If you suspect you've purchased contaminated soil, you'll want to know these tips for soil remediation and how to fix your soil. The number of issues of contaminated soil is increasing and people are having to deal with soil or compost that's been exposed to herbicides or other contaminants that are negatively affecting their gardens.
If you listened to Pioneering Today Podcast #346 where we talked about seed starting problems and how to troubleshoot the issues, then you'll love today's episode.
I've discussed how to start seeds indoors, how to cut back on garden diseases by preventing them, and how to amend the soil for the best growth. But what do you do when things don't go as planned and/or your plants aren't thriving or growing properly?
Today we're discussing how to remediate soil or compost that's been exposed to environmental, industrial or agricultural toxins.
If you're not a member of the Pioneering Today Academy, this podcast is a small snippet of some of our live conversations that we've been discussing over the past month within the membership. Each month we do a live coaching call where I answer questions and help troubleshoot issues our members are having.
What is Soil Remediation
Let's first discuss what soil remediation is. In short, it's removing contaminants from the soil. Things like pesticides, herbicides, hydrocarbons, and heavy metals that will negatively affect crops.
Moving, or remediating these chemicals helps with the health of your crops all the way down to healthy water and air quality, all crucial for a healthy environment.
How Does Soil Get Contaminated?
Now that we know what soil remediation is, let's discuss how soil gets contaminated in the first place.
There are many different ways contaminants can get into our soil or compost. If you've listened to my podcast for a while, you've probably heard me tell you to never compost diseased or sprayed plants because that disease can be carried through to the finished compost.
The same goes with herbicides or other contaminants, if the animals have been fed hay that's been treated with herbicides, that herbicide will travel through the animals waste, into the compost pile, and eventually into the finished compost.
If you've purchased seed starting mix or compost mixed with soil and you're experiencing issues with plant growth, it might be that your soil has been contaminated.
Even if you've purchased an organic mix, there has been a large portion of bagged soil this year that was unintentionally affected by herbicides.
How Do You Know If Your Soil Is Contaminated?
Plants that are most susceptible to herbicides are nightshades (tomatoes and peppers) as well as the legume family (beans and peas).
Think of your tomato plants like the canary in the coal mine. They're usually the first ones to show damage or signs of an issue.
Bruce, a member of the Pioneering Today Academy, was suspecting a soil issue because he planted out his tomatoes and many of them are now having a lot of leaf curling.
Whenever someone comes to me with a plant issue it's not always easy to tell what's going on. Tomatoes can have leaves that curl due to overwatering, underwatering, hot temperatures, and stress on the plant, just to name a few.
Sometimes the plants can be exposed to herbicides in trace amounts, not quite enough to kill the plant, but enough to stress the plant out and have it show signs of exposure.
Furthermore, seeds, when sprouting, have all the nutrients they need within the seed itself to sprout and grow its first set of leaves, so you may not see any issues on the seedling until it starts to rely on the soil it's planted in for nutrients.
Read more below to see how to quickly test soil for herbicide exposure.
What To Do If You Expect Contaminated Soil
If you're not sure if you've been over or under-watering, try adjusting how much you're watering for a couple of weeks and assess the new growth on the plant.
If it was a watering issue, the leaves of the new growth should look great with no leaf curling and you will then know you've solved the problem.
Amend the Soil
There is a chance that your plant is undernourished and could benefit from some fertilizer.
Try watering a few times with a water/fish emulsion mixture and see if the plant bounces back over a couple of weeks.
Get a Soil Test
One sure-fire way to know if your soil has been contaminated is to get a soil test. That's going to tell you for sure if there are nutrient deficiencies or chemical residue.
Grow a Test Crop
If you're not sure you're dealing with contaminated soil, and you don't want to spend money on a soil test, you can do a test of your own by growing beans in your soil to see if they're affected.
Beans are a fast-sprouting and fast-growing crop and will show you much faster than testing a tomato plant. Within just a few weeks you should know whether or not you're dealing with soil contamination or not.
Because bean seeds are fairly inexpensive, you can broadcast the seeds around a larger portion of the garden to test more areas and see how the crops do.
Soil Remediation Strategies
Time is the greatest fix when it comes to soil that's been contaminated with herbicides.
For certified organic soil, it must be three years since the soil has been touched with herbicides. Here is information on land sabbaths.
But many of us don't want to wait three years before planting and growing a garden.
Activated charcoal (or Biochar), is described as “black carbon produced from biomass sources [i.e., wood chips, plant residues, manure or other agricultural waste products] for the purpose of transforming the biomass carbon into a more stable form (carbon sequestration).” (Source)
Biochar is said to have a 68% removal of the herbicide which is a very large amount (Study).
Something to consider is that adding Biochar to your garden it can raise your soil pH level.
That doesn't mean you shouldn't use it, but you just need to be cognizant of this and make sure you're aware of your pH scale in the garden. Read here for more on testing and amending pH levels of soil.
Increase Soil Organisms
Increasing the organisms living in the soil will help speed up soil turnover. We've discussed making compost tea in the past, even compost tea made with comfrey, and I do recommend reading this short article when making your own compost or compost tea.
I know tilling can get a bad wrap, but there are some times where tilling can actually be beneficial, and this happens to be one of them.
Tilling helps bring air into the soil which helps feed and grow a healthy ecosystem of microorganisms. The healthier the soil biome, the quicker the soil turnover will be.
Plant a Cover Crop
Planting a cover crop for soil remediation is a great option, however, it's important to note that you won't want to use the “chop and drop” method.
Typically speaking, when planting a cover crop, you sow the crop in late summer or early fall and allow the crop to grow over the winter, protecting your soil and adding beneficial nutrients back into your soil.
Then, in the spring, you would typically chop that cover crop down and mix it back into the soil to add even more nutrients to your garden soil.
If you're trying to remediate your soil, you'll want to plant the cover crop the same as you normally would, then in the spring, pull that crop completely from your garden and dispose of it in the garbage… do not compost the cover crop.
Plant Soil Remediating Crops
There are some crops that are actually known to help draw out toxins from the soil and allow for natural soil remediation.
Crops such as sunflowers, root crops (potatoes, beets, carrots, etc), and oats are all great at removing toxins from the soil.
Again, if you're not going to eat these crops (more on this below) you'll want to be sure to pull these crops out at the end of the year and dispose of them in the trash, do not add them to the compost pile.
Can You Eat These Crops?
Whether or not you choose to eat the crops grown in your contaminated soil is a personal choice. There may be trace amounts of the chemicals in your food, so the decision has to be made whether to eat or dispose of those crops.
It is important to note that non-organic (and even organic) produce purchased from the grocery store is allowed a certain percentage of chemical residue in the produce itself. So when we're buying from the grocery store, we need to understand we're not getting a 100% clean crop, even when buying organic.
Verse of the Week: Judges 6:39-40
More Posts You May Enjoy
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- How to Harvest & Store Potatoes (w/out a Root Cellar)
- Crop Rotation in the Garden-Based on Plant Families
- 6 Natural Fertilizers to Improve Garden Soil
- Wood Chips for Garden Mulch – Beneficial or Not?
- Best Way to Germinate Seeds – How to Germinate Seeds Faster
- What Are the Best Seed Starting Containers
- Potting Up Seedlings & How to Separate Seedlings
- Direct Sow Your Garden Seed
Welcome to episode number 350 at the Pioneering Today podcast. Today, we are going to continue the conversation. If you listened to episode number 346, where we were talking about seeds starting problems, troubleshooting and solutions, and there was a lot of issues with potting soil this year, then you are going to love today's episode. Because today we're going to be diving into how to remediate tainted soil or tainted compost. If you have brought in soil and it might be from bag soil, as some of us experienced with the potting soil. Which the potting soil not necessarily was actually tainted, there was other issues at place. So go and listen to that episode.
But today, specifically, we're going to be talking about tainted soil that is tainted specifically with herbicides. So if you have dealt with this, or you're suspectful that that's what's maybe going on with some of your soil, or you just want to be prepared in case it happens to you. What are some options that you can do? Well, this, my friend is your episode.
And while we are on the subject of raising our own food, specifically in the garden, we also want to make sure that we have a good source, if we're not raising it ourself or getting it from a local farmer, but a good source of meat. Today's podcast episode is sponsored by ButcherBox. Now, I think when it comes to beef, hamburger is that quintessential cut of meat that you can use in almost any aspect. Now, when we're talking pork, for me, it's all about the bacon, as far as versatility goes. Because with bacon, you can obviously just fry some of that lovely, lovely little crispy strips up and eat them for breakfast.
You can wrap them around a Brussels sprout, which I highly recommend. Oh my gosh, you guys, it's one of our favorite things ever, especially around the holidays and in the fall. And that is to take, depending on how thick cut and how large the cut of the bacon is, sometimes I'll cut them in half. But wrap it around a Brussels sprout, and then you bake them. So the bacon gets... The Brussels sprout absorbs all of the fat that's rendering out as you're roasting it. And then your bacon gets crispy. And so you have like this crispy bite of bacon deliciousness, and then inside is your Brussels sprout. Oh, one of our absolute favorites. If you have trouble getting your kids to eat Brussels sprouts or anybody, adults too, that will turn them. I'm serious. That will turn them to being a Brussels sprout lover.
And then of course with bacon, hamburgers are always better, right? Marry the two together, the best of the pork. I shouldn't say the best of the beef. Hamburger, there's other cuts I like, but versatility wise, we just had bacon burgers last night. So why am I going on and on and waxing poetically about bacon? Because ButcherBox is offering, to our listeners, a very special deal. You guys, free bacon for life of your membership plus $10 off. Go to butcherbox.com/pioneeringtoday, and use code pioneeringtoday, all one word, to receive one pack of free bacon in every box for the life of your membership, plus an additional $10 off your first order. Again, sign up today at butcher box.com/pioneeringtoday. And then when you check out use code pioneeringtoday to receive this deal. Some of the great things about ButcherBox, which I have had quite a few different selections of their meat, is no antibiotics or added hormones.
It's packed fresh and shipped frozen for your convenience, even if you live way out in the boonies and the delivery guy does not get to your house until well past dinner time. And that way you can save time on your next trip or cut down trips to the grocery store. Plus you get to customize your own box, or you can go with one of their curated ones. Either way, you get exactly what you want and free shipping for the continental US.
So back to our episode topic of what to do with contaminated soil? Or what are some signs where maybe you're like, "I don't know if my soil's contaminated, but could it be?" We're going to dive into this. Now, these questions and the answers that I'm going to be sharing with you. This was a small snippet from our live Q&A that is part of the Pioneering Today Academy Membership. So within that membership, we have a live bonus section, where I do live trainings every single month. And this is questions from some of the members.
Now, this first one you will maybe be relating to, especially if you're having issues with your crops, and you're wondering is this actual soil contamination with herbicide issues or not? And that's what one of our members Bruce was asking. Now there are some options that you can get your soil tested for chemical residue, but you also can have telltale signs that you'll see in your plants. Now, if it's actual herbicide residue, which can come in through compost if any type of hay or plants were sprayed with specifically a product called Grazon and some of these other herbicides. It will be in the compost. So just because it goes through the process of composting does not mean that it is going to be clearing this herbicide, and it can be in the soil and/or if it's compost mixed with soil. Also could be in the manure possibly.
So there's different ways that it can come in. But unfortunately, just because it's been composted, which is why, if you've ever went through any of my compost lessons or listened to any of that, I say never, ever put diseased plants into your compost because that can travel over wherever you spread it. Well, unfortunately the same thing is true for herbicide type contaminations.
Now, plants that are really susceptible to herbicides are going to be a lot of your warm weather crops, specifically, anything in the nightshade family, tomatoes, peppers, as well as your Legume family, beans and peas. Think of your tomatoes like the canary in the coal mine. They're very susceptible to it. They're usually one of the first ones to show damage, and will die or not do so well. So a member of the Pioneering Today Academy, Bruce, was saying that he's suspectful that he has soil problems, but he's not sure. However, he had planted out his tomatoes. Some of them are doing okay, but he has some that have leaf curling. They seem to be doing okay, but that has a lot of leaf curling.
So first off, it's kind of like when people say my leaves are yellow on my plant, is it a nitrogen deficiency? And you're like, "Well, maybe, maybe not." So leaf curling is not always a sure sign that it's soil contamination. It can be a watering issue, especially with tomatoes. Not only could it be a watering issue, it can also be a temperature issue. When a tomato plant is stressed, and they do not like to be over watered, and they don't like cool temperatures, it may not be a soil contamination issue, it could be a watering and nutrients and temperatures. And sometimes it could mean that there's a small amount of herbicide in the soil that it's been planted in, but it's not enough of an amount to actually kill it.
So sometimes you'll see plants where they will show some issues of stress. There will be some leaf curling, but they will continue to grow. Now maybe the harvest isn't quite as prolific as you would see it in a truly, fully on healthy plant, that's not dealing with any type of stress, and you'll still sometimes get a harvest. However, if you're like me and you're like, "Well, I don't really want to be eating food that is grown in soil that does have herbicide contamination," that I completely understand. But just because your plants are experiencing leaf curl, doesn't automatically mean that it is a soil contamination issue. I just want to be really clear about that. So if you're experiencing leaf curl and you're not sure what it is, one, you can get a soil test. That's going to let you know immediately if there's some type of nutrient deficiency.
You also could have tested for chemical residue. I mean, then, then you are 100% sure one way or the other, if you have the lab. But something else is, if it is temperatures or if it is watering, meaning it's getting way too much water, or it's not getting enough, like you're almost in drought conditions, adjust the watering for a couple of weeks and you should be able to see right away that the new leaf growth will not be curling and will look really healthy. So if that's the case, it's most likely not soil contamination, it was simply temperature and/or watering issues. So make your adjustments there first.
And then of course you also could take it one step further and you can use like an Alaskan fish fertilizer, something where you can water it with that fertilizer in there, because it's going to be able to pick it up if it's in a liquid format. At least in my experience, usually a little bit faster, than if you're putting it down on the ground where you're just mixing it into the soil, it's going to take it a little bit longer to get absorbed. So if you do that and you notice it in a couple weeks, that one, it's just starting to come out of it, the leaves are doing what they should be and/or that new growth looks as normal, and looks great, and the plant's bouncing back, then I would just assume it's not any type of contamination and you're on your way.
However, if you are still experiencing issues and/or all of the plants die. Now that is probably an indication that it is soil contamination. Now, if you've got new soil in and you're like, "Well, I don't know if it would be contaminated or not. I don't have anything in these beds yet." And/or you want to test. Tomatoes can take longer to germinate, and to grow, and to actually get large. Now remember whenever you are planting your seeds, that the plant is first drawing upon the nutrients as it's creating its first few sets of leaves from what's inside the seed. Which is why we can plant seeds, or you can even have seeds just in a bag with moisture and they will begin to grow. Now, eventually they're going to need soil and/or if you're doing hydroponics, they're going to need some other type of nutrients. But in the beginning they have everything that they need right in that little tiny seed.
So the reason that I'm saying that is because you want to be putting plants that go through the germination phase relatively quickly, and will start to get large growth, lots of leaves on them fairly fast, so that you can see that they will be affected. And you can tell, is there some type of soil contamination? So instead of tomatoes, because those take longer, I would do something like a bean seed. Beans will sprout relatively fast. They are also quite susceptible to types of herbicide. And you'll be able to tell relatively quick, much faster in my experience than a tomato, if there actually is an issue. And bean seed is really cheap.
So it's something that you can throw out there, do a test on, and you can do a large enough test in an area to see, is it just a couple of plants or is it all of them? If it's all of them, then there's a good chance that there is something that has tainted the compost or tainted the soil that you brought in.
So now that we've kind of covered that part of it, that brings us to our next member question. And this one was from Jane. And Jane said that she did get some of the tainted compost, unfortunately, that a lot of people have gotten this year. And she had been reading some different information on how to remediate the soil. And that activated charcoal, excuse me, could help with some of the damage. And she wanted to know if I had any other suggestions on what she could use, how long will she need to leave that bed fallow? And are any crops grown in that tainted soil safe to eat? Is something like biochar, would that help?
And so both of these questions went hand in hand, and I'm sure if members have these questions that many of you who are listeners also have these questions and are dealing with this as well. So first off, as far as fixing soil that has things in it that you don't want, specifically synthetic pesticides and or herbicides, time is the greatest fix. Now technically speaking for certified organic, it has to be three years that the soil has had no exposure, no application, no spray of any synthetic herbicides and pesticides. So based upon that certification, I think that we can safely assume that you would apply that to the home garden and home tainted soil, and you could say three years. So that's one option.
But I know a lot of you like me, are like, "Oh my, like three years before I can plant anything in this ground and in this soil? I don't have three years to not be able to grow anything here." Because maybe it was the only space that you had, and if you don't grow anything in that, that means you're not growing anything for three years. And I know for a lot of us that is not an okay option. But it is however, one of the options.
So secondly, or I should say your other options all have to do with getting the organisms in our soil to help you turn that soil. We need to have soil turnover, and that's going to help consume and get out any of that contamination. So how do you do that aside from a three year time of not doing anything? So there are some really interesting studies out there that show biochar, activated charcoal, definitely can help. In fact, in the study that I was reading, and I'll make sure that I link to that study so you can go and check that one out for yourself, in the blog post that accompanies the show notes, that accompanies this episode, which you'll be able to reach at melissaknorris.com/350. Melissaknorris.com/350. That's the number 350 because this is episode number 350.
But biochar or activated charcoal was, I believe it said a 68% removal. That's a really high percentage. Now I know a hundred percent is ideal, but a 68% removal of the contaminated herbicide, that's actually a really big deal. One of the things that you want to be aware of, however, if you are using activated charcoal or biochar, is it can raise your soil pH level. Now that doesn't mean don't use it. It just means that you need to be cognizant of that if you're using it, and you really need to know what your soil pH is before using it.
If you are already close to neutral or alkaline... So when you're looking at the pH scale, I know, so for some of us, it's been a long time since we studied pH, but when you're looking at the pH scale, seven is considered neutral. The higher the number it's alkaline. The lower the number, higher acidity. For most of your vegetables, ideally you're between a six and a seven point pH scale. You don't want to get over that seven pH. And the reason for that is because for the vast majority of most vegetables, in order for the plant to be able to uptake the nutrients in the soil correctly, that's where our pH level needs to be.
Now for fruit things like blueberries and raspberries, they need to, especially blueberries, they need to be anywhere from a 4.5 pH to a 5.5 pH, which is more on the acidic side. So usually your fruits and berries, especially blueberries, they're one of the most acid loving fruits that there is, you're going to need to have that lower, which is more acidic, pH level.
So the reason that I bring that up is because if your soil is already naturally around a seven, and then you apply the biochar, it could raise it up into too much of an alkaline. Now there's ways to counterbalance that, and to countermeasure that. You can use elemental sulfur as one of the ways to do that. And we'll make sure that we link to, I have a whole podcast episode and blog post on soil amendment, where we talk about pH levels as well as macro micronutrients. But now that we've covered that, that's just something that you need to be aware of and know where your pH level falls before using the biochar, AKA activated charcoal, et cetera, if that's an option that you want to use. But 68% removal is pretty good.
So like I said, when you're remediating your soil, we need good, and lots of plethora of soil organisms. Which we want in our gardens anyways, because the health of the soil is going to directly impact the health of our plants, and then our health by consuming those plants. Because if something's not available in the soil, the plant can't absorb it. And therefore it's not going to get passed on to us. Now I realize we're talking about contaminated soil. Then that's not something that we want passed on to us. We're looking at ways to get that passed out. But increasing the soil organisms in your soil, bringing in or making good compost. You can make compost tea. We have some different episodes where we have talked about using things like comfrey. Comfrey can make an awesome compost tea for your plants.
You could do a manure tea where you're soaking manure from animals that have not been grazing or eating any type of food product that would have herbicides on it, so we don't get anything that's passed along there. But you could make a good manure tea, et cetera. And then you can use that to water that soil mix in manure. Let that break down. All of that is going to be ways that you are adding in beneficial and higher levels of organisms to turn that soil.
Now, another option, I know tilling can get a bad rap, but there are a few applications where tilling can be beneficial, and this happens to be one of them. And that is because tilling can help get air into that soil and that will help to break down, and because we know when you, especially... If you've ever done composting before or done a compost pile, we know that we do have to turn it because the microorganisms that break down the soil and create compost from all of the components, they are aerobic, which means they need oxygen. So if your compost pile is never turned or aerated, then it begins to get really compact. And it's not that it's just that it's getting compacted, and that's like smooshing the organisms. It's actually getting compact and that's putting less and less oxygen in there and they need the oxygen.
So one way obviously to do that is to do a light earth surface till, and that is going to help get oxygen in there and the organisms that are there, it's going to help break them down. So you could put a bunch of composted manure on top and then lightly till that in. That way, you're working in organic matter. You're working in that composted manure, which is bringing in more organisms, excuse me, and you're bringing oxygen in. So that can also be an option that you may want to do.
Now cover crops. You definitely could also do a cover crop. But if you do a cover crop so that hopefully it will be absorbing some of that herbicide via the crop, then I would not do a chop and drop. Which typically when you're doing a cover crop in a garden, then it's done over the winter months or when the soil is fallow. Then you chop it, and drop it, and work it right back into the soil. And then it will break down, and it will feed the soil, and produce more organic manner in the soil, which is all a very good thing. However, if you're using it for soil remediation, I would not do the chop and drop. I would take that out. I would pull that cover crop and I wouldn't allow it to drop back down and compost into the soil. I would remove it.
Now we talked about most of the warm weather crops, as I said, the nightshade family, tomatoes, peppers, most of your squash as well, and then anything in the B and P family are really susceptible to the herbicide. So has a strong amount of the herbicide, then unfortunately most of those crops will just die. And you'll have wasted all of your time and effort, seeds, et cetera. But there are some things like root crops, and sunflowers, and oats. These are crops that are good at helping to remove herbicide damage from the soil and can help to take it out.
You could do something like sunflowers. Those are going to look really pretty, but then you're going to make sure that you pull all of the sunflowers out. Not something that you want to compost. And if it is herbicide, personally, that's not something I would want to feed animals. So I know it can feel a little bit painful to grow a crop, and you just have to grow it and dump it. But it's going to help pull out, in most instances, the herbicide faster than if you had done nothing.
Now whether or not how much of the herbicide makes it into the food if you did do some root crops, right? Root crops, potatoes. Potatoes are really good absorbers of pesticides, excuse me, herbicides. And beets, onions anything that grows, root crops. Would you want to eat that yourself? It's kind of a catch 22. It depends on if you're already buying organic. If you're cognizant of it. That's kind of a decision for each person. For me and my family, I personally would not want to eat anything that had been grown in that soil. But conventional agriculture is spraying. Now is it with the same herbicide? I don't know that. I haven't researched that exactly as to which herbicides it is, and how much of that is actually on crops that you're buying at the grocery store, if they're grown using conventional methods, et cetera.
But if you are buying a lot of conventional things from the grocery store and/or processed foods, we already are consuming... I mean, they raised the bar, I can't remember how much now, to acceptable amounts of Roundup, glyphosate, right in... So we're already eating a lot of that, which is why I raise so much of my own food, and you probably do as well. And when I can't, I'm looking for things that are not treated with that. However, I guess what I'm saying is each person will make their own choice. If they did want to eat some of the root crops or oats or sunflowers or whatever it is that they grew in that area, if it was contaminated, kind of based upon what their exposure levels already are and what they're comfortable with.
I hope you enjoyed this episode of the podcast. And if you're like, "Man, I would love to get in on some of those Q&As," because this was just two questions from the Q&A. We had a lot more from that session. Then go to melissaknorris.com/pta, short for Pioneering Today Academy, melissaknorris.com/pta, and jump on the wait list. You'll just pop your email in there. And then you'll be the first to know, as soon as we open the doors again for the Pioneering Today Academy.
Today's verse of the week is from Judges, and specifically the story of Gideon and the fleece. Now some of you may be very familiar with this Bible story. Others of you might not so much. So Judges 6:39-40, "Then Gideon said to God, do not be angry with me. Let me just make just one more request. Allow me one more test with the fleece, but this time make the fleece dry and let the ground be covered with dew. That night God did so. Only the fleece was dry. All the ground was covered with dew." Now there's a lot more in the context of that story, but basically Gideon came from one of the smallest tribes in Israel, and he felt unsure. Not unsure of God, but he felt unsure of is this something that I can really do. Lord, I need your reassurance that this is from you.
And the reason that I share this verse is because if you listen to last week's episode, or caught my YouTube video episode number 349, where I shared with you our new 40 acre homestead property, then this was something that I shared kind of my own Gideon fleece story with our general contractor. But a few more things have transpired since then. And what's been interesting is the response to the property. And most of your guys' responses has been so fun to read. Some of you guys had sent in some different ideas, which have just been really, really fun. But taking quite a few of them and some different suggestions, part of that was just on like kind of the remodel and things that we were planning on doing at the house, but other suggestions on ways to use the property, some ideas for workshops, et cetera.
And so thank you so much for all of you who sent in ideas. I do really appreciate that, and your excitement, and your support. But there were some people who responded, and basically I had one person tell me, and I quote, "That we were insane for buying this place." And some others have been kind of like the old fable or story, like Chicken little, the sky is falling. And most of the time, those comments don't get to me, but you know, I am human and there's times where comments will bug me. Not very often, you have to have a thick skin to be, I hate to say in this business, because that sounds kind of funny. But when you are sharing yourself publicly with strangers, you need to expect that you are going to get comments that are not always going to align or affirm your decisions or the way that you do things. Kind of just goes with the territory.
But that comment in particular, about that we were insane. And my comment back was... And I normally don't engage with people who are negative, quite honestly, because usually it doesn't matter what you say, they that's just their frame of mind. At least that's kind of what I've come to experience online. And there are a lot of people in the Bible who were technically, what people would've thought in that time, what they were doing insane. Look at Noah, building the ark, there's on a drop of rain. People thought he was insane. And no, I am not, I am not comparing myself to those great men of the Bible. But we can draw some correlations there. And I have to look back, as I shared in that last week's podcast episode with you, kind of the entire context of my life thus far and especially that faith aspect.
And I still feel very, very firmly that God is leading us to this property for things that I don't even know yet. He will show us when the time is there. It's just taking that one next step, that next step of faith. And so what was really, and this may seem like such a small thing, but I wanted to share it because I felt like it was an additional thing of confirmation. So one of the things that we would love to be able to do is to obviously, we're going to do short term rentals. So a two night minimum or by the week, et cetera, for people to come and stay at the farmhouse once it's renovated. It's a full working farm. There's cattle there. We're making plans to put in some different gardens. And we actually discovered that there was a medicinal herb garden.
Yes, right behind this little shed at the house, it just looked really overgrown. And I got out there and I discovered all of these medicinal herbs. So if you want to see that tour, head over to the YouTube channel, we'll link to it in today's blog post as well. But we're planning out on expanding and doing a bunch of things next year. And one of the comments that came in from several people is, "Well, when you do workshops, what about offering some type of camping on the property for people who are coming for the workshops?" And that is a great suggestion. We're actually trying to look at some of the fields now, that we would be able to section off, and how we would offer that, et cetera. And then we were going back to the house and we were like, "Man, there's actually a spot in the driveway, right off the driveway next to the garage, where we're going to have an electrical port put, that you could really easily do an RV hookup."
So if somebody was staying at the home and they had another family member who wanted to bring an RV in, you wouldn't be able to do it separate because it's too close to the house. And that would be weird. You're there camping in an RV and then literally like 50 feet away is a different family in the house. I don't think that would be a good experience. So I wouldn't want to do that to someone else. But like I said, if multiple families wanted to come, somebody could bring their RV and be right there. And then the other people would be in the house and it would work out really well. So we were asking an electrician, if he could put a electrical box outside for an RV hookup on the side of the garage. And he is like, "Yeah, yeah, no problem."
Well, here's the thing. So I was talking to the previous owners of the house, because we had some questions on things, and she's like, "Well, you know that there's an RV septic there." And I'm like, "Said what? I did not know that." And she's like, "Yeah, when Lawrence Hornbeck was," who originally had the house and then when he passed away, his son has had the house for a number of years and rented it out. And that's who we purchased it from, him and his wife. And she said, when Lawrence was still alive, and he had reached an elderly spot, and needed to have someone there as a caretaker, one of their caretakers actually lived on the property in an RV to take care of him the last few years of his life there. And we had a RV septic put in. Just a small one, for just an RV, but there's actually an RV septic there.
And a lot of people would just be like, "Oh, what a great coincidence." But I am like, "No, that is, that is not a coincidence. The Lord knew what his plans were for that property even way back then." We had no idea. And that is something that now is already in place for us to be able to offer that as an extra RV spot. So it was one of those moments where I was like, "Okay Lord, that was my second, the second part of Gideon's fleece." So in the fleece story the first night he puts it out and the fleece will be the only thing wet, and everything else around it will be dry, and that's a sign from God. And so that happens. Then he is like, "Okay, Lord, I need one more sign." And said, "Tomorrow, have the fleece be the only thing that's dry and all the land be wet."
So I felt like when we found that out, that was our second thing in the fleece. And so knowing that God has been planning this and He has this. I don't know what, how all He's going to work everything out, but that He is. So I needed that little bit of affirmation and hope. And so I hope that helps you as well.
I want to thank you so much for joining me on this episode of the Pioneering Today podcast. And I can't wait to be back here with you next week. Blessings and mason jars for now.
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tomatillos, I have 2 plants that have flowers all over it but not producing, I fertilize it every other watering, is that the problem? I would appreciate any feed back.
Thank you for diving further into this and the previous PTA answer! your tips for improving help a lot. Probably going to do some that way, and some I may just use to top dress the lawn and start over. My lab does do chemical tests, but could not test for aminopyralid. I have read that there are maybe 2 in the country that can.
Thank you for this. 3 years ago when i finally got on a couple of acres … here in the swamp of SWFL… I set up some raised beds. I went to a local horticulture business who sold ‘OMRI’ veggie blend. We bought 3 full trailer loads. I was so excited. When we went to put the soil in the beds I literally found garbage. water bottles, carpet, weed whacker string and other bits of trash. I was so skeptical as the OMRI status but continued with my planting plans. well needless to say the garden was almost a complete failure. besides being overrun with red ants… the plants did not thrive. The second year I did a soil sample and amended this very alkaline soil the best I could. I had limited successes but in the end it was so much effort for so little yield. I am absolutely certain my first two years were the result of contaminated soil. Not Omri at all. This company was later fined for their practices of composting. The horticulture businesses in SWFL are huge. Lots of fancy hoods and golf courses using a ton of pesticides. This is what ended up in my OMRI soil. I wanted a garden sooo bad so i did not give up. The 3rd year I moved the beds completely. We found a better soil place and we really worked to amend these new beds. I had such a different result. We had a garden! Our season will begin in a couple of months. I will go to the good place and request a large ziploc full of their good soil and do your bean test. i will know within a couple of days if they are still good or not. thanks for that tip and the confirmation that even the bagged soil could end up not being what it claims. : )
This happened to Jessica Sowards with Roots&Refuge too!!
Happened to me this year.
I spent hours starting seeds and then transplanting them into their own little pots (at least 4 hours a day for several days as I started lots of seeds). What a total waste of time. They got about 3 inches tall and never grew further. By the time I gave up on them, the stores had very few plants left to sell in the multipacks. I got lucky and got tomatoes but no peppers. My guess was the soil was the problem but I had no way to prove it. My work kept me so busy I didn’t have time to plant anything outside until Memorial Day. I threw handfuls of different seeds in the ground. All those came up great! But again, work and extremely hot weather made it impossible to get back to the garden except to water so they wouldn’t die. I’m finally transplanting now but worry that it is so late that the frost will kill things before harvest.
Your article validated my fears it was the potting soil. I’d love to pot a bunch of my new plants so I can bring them in, in the fall when the frost hits. But where can I find potting soil I can trust? Even Burpee has let me down the last several years.
Hi, you mention in your podcast “I mean, they raised the bar, I can’t remember how much now, to acceptable amounts of Roundup, glyphosate…” Where can I find this information? I am trying to search online and haven’t figured out the right keywords or site to give me this information. I’m hoping that it exists out there in something that is easy to digest! All in all, this podcast was very informative. Thank you so much.