So, let’s take a moment and look at “soil life” through a little bit of a different lens. You know, my mentor of over 30 years, one of the first things that I learned from him is to study the natural vegetation around you, study the natural or what they call native vegetation. Most of the time it’s referred to as the native, which we don’t see a lot of anymore.
We see it in the old westerns with the wagon trains and stuff. That’s native Prairie where they’re filming that. But what we do see today is climate zones, and there’s a lot of that in traditional gardening, they talk about different climate zones. If you tip over a bag of seed, they’ll show you what zone it’s for.
And that’s an easy reference now, not discounting that, but once you learn how to study the native, the natural vegetation that grows where you want to raise vegetables, where you want to do vegetable gardening, that’s when you’ll start to gain knowledge and wisdom about how to grow soil. Okay. So you say grow soil.
Steve, how do you grow soil? Well, first I’m going to tell you a little story and then I made a promise to you on the last email. For those of you. Are new here or haven’t seen me, my name’s Steve Szudera. I’m the founder of tabletop farmer. And I do have a little story for you. So, you know, I, I moved here and the accountant that I had for both my business and personal, they retired.
And so, I had to find a new one and that was quite a process, but we were sitting at her kitchen table. She works out of her home, and we were sitting at her kitchen table, and she was asking about what I do here. Really interested in what I do and stuff, and so then I start telling her about how to study this native vegetation for whatever you want to grow, how beneficial it is and how you know to read what’s going on beneath the surface.
It’s a learning curve, but you got to start somewhere. So, we’re talking, and I said, Debbie, I can tell by your grass out front that you have very good soil here. I said over in that one little corner maybe this is going on that a bit different but as a rule, you have very good soil that your lawn is in. And she looked at me and she said, yes, I do have very good soil.
I noticed that or recognized that it was four years ago. I’ve been here four years. And when I first got here, I was working the soil, and I realized how nice it was. Whoa, wait a minute here. Whoa, wait. She said working in the soil. Remember I promised you in the last email that I was going to give you one key tip about building, maintaining “soil life”, working it, we don’t mettle with it.
We don’t touch it. So, let’s go back to that natural native vegetation synopsis or picture. That doesn’t work. The soil let it be, let nature take over and do its magic. And that’s what we want to discover here. This is about “soil life”; some questions asked hers are about that my soil runs out of nutrients before the crop is finished.
Well, this is, this is going on eight weeks, eight, eight weeks yesterday, today, filming this is the 31st of July of 2022. This is our, uh, regenerative project in our, in our river sand project, but nonetheless eight weeks and you know, and it got hailed here hard here. A couple weeks ago. It looked sick, but it’s got the nutrients to survive and thrive to come back.
Okay. Let’s go back to the plants. We talked about the soil running out nutrients, the plants feed off the soil, but then what feeds the soil? The plants feed the soil. That’s what happens and it’s a complete cycle and that’s a cycle that happens no matter where you’re at. If you’re in native vegetation, wherever you’re at in the country, that cycle with growing plants, growing roots in the soil just keeps replenishing the soil.
So that’s what we need. So last email, I promised you another little story and it was about my grandfather. Now, when he came. When he came to this country, he slid a plank underneath a rail car and rode out from Wisconsin out to Western North Dakota. And that’s where he got off. Why did he get off there?
I’ve oftentimes wondered that, and you know, I don’t have the correct answer, but I have an idea. And where he left in Wisconsin, they wore the soil out. Three weeks ago, or so I was over central Minnesota towards the Western side. I could see the difference from being there 20 some years ago, how the soil has been depleted, how it’s wearing out for them.
I see the same exact thing happening I can tell; can tell it by their growing vegetation in the cash crops. You know, I don’t know what the soil, what the growing zone is but I can see it in the vegetation as to what’s going on. So, I know what’s going on with the soil, you know, and it’s taken me some time to get there, I could just imagine grandpa looking for the best growing vegetation. That’s a long trip to ride underneath that rail car.
And I don’t know how many times the train stopped or whatever, it doesn’t matter, but I can just imagine him riding along underneath there more than likely laying on his side, looking out at the country. And when he saw fertile soil, he knew he knew what to look for. And when he saw growing vegetation that looked attractive, that’s where he got off.
And he went into town, got his stake or pin whatever they had from the land office he went out and got his 160 acres and those 160 acres is within our family yet to this day. And I can still remember the stories from dad. We would travel by it often when I was small coming in from the fields after a day’s farming and him telling stories about this and that and the grasshoppers and everything they fought through those years, they went through some really tough times, but it’s a, it’s an interesting concept now in the next email.
So, I gave you one tip today and that’s, you know, we must stop like Debbie she’s working in the soil. We must stop meddling. We got, we got to quit meddling with it so that it can do its magic so that it can work. And, and that’s where the secret sauce is at. That’s the number one tip that I can give you today is quit meddling.
Stop meddling with the soil of any disturbance whatsoever. And as we go on here, we’ll learn how we can do certain things that you think tillage helps take care of. So, with that, thanks for watching, you know, in the next email. We’re going to talk about the, the next key thing that you can do. And with grandpa’s story, I have another part to that story that has a very key message that occurred just to the south of grandpa’s place.
See, there’s a lot of history with homesteaders out west where I come from. There’s a lot of homesteading that went on out there. A lot of people homesteaded out there, lots of stories out there, you know, and as people are unfortunately dying and stuff they’re getting forgotten about. And, and I’m trying. Get them down on paper or whatever.
So, I can remember and pass it on because they’re cool stories, but nonetheless, you’re not here for that. Stay tuned. Be on the lookout for our, our, my next email coming. And we’re going to talk about another thing that you can do. It’s very, very key in this whole process to grow.
Accordingly, to the vegetation that’s around you are growing a, an abundant vegetable garden, the most abundant vegetable garden of your dreams. So, thanks for watching.