Weatherford Democrat


January 27, 2013

NOW HEAR THIS: The smell of freshly plowed Earth


We’re rapidly coming up on a favorite time of year for me – springtime and time to plant my vegetable garden.

This year I’m doing things a little differently. I’m putting in the time and effort to condition my soil much better before planting. One of the first things I learned in my study of agronomy in college was the need for organic material in the soil. While growing plants need water, sunshine and fertility to exist, abundant organic matter in the growing medium is an extra piece to the puzzle. I’d equate it to the icing on the cake.

What is so important about rotten plant residue or manure being present in the soil? It performs a host of important functions. One significant feature is that it makes the soil more friable, or more easily worked. Instead of a hard-baked surface in the Texas sun, it remains soft and crumbles to the touch. In addition to keeping the soil particles from clinging tightly together and separating them with humus, the organic matter allows for moisture to more easily soak into the ground.

Furthermore, it allows the soil to hold the moisture better, making it more accessible to the growing plants. Another great benefit of adding this compost is the addition of vital nutrients. I have never been a great stickler for touting the value of organic nutrients over the addition of commercial fertilizer. However, I will add that nutrients derived from manure or compost are normally comprised of simpler chemical compounds that the plants can absorb more easily.

About five years ago the tree service that trimmed the high line right-of-ways for Tri-County Electric were looking for a place to dump the tree trimming residue they ran through their chipper machine. I was more than happy to accommodate them. They dumped a dozen or more truck loads in the pasture across the road from my house. Rotting and composting for all these years, I decided it was time to put it to good use. With my front-end loader, I spread about a six-inch layer over my entire garden, and incorporated it into the soil with my tiller. I should have done it several months ago, but the extremely dry fall conditions made it too difficult.

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    Not much is known about this Joseph’s life. The one thing I know for sure is that he was a very brave man.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hamilton, Lee.jpg HAMILTON: Government as innovator? You bet!

    Five years ago, the federal government spent $169 billion to fund basic research and development. This fiscal year, it’s down to $134 billion.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Showing respect

    My sister Robbie Benton’s funeral was Friday afternoon at White’s Funeral Home. The gravesite was outside of Mineral Wells. The respect shown by the good folks of Parker County and the surrounding area was overwhelming.

    April 17, 2014

  • larry jones cropped:color NOW HEAR THIS: Going on a wild goose chase

    In recent years I’ve written quite a bit about the introduction and negative consequences of non-native or invasive species. Fire ants, killer bees, English sparrows, Asian carp, feral hogs and others too numerous to list have forever changed our local ecosystem.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo


    Have you seen those TV offers where they give a price for one product and then offer a second like items for-free? All you have to do is pay a separate shipping and handling charge for the “free” items.

    April 13, 2014

  • John Paul Carter-color.jpg NOTES FROM THE JOURNEY: What’s in a name?

    Names are important. When my son, Rush, (who’s named after my father) and his wife, Vanessa, were expecting their third daughter, I gave up on having a male namesake and suggested, in jest, they call her “Johnnie Pauline.”

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • tiscione, lou.jpg TISCIONE: The Christian and the government

    The church in the Old Testament lived under a theocracy. That is, both the church and state were one. God anointed kings. Civil laws and religious laws were one and the same.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • larry jones cropped:color NOW HEAR THIS: Getting in the chicken business

    Anyone who is my age or older has heard the famous quote, “A chicken in every pot.” It is normally attributed to Herbert Hoover during his 1928 presidential bid.

    April 6, 2014 1 Photo

  • VIEWPOINT: Obsessed with sports

    I remember reading a synopsis of the five reasons for the “Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire” by Edward Gibbon in which he listed the Romans’ obsession with sports at the coliseum as a cause of the fall of the empire.

    April 6, 2014

  • 0912 one bday wm j kelly 2013 mug.jpg KELLY: What do you think?

    On March 21, this paper published an article about a six-month drug trafficking investigation involving 12 people. On the front page was a photo of the 12 people involved. The use of drugs had made them a sorry-looking bunch. The look in their eyes was particularly disturbing.

    April 4, 2014 1 Photo

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