Are you curious about the health of your soil?
Join us in the Soil Your Undies Challenge!
Katelyn soils some undies up at our Sandy-Salmon Confluence project site.
What the heck is the Soil Your Undies Challenge?
We’re burying 7 pairs of 100% cotton briefs throughout the Sandy River watershed! By burying cotton underwear, we can assess the biological activity, and therefore the health, of the soil. Over a period of two months, soil microbes will break down the cotton fabric of the undies, and then we’ll dig ‘em back up. The more decomposed the briefs are, the healthier the soil. If the briefs look a lot like they did when they were buried, then there is some work to be done in making the soil healthier.
How does this experiment work?
A healthy soil is full of bacteria, fungi, arthropods (or invertebrate insects like spiders and bugs), protozoa, and earthworms. You see, 100% cotton is a food source for the microbes and other organisms in the soil. This is why after two months in the ground, the worse looking the briefs, the more biological activity you have in your soil. Biologically active soil means healthy soil.
How can I test my own soil?
Here is what you do to join in the fun:
- Find a pair of 100% cotton underwear (undyed). Take a photo of your briefs for future comparison.
- Dig a hole 6 to 8 inches deep. This is the root zone where most of the biological activity occurs.
- Lay your briefs flat in the hole and cover with soil. Because it is summer and the soil is dry, you will need to water periodically unless the area is irrigated.
- After two months, dig up your briefs and compare them to the photo you took in the beginning.
Thank you to our partners, the Clackamas Soil & Water Conservation District, for co-hosting this challenge!
Thinking about joining us? Contact us with any questions, and share your process with us on social media! Tag us @sandywatershed and use hashtags #ClackBriefs, #SandyBriefs, & #SoilYourUndies.