Scott C Gillespie
M.Sc. P.Ag. CCA
Bringing soil health principles to potatoes and other high disturbance crops.
Potatoes can be one of the toughest crops on the soil.
Deep tillage, soil inversion, and heavy trucks all take their toll.
Potatoes can also be one of the most responsive crops to healthy soil.
Healthy soils produce high quality, nutritious, and abundant potatoes.
Potato rotations are more challenging for building soil health.
But building healthy soil is still possible!
Let me show you how.
MSc. - Masters of Science (Plant Sciences). University of Manitoba. 2006.
Thesis available at: [http://hdl.handle.net/1993/278]
B.Sc. (Agr) - Bachelor of Science in Agriculture. University of Guelph. 2001.
PAg - Professional Agrologist. Registered with Alberta Institute of Agrologists. 2011.
CCA - Certified Crop Advisor. Registered with Prairie CCA Board. 2009.
I have worked for over ten years providing agronomy support to irrigated potato growers in the area surrounding Taber, Alberta, Canada. My clients grow for the large processors in the area such as Frito Lay, Lamb Weston, McCain, & Cavendish. The growers I work with appreciate my independent thought and ability to look beyond the conventional practices. I am passionate about knowing how plants grow, how soils are kept healthy, and how to produce the best crops we can.
I'm always learning and I'm always curious. I maintain my professional designations and go above and beyond the required amount of learning. I attend conferences, crop walks, and am always reading the latest books on agronomy. I love to share this knowledge with others and am always excited to get meet new people, learn what they are doing, and help them make changes to their operation to work better. I don’t just learn - I practice what I believe in. I’m always experimenting with new ideas in my garden and applying that to large scale agricultural systems.
My business is based on fee for service. This means I don't sell products or services and don't place advertising or affiliate links on my site. I will still recommend products or services that I think are worth using - but you can be assured I don't recommend them for any financial gain.
Investing in your soil pays now and for generations to come
Plants are the key to building healthy soil
How can plants help the soil?
The soil microbes and soil organisms are ready to build the soil but they need the plants for carbon. Surface residue is a part of the solution but its really the roots in the soil that the microbes need. Not just decomposing roots – living roots, roots that bring carbon from the leaves for the microbes in exchange for hard-to-get nutrients. Whenever the soil is not producing a cash crop, it should be mining the soil nutrients, building water holding capacity, and aggregating soil particles.
Why would the plants give the microbes carbon?
Because the microbes will mine the soil for nutrients that the plants need. The soil has enough nutrients to supply plants for centuries or millennia. This is how soils developed in the first place.
Building healthy soils takes time so the earlier you start, the earlier you see results. [Contact] me to explore ways we can work together. Learn about these principles from my [articles] and start implementing on your farm, market garden, or backyard garden today. Keep up to date with the latest postings to my site by signing up for my [monthly newsletter].
Don’t grow potatoes or have them on your land?
The principles still apply but your plan will change. Instead of focusing on building the soil for a disrupting event the plan focuses on building for each successive crop. I encourage you to check out my [articles] and sign up for my [newsletter]. I’m sure you’ll learn some things you can try. And don’t worry, we can still [work together]. I’m not exclusive to potato growers!
Maybe you grow other soil disrupting crops?
Your plan must change and be more aggressive in soil building in the intervening years. You need to consider shorter cash crops and possibly entire years without a cash crop so that the disrupting years don’t take a toll on the soil. Like I said above - I’m not exclusive to potato growers! Check out the links above for ways you can learn from me and work together.