The original Dirt Hog’s Companion was organized around a series of technical notes addressing a single topic and together, formed part of a larger opus Field Manual for Troubleshooting Soil and Crop Productivity. This manual was prepared for summer interns enrolled in an 8-week field project aimed at troubleshooting agronomic problems at the Center for Environmental Farming Systems in Goldsboro, N.C. The purpose of the technical notes was to instill a basic and above all practical understanding of soil-water-crop relations underlying the successful farming operation. None of the interns had training in soil science or agronomy or experience farming, so it was necessary to boil down some complex ideas into simple unambiguous language. In this hyper-specialized time, every profession has its coveted technical jargon. Agronomy is no different. Albert Einstein once said that if he couldn’t explain quantum physics in language the average person could understand he was overcomplicating things. That may be a stretch but, the point is, successful problem solving requires careful study, full description, and keen judgment at every point. Interns were encouraged to study the notes and lead a brief discussion of the concepts prior to each field excursion. Below are some of the technical notes in a revised, stand-alone format suitable for downloading. As more revisions are completed we’ll add to the list. Final project reports from the 2003 and 2004 sessions have also been placed here. The notes are in pdf format and require local installation of a pdf reader.  Adobe’s Acrobat Reader and Tracker’s PDF-Exchange Editor are free readers that will do the job.

  • Particle and Bulk Density
  • Soil Compaction
  • Soil Acidity and Liming
  • The Moldboard Plow
  • pH Theory, Measurement, Application
  • Soil, Draft, and Traction (English)
  • Nutrient Transport to Roots
  • Soil, Draft, and Traction (Spanish)
  • What is Soil Productivity?
  • Calibrating Large Granular Fertilizers
  • All About Nitrogen
  • Composting Basics: Bulk Density, Moisture, Porosity
  • Dirt Hog's Tools of the Trade
  • Composting Basics: C:N Ratio and Recipe Making (English units)
  • Computing Per Cent Slope
  • Composting Basics: C:N Ratio and Recipe Making (metric units)
  • Intern Project Final Report 2003
  • Intern Project Final Report 2004