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  • Writer's pictureJere Folgert

Boosting Soil Health and Rotted Underpants

Updated: Jan 12

A Fun Story: Once upon a time, there was a gardener named Sarah who was always looking for new ways to improve her soil health. She had heard about the "Soil Your Undies" challenge, and she decided to give it a try.

The challenge is simple: bury a pair of cotton underwear in your garden, and then dig it up a few months later to see how it has been affected by the soil microbes. If the underwear is mostly gone, that means your soil is healthy and full of life. If the underwear is still mostly intact, that means your soil could use some improvement.

Sarah was excited to try the challenge, so she asked her ex-boyfriend if he could spare a pair of white cotton underwear. She then buried them in her garden, about 6 inches deep. She marked the spot with a flag so she would remember where they were.

A few months later, Sarah went back to her garden and dug up the underwear. She was surprised to see that they were almost completely gone! The only thing left was a few small pieces of fabric.

Sarah was thrilled! This meant that her soil was very healthy and full of life. She was so happy that she had tried the "Soil Your Undies" challenge.

Sarah's story shows that there are many different ways to improve soil health. The "Soil Your Undies" challenge is a fun and easy way to do it, and it can give you valuable information about the health of your soil.

How is your soil health? Find out by burying a pair of underwear.

To educate the public about soil health, the Pennsylvania Soil Health Coalition and other soil health experts have teamed up with clothing brand The Big Favorite to launch Soil Your Undies, a campaign that challenges people to get to know their backyard microbes by planting their undies. Anyone with a farm field, backyard garden, or lawn can join in the fun. All it takes is a pair of 100% cotton underpants, a shovel, and a quest for knowledge. Once the undies are buried, the microbes in the soil, hopefully, will get to work. After 60 days or so, panty planters dig up their undies to reveal the level of decomposition. The more the underwear decomposes, the healthier the soils are! All who take the challenge can then determine how to improve soil quality.

Read More Here:

Farmers used to test the quality of their soil by burying a pair of underpants in the ground and seeing

how quickly they rotted.

"The idea being that the more healthy micro-organisms there are in the ground, such as bacteria and fungi, the faster the fabric would be eaten away. Bury the underwear now and they may well be dug up the following year in pristine condition. That's because, according to experts, more than half of the world's agricultural soil is already degraded and lacking in microorganisms. In India, soil degradation is one of the factors, alongside debt, that is said to have led to the shocking statistic of nearly 30 people in the farming sector taking their own lives, on average, every day. To try to improve matters, a popular Indian guru called Sadhguru is continuing to lead a global campaign called SaveSoil, which pushes to improve soil health around the world. He is calling for farmers to be given incentives, such as financial support, to keep a minimum of 3% of organic content in their soil." -By Jane Wakefield
testing how many microbes are in your soil.

GroEat Garlic Farm is Located in Bozeman, Montana. They grow hardneck garlic for planting and for cooking and culinary.

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