Throughout my life I have always loved to learn.  Over the past decade, as a professional landscaper I would spend entire days in the garden and then return home to devour books about growing mushrooms, growing plants without poisons, and how plants and mushrooms could be used to leach petroleum from the ground and clean it.  I read about processes called “lasagna gardening” and how to keep worm bins happy in and out of doors, etc.  

 

Along the way I learned about how dirt actually works, and found dirt to be a world of its own. There's a lot of misunderstandings about dirt out there.  Even academia is just starting to understand dirt and what an incredible resource it is.  I continued researching, practicing and experimenting in my own gardens and slowly developing best practices for maximizing water absorption.  

During the recent extreme five year drought in California I worked as a professional commercial and residential landscaper.  Maximizing water and saving money was an understandable need and something I continue to be proactive about with my clients.  We know that because natural systems create and support more life, optimizing them ends up being less work and less money, with better results.  However, armed with the understanding of how dirt really works, my job became a difficult paradox:

 

Over the years I've had several clients who wanted their yards “cleaned” by me because I was an expert.  To the client, “clean” meant all the debris, leaves and weeds were pulled up and removed from the site.  However my expertise told me that micro organisms love to be in dark, moist places with layers of debris to feast upon and create healthy dirt. Sometimes a gas or electric blower would be requested for the extra clean look and feel.  By removing debris, I was creating and perpetuating a dysfunctional cycle, starving micro organisms populations in the soil and setting the plants up to require constant maintenance, stress and eventual failure.    

“Clean” is the current aesthetic norm, considered to be the most desirable kind of yard. Mother Nature knows best, and debris are on the ground for a reason!  When leaves fall from a tree, it and other plants receive constantly recycled nourishment from the bottom up.  It’s a perfect self sustaining cycle.  

 

Again and again I encountered gardens exhibiting effects of poor soil: highly susceptible to diseases and pests, yellow leaves and signs of desertification and hydrophobia of the soil.  Read my blog post, “The inside scoop on the dirt beneath your feet.” I knew my landscaping career was not sustainable because I was setting the soil and plants up for failure if I continued to adhere to the aesthetic norm and status quo of good gardening.  

 

I love making gardens healthy and happy.  Not to be deterred, I committed myself to spreading the word!

 

I launched educational initiatives to excite clients about soil testing, onsite composting and the possibility of amending via natural methods and not using chemical fertilizers.  Adoption was slow and hesitant, and I found the issue to be that the aesthetic norm of what a good garden looks like, was too deeply rooted into people’s psyche.

But I knew better.  I knew I had to do something drastic.  I needed to disrupt people’s understandings and engagement with best practices in landscaping, soil remediation and food supply systems.  I chose to be part of the solution, and created Dirt Revolution.

 

I am eager to share these solutions with you and encourage you to do your part to heal the land.  

How It Started

Throughout my life I have always loved to learn. Over the past decade, as a professional landscaper I would spend entire days in the garden and then return home to devour books about growing mushrooms, growing plants without poisons, and how plants and mushrooms could be used to leach petroleum from the ground and clean it. I read about processes called “lasagna gardening” and how to keep worm bins happy in and out of doors, etc.  

 

Along the way I learned about how dirt actually works, and found dirt to be a world of its own. There's a lot of misunderstandings about dirt out there. Even academia is just starting to understand dirt and what an incredible resource it is. I continued researching, practicing and experimenting in my own gardens and slowly developed best practices for maximizing water absorption.  

During the recent extreme five year drought in California I worked as a professional commercial and residential landscaper. Maximizing water and saving money was an understandable need and something I continue to be proactive about with my clients. We know that because natural systems create and support more life, optimizing them ends up being less work and less money, with better results. However, armed with the understanding of how dirt really works, my job became a difficult paradox:

 

Over the years I've had several clients who wanted their yards “cleaned” by me because I was an expert. To the client, “clean” meant all the debris, leaves and weeds were pulled up and removed from the site. However my expertise told me that micro organisms love to be in dark, moist places with layers of debris to feast upon and create healthy dirt. Sometimes a gas or electric blower would be requested for the extra clean look and feel. By removing debris, I was creating and perpetuating a dysfunctional cycle, starving micro organisms populations in the soil and setting the plants up to require constant maintenance, stress and eventual failure.    

“Clean” is the current aesthetic norm, considered to be the most desirable kind of yard. Mother Nature knows best, and debris are on the ground for a reason! When leaves fall from a tree, it and other plants receive constantly recycled nourishment from the bottom up. It’s a perfect self-sustaining cycle.  

 

Again and again I encountered gardens exhibiting effects of poor soil: highly susceptible to diseases and pests, yellow leaves and signs of desertification and hydrophobia of the soil. Read my blog post, "The inside scoop on the dirt beneath your feet.” I knew my landscaping career was not sustainable because I was setting the soil and plants up for failure if I continued to adhere to the aesthetic norm and status quo of good gardening.  

 

I love making gardens healthy and happy. Not to be deterred, I committed myself to spreading the word!

 

I launched educational initiatives to excite clients about soil testing, onsite composting and the possibility of amending via natural methods and not using chemical fertilizers. Adoption was slow and hesitant, and I found the issue to be that the aesthetic norm of what a good garden looks like, was too deeply rooted into people’s psyche.

But I knew better. I knew I had to do something drastic. I needed to disrupt people’s understandings and engagement with best practices in landscaping, soil remediation and food supply systems. I chose to be part of the solution, and created Dirt Revolution.

 

I am eager to share these solutions with you and encourage you to do your part to heal the land.  

 

How It Started

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