The best indicator for the over-all health of the land is the health of the topsoil. Topsoil is necessary for life to continue, since it is needed for plants to be able to grow. Plants are needed by people and by animals, and topsoil is like the bottom brick of a building: Pull it away, and the building will fall. So too with topsoil: Take away topsoil and you can take away life. Despite our best efforts to implement practices that are better for our ecosystem, the topsoil situation continues to deteriorate. Should the topsoil be lost, the economic and ecological foundation on which much of our production is based will also in essence be lost. This would be a bad thing.

Topsoil is being destroyed and damaged at a much higher rate than it is being produced. Producing natural topsoil takes hundreds of years to fully produce optimal topsoil delivered. It is a process in which twigs, leaves, and the like decompose into the topsoil creating a nutrient-soaked layer of topsoil which is needed for plants to grow properly. This is a process that obviously takes a lot of time. Damaging and/or destroying topsoil is far easier to accomplish. Wasteful farming practices can be and have been all that is necessary to ruin decades or even centuries of natural topsoil production. The demand for topsoil continues to climb, however. Therefore, being able to produce your own topsoil could be a very helpful tool if you wish to plant.

In order to be able to build topsoil, the soil must already be alive. Life in the topsoil provides for the potential of more life, and more life provides the potential for new topsoil to be created. Good topsoil has good plumbing, good ventilation, and sufficient opportunity for life to thrive. Even if topsoil has all the nutrients in the world in it, if it is missing one of these three essential elements, it will not be suitable to sustain life. It is important to keep these things in mind as we go through the steps of making your own topsoil.

There are five crucial ingredients in topsoil:

– minerals

– water

– air

– life both IN and ON the topsoil

– irregular disturbance systems

It is impossible as of right now for people to increase the levels of air and water. This is quite possibly the reason people think it is impossible for new bulk topsoil to be made. The main elements that these nay-sayers are over-looking are the last two ingredients. To be able to turn things around properly, we must first encourage topsoil to be built every day in the way we manage the land.

Topsoil should always have life on it in the form of animals, in the form of plants, or in the form of plant litter. We could also encourage more topsoil to be built by producing more organic matter. One good way to achieve this is to grow green manure crops with smaller amounts of tillage. Another important thing to do to encourage there to be forms of life or products of forms of life in the topsoil is to graze the groundcover occasionally. This could be done personally, but the best way to do is to just let animals graze on the land. Before using any pesticides or herbicides, carefully measure exactly how much is absolutely necessary and only use that amount. Using such substances reduces the biological activity going on in the topsoil, and reducing the amount of biological activity going on in the topsoil can have a negative effect on the quantity of quality topsoil being produced. The energy being emitted through all of the biological activity drives the topsoil building process forward. Pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers and other similar substances stop the process by reducing this biological activity.

You will know when your efforts are paying off, because you will be able to tell when there is new topsoil being formed. There are two easy ways to be able to tell that new topsoil is being formed. The first one is the actual physical texture of the topsoil. The topsoil should feel airy and loose when you walk on it. It should rise slightly and you should be able to stick a thin stick into the topsoil easily. The second easy way to tell that new topsoil is being formed is by the way it smells. A compost smell means that there is a lot of biological activity going on in the soil, which means that new topsoil is being formed.

The bottom line is that the future creation of new topsoil depends on how we interact with the environment, and we in turn are dependent upon topsoil to continue living as we have become accustomed. This being the scenario, it is a win-win situation for all of us to be more conscious of the effect our actions will have on the topsoil around us.