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  • Writer's pictureJere Folgert

Boosting Soil Health and Rotted Underpants

Updated: Feb 15

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.

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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

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In another study:

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

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