The Dirt

The Dirt is intended to educate, inform, and WOW people about farming in the Skagit Valley.  It is a modest, monthly message designed to give you a behind-the-scenes, fascinating, who-woulda-thought look at Skagit agriculture.

Let us know what you think, pass it on to a friend, or email us with topic ideas.

Sign up for our email list to get new issues of The Dirt sprouting in your inbox every month!


The Dirt Issue 44- Off- Farming Income

We all know that farming is a business. A farmer produces food, fiber, fuel, or any combination thereof to yield sales. Those sales generate income. They may even generate profit. But do they make a living? Here’s what the government’s … Continue reading

The Dirt Issue 43 – Soil Food Web

Have you ever noticed how wonderful—and fresh—healthy fertile soil smells in the spring? The reason for that scent is the presence of certain bacteria that live in the soil. Or, if you’ve ever hiked in the woods on an autumn … Continue reading

The Dirt Issue 42 – Feed Your Soil, Feed Your Plants

So far in 2019 we’ve explored three practices that play an important role in soil husbandry. We’ve discussed why so many Skagit Valley farmers rely on v-ditches to remove excess water and keep soils aerated. We’ve also shown how the … Continue reading

The Dirt Issue 41 – The Grange

As you visit the various fairs around our area this summer, take note of the strong presence of the Grange. As the oldest surviving agricultural organization in the U.S. you might think its focus is farms and the families who … Continue reading

The Dirt Issue 40 – Till vs. No Till

Till? Or No-Till? SPF’s fervor to protect Skagit County farmlands starts with the soil itself. The remarkable characteristics and high nutritive value of native soils has been well known and celebrated for decades. Interest in preserving and enhancing the soil … Continue reading

The Dirt Issue 39 – Breeding Wheat for Greater Nutrition

Nutrition for Health As scientific research delves ever deeper into the relationship between nutrition and health, it has become evident that good nutrition is key not only to surviving, but also to thriving. Our knowledge about nutrition is a remarkably … Continue reading

The Dirt Issue 38 – Cover Cropping

Keeping Soil Healthy When most of us think about farmland, we think about crops planted, harvested and marketed. After all, it’s these cash crops that—ideally—make farming economically viable. But, to a farmer, the cash crop is just one part of … Continue reading

The Dirt Issue 37 – All About Potatoes

Skagit County’s #1 Crop By far the most popular vegetable grown in the U.S., potatoes have been grown in Skagit County from the earliest days of European settlement. The first recorded crop of cultivated potatoes was planted on March Point … Continue reading

The Dirt Issue 36 – Do Farmers Get Spring Fever?

No matter how long the winter, spring is sure to follow. These words from an old proverb have a certain poignancy when faced with another dreary, dark, and deeply cold day, but all of us relish the first hint of … Continue reading

The Dirt Issue 35 – Surface Drainage

Surface Drainage Explained Anyone driving past Skagit Valley farmland has seen them, V-shaped ditches snaking through a field to empty into a field-bordering, usually roadside ditch. Their purpose is to slowly, with low velocity, drain the field of standing water … Continue reading