtesy of nrca-railroad.comSaturday, June 23, 2012 has been named the first annual International Ragweed Day!  Really!  Did you know there is an International Ragweed Society (IRS), with international conferences and everything?  Ragweed is a big deal!  According to their site, the IRS is only planning to use the day to formulate a 5-year plan to reduce ragweed.  I say, why wait?  It only takes a few hours to pull up all the ragweed in your neighborhood before it blooms and makes us miserable! I've been doing it for the past 3 years on our block.  This year, with an international day proclaimed, why not take this much bigger?

Why not eradicate ragweed from all of Emporia, Kansas?  We could do it!  Or at least make a sizable dent.  What's more, we could use all that wonderful biomass to build sheet mulch gardens in people's yards!  If you live in Emporia, won't you join me on Saturday the 23rd to turn our ragweed from a dangerous health hazard into a beneficial soil amendment?  If you live outside Emporia, won't you consider doing the same thing in your town?

Here are the ways you can help -- just drop me a line at ben [at] and let me know what you'd like to do:

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