Knowing that no matter where you go, no matter where you farm, no matter where your practices are, you’re always going to have some deficiencies in soil. For example, the soil in St. Maries is very acid. Aromatic plants will not grow in acid soil. So people said, well that’s ridiculous, why are you doing it? You do what you do where you can with what you have, and I had a little farm in St. Maries.
And so what did I do? I spent years building and restructuring the soil and bringing the pH from 4.5 because it was a conifer farm land. There were only 35 acres that were in pasture and had not been plowed for over 40‑some years. It was just a cattle-grazing summer pasture; everything else was in timber. Now we have 200 acres in crop there. The soil was 4.5; now we have an average soil of 7 pH, and 7 to 7.8 is perfect for aromatic plant growth.
So I took the soil and placed it in the first tray you see here. Then I planted some plants that we were experimenting with in an organic fertility program using microbes and enzymes. This whole test project went on for almost six years, as I was looking at developing an organic fertility program that would feed my plants. I had one thing in mind: In order to develop good oil, you have to have good soil. In order to develop good oil, the plants have got to have healthy roots that go into that good soil.