A good portion of my daily work involves conservation best management practices for agricultural operations. These BMPs are the management systems that we promote to help farmers improve soil health while reducing their inputs and thereby reducing their risk of phosphorus runoff, which contributes to the harmful algal blooms. Through the research and promotion of these various conservation practices, I’ve found that they are not only beneficial for farmers and their soils, but also for home gardens. No matter the size of your garden (or farm), the principles to improve soil health are generally the same.
Here are a few examples:
Don’t feel pressured to try all of these practices right away. Start small with one practice, like soil testing, and build from there. Adopting just one of these practices will benefit your soil in multiple ways, improving the health of your plants and reducing the amount of time, water, and fertilizer that you need to spend on maintaining your garden. And remember that the same principles apply, whether you are working on a small garden bed or acres of farm field.
Author: Matthew Browne
Lucas SWCD staff