From the beginning we wanted Dirt Hugger to be about resource recovery and impact on agriculture. There are thousands of tons of nutrients heading to the Wasco County landfill every year, and we are trying to recover those as best as possible. There is a bunch more work to do and we are still pushing for local curbside compost programs in the gorge communities. Please continue to talk to your city councilors about these important programs.
On the agriculture side the gorge is home to one of the greatest fruit growing regions in the world. For decades common practice has been to apply chemical nutrients, grow largest fruit possible and ship them to the highest value market possible (typically export markets). A single pear tree can produce nearly 1,100 pounds of fruit. When taken on a net basis 1,100 pounds of material are being taken from an orchard and replaced mostly by liquid and maybe 20 lbs of leaves. At a certain point from a strictly materials stand-point the system will not self-sustain. Material, or more specifically, organic matter needs to be returned to the soil. As Theodore Roosevelt said, “A nation that destroys its soils, destroys itself.” Which, is where compost comes into play. Compost (40-50% organic matter by dry weight) is one of the best ways to return organic matter to depleted soils.
In order to help close that loop- we are pleased to announce the addition of compost application services to our orchard, farm, and vineyard customers. We have only done a few test plots so far, but we are gaining experience and are excited to see results in the coming growing seasons. With the help of rented equipment from Polehn Farms we can now come to your orchard or vineyard and apply compost in the planting strips. Feel free to contact us in order to find out more.