On Saturday, I posted about organic vs. conventional gardening. I also spoke about permaculture, which essentially boils down to looking at the system as a whole instead of merely looking at the parts. I thought that I would give you a couple of horrifying, although intriguing, facts about soil erosion and then give you some ideas as to what you can do to prevent losing yours.
Did You Know?
- That soil erosion, combined with a severe drought, was the reason behind the Dust Bowl of the 1930’s? Do you know why the soil eroded as quickly as it did? It was from overgrazing animals and conventional agriculture that removed the deep rooted grasses from the Great Plains. When the roots were gone, so was the “glue” that held the topsoil in place. Pictures like these were common.
That the Chesapeake Bay is where most of the soil that erodes from Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia ends up? Below are two pictures that show the Bay…the one on the top shows the Bay on August 23, 2011 and the one on the bottom shows the Bay on September 13 after Tropical Storm Lee passed through the area. Notice how much sediment is polluting the water.
SO WHAT CAN YOU DO TO HOLD ONTO YOUR SOIL?
Cover the soil…whether it be with mulch or plants, covered soil is much more difficult to wash away than is bare soil.
Consider putting in swales on contour to allow the water that flows across your land to infiltrate slowly rather than washing quickly through your landscape. This method also enables you to turn your land from your average, run-of-the-mill land into productive land that is more valuable. Check out this website for more information.
I feel compelled to tell you about a video on YouTube called Greening the Desert. It tells the story about land that was turned into desert by overgrazing but then it shows the transformation that can result from planning and more importantly, planting. Check it out if you need to be inspired in your own garden! Let me know what you think of these amazing references in the comment section below or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.