Continuing to serve your conservation needs with new strategies!
A message from all of us here at Benton SWCD.
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Healthy Soil

The key to a productive garden

It’s that time of year when budding plants and seed catalogs entice you to plan for the upcoming gardening season. While it’s easy to get excited about growing heirloom tomatoes and purple potatoes, don’t forget to include soil building on your to-do list. Healthy soil cleans and stores water, recycles nutrients, is home to myriad beneficial organisms, and is the Earth’s natural planting mix.

Apply the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s four soil health principles to maximize the soil’s beneficial services as you prepare beds and rotate crops.
  1. Use compost, mulch or cover crops to keep the soil surface covered at all times.

  2. A diversity of plants above ground benefits belowground diversity. 

  3. Reduce soil disturbance.

  4. Keep living roots in the ground.

Learn How to Build Healthy Soil!

Test Your Soil's Quality

A simple at-home test

Healthy soil is the foundation of a healthy garden. Measure your soil's health by answering these five simple questions! All five tests can be done using common household items. For a full understanding of what the tests indicate, read the soil quality card guide
  1. Is the soil free of compacted layers?

  2. Is the soil full of living organisms?

  3. Do plant roots grow well?

  4. Does water infiltrate quickly?

  5. Is water available for plant growth?

This is a student version of the Willamette Valley Soil Quality Card © 1998 by Oregon State University Extension Service ( pdf/em/em8710-e.pdf).
Get the test!

Time to Rise Up

with raised bed gardens

Spring is here: time for rejuvenation and the preparation and planting of your vegetable garden. Many options exist for designing an aesthetically pleasing, easy-to-manage garden. Raised garden beds have several benefits. 
  1. Improved Soil and Drainage

  2. Increased Yield and Efficient Use of Space

  3. Simplified Pest Control

Dig In to Raised Beds!

Just Checking In...

What are your plans for celebrating the 50th anniversary of Earth Day? We'd love to hear back from you.  Please share your ideas for how we could continue to assist you at this time.

Best Wishes,

The Team at Benton SWCD
  • Holly Crosson, Executive Director, 541-753-7208 ext. 203 
  • Donna Schmitz, Resource Conservationist, 541-753-7208 ext. 201
  • Teresa Matteson, Resource Conservationist, 541-753-7208 ext. 204
  • Heath Keirstead, Communications & Community Engagement, 541-753-7208 ext. 205
  • Laura Brown, River Restoration & Invasive Species Program Coordinator, 541-753-7208 ext.202
  • Linda Lovett, Operations Manager, 541-753-7208 ext. 200

Upcoming Events

April NAISMA Invasive Species Webinar Library free this month!
4/22 Happy Earth Day!
5/4 Virtual Board Meeting
5/6 Invasives in Your Backyard Webinar
5/18 Virtual Budget Committee Meeting

View these events and more on our calendar.
Name that plant!  This dioecious native plant can be found in shady forest understories from S. Alaska to N. California and east into Wyoming.
Click here to guess!
This BSWCD brochure has everything you need to know to start reaping the many  benefits of compost!
Now is a great time to build Teresa's favorite, earth-enriching worm bin!
Get down and dirty with soil: discover the soil texture by feel method!
Learn about soil - with kids or on your own - using hands-on activities from BSWCD's Soil Field Study Curriculum!

Connect with us

We are always looking for ways to improve our planet and we hope you are too.
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