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Building Soil: A Down-to-Earth Approach

Former OSU Small Farms instructor for southern Oregon, Ea Murphy, has written a new book.  How do you recognize healthy soil? When and why should you fertilize, till (or not till), weed, and water? What’s the secret to using cover crops and amendments to transform poor soils? How can you work less and grow more? The answer to these questions and more lies in ...

Elizabeth Murphy | Jul 2015 | Article

Measuring Soil PH

As the summer season winds down, it is time again to start planning for next year’s crop. One of the areas to do inventory is soil fertility. Soil pH is one factor that gauges your plant nutrition status. A single soil test may cost over $100, however, soil pH alone may be less costly. Even though the test is inexpensive and can be performed rapidly, many ...

Sam Angima | Jan 2011 | Article

Toxic Heavy Metals in Farm Soil

In 2008, Dr. Dan Sullivan and I published an OSU publication about heavy metals in garden and landscape soils due to many questions of concern about this topic. Here I will summarize the main points in this publication as it relates to farming. A heavy metal can be defined as a chemical element with a specific gravity that is at least five times that of water ...

Sam Angima | Jul 2013 | Article

Ponding, Plugging, & Pugging: How to Care for Wet Spring Soils

With another long, wet spring on the horizon for the Pacific Northwest, particular attention should be paid to take care of wet spring soils. As rainfall continues, rivers swell, and fields are saturated well into the estimated production start dates, it may be tempting to go ahead and cultivate fields or open up pastures. In these conditions, however, the potential damage ...

Elizabeth Murphy | Jun 2013 | Article

Scientists Urge New Model for Soil Carbon

Adapted from article by Blaine Friedlander in the Cornell Chronicle, Nov. 2015 A growing number of “carbon ranchers” and “carbon farmers” across the U.S. and globally are implementing land management practices specifically to sequester more carbon in the soil. By “locking up” carbon in long-term storage in the soil, these innovators aim to slow or even reverse climate ...

Lauren Gwin | Nov 2016 | Article

Ag Water, Soil Amendments, Exemption Conditions Top List of FSMA Concerns

New federal regulations will likely bring big changes in how food is grown, harvested, packed, and processed in the U.S.; small farms and local and regional food systems will feel it too. The Food Safety Modernization Act, passed in 2011, is currently in the “rulemaking” stage: the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, as the responsible agency, drafts rules and offers them ...

Nick Andrews, Lauren Gwin | Jul 2013 | Article

Farmer, Entrepreneur, Soil Scientist, Mechanic, Vet... That’s you!

We know farmers wear many hats. Tell us about them! OSU’s School of Public Policy and Applied Economics Department are involved in a USDA-funded, national survey to learn how farmers choose their production and marketing practices and the barriers they face. Early results from the survey confirm that farmers have to be canny entrepreneurs, whether they market at local, ...

Christy Anderson Brekken | Mar 2016 | Article

Dry farming vegetables: One farmer’s approach to building soil, conserving water and producing great tasting tomatoes

Jeannie Berg, with Your Hometown Harvests, grows heirloom fruits and vegetables in Monmouth, Oregon. She markets her produce through a 25-member CSA and several farmers’ markets including the Independence Riverview Market and the Portland South waterfront market. The land she is farming has class 1 soil and a few acres of water rights, but not enough water to expand irrigated...

Amy Garrett | Jul 2013 | Article

Guide to Oregon County Soil Survey Reports

An inventory of all the different kinds of soils in many Oregon counties is available. These inventories were made starting in the 1970’s by soil scientists of the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Soil Conservation Service in cooperation with the OSU Agricultural Experiment Station and Dept. of Soil Science. The soil scientists dug hundreds of holes, observed the landscapes and ...

Brad Withrow-Robinson, Debra Zaveson | Dec 2007 | Article

Getting soil tested in The Dalles

Get your soil tested on Thursdays in The Dalles.

Jul 2018 | Article