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Soils in Orchards

Soil is an amazing hidden ecosystem beneath our feet. While the average person may think of soil as just static dirt, it is amazingly complex and teeming with life.  A single teaspoon of productive soil contains between 100 million and 1 billion bacteria. Maintaining healthy soil is key not only to the longevity of any farming operation, but to our continued ability to feed ourselves. 


“Man — despite his artistic pretensions, his sophistication, and his many accomplishments — owes his existence to a six inch layer of topsoil and the fact that it rains.” – Paul Harvey


Soil is a complex mixture of things that you can’t change, and things that you can. Soil depth, texture and mineral composition are largely unaffected by land use practices. You can however influence water infiltration rates, amount of organic matter in the soil, structure, compaction and more through management decisions. Modern farming often relies on tilling and chemical fertilizers, however these can be damaging to the long-term health of your soils.

Girls Picking Apples
Importance of Soil

Best Management Practices: Promoting Soil Health

Best Management Practices Promoting Soil Health

Further reading

A slightly dated but very thorough guide published by the province on soil management in the South Okanagan and Similkameen


US Government site with excellent Soil Health Assessment guides


An in-depth look at soil health and the role of cover crops.

An Ontario guide to cover crops and cover crop types. Lots of great information to help you decide which cover crop may be right for your farm.

Further Reading
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