A campaign was launched in December 2018 by Oregon farmers working with Soil and Water Conservation Districts. The Soil Your Undies Challenge was now a thing. It's a simple way to measure the microbial activity in the soil. Julie Berbiglia visits the campus of Vanderbilt University in Nashville to see the results from their participation in the challenge.
We learn about healthy fertile soil on a visit to Red Thread Farm, a micro family farm in Franklin TN. There's no mechanized tillage that happens here, just a liberal use of broadforks. Keeping the soil covered is a priority, either with a thick mulch or cover crops. And there's no commercial pesticide use on the premises. All methods used are meant to enhance microbial activity in the soil, and in turn, produce nutrient-rich vegetables.
Jeff Poppen learns the methods necessary for growing a successful crop of cherry tomatoes in a market garden greenhouse. Bloomsbury Farm in Smyrna TN uses mulched leaves as compost to improve the soil structure. They use the Florida weave trellising system for some varieties, while with others the Lower and Lean Method is used.