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Oats, Healthy Soil and Petrichor

Good sniff, according to Maggie the Border Collie as she caught a whiff of the root ball! Have you ever dug up a shovel full of soil, and had that lovely sweet earthy smell hit your nostrils? We have, so much so that soil features in our branding! The 'Dirt' of Dirty Clean Food. So, what's responsible for that earthy smell?

The smell is caused by soil-dwelling bacteria known as Actinomycetes, which thrive in the soil when conditions are wet and warm. When the soil dries up, these organisms produce tiny spores that release a chemical compound called geosmin, meaning “earth smell” in Greek. Then when it rains, the raindrops mixing with these spores triggers the release of geosmin - which is why the smell is often associated with rain from summer thunderstorms. Petrichor is the term coined by Australian scientists in 1964 to describe the smell of geosmin Paul Kelly has even written a song that is an ode to Petrichor!

Here Jamie Anderson and Steve Ford, our oats suppliers for Dirty Clean Food Oatmilk and our super tasty rolled oats, have been digging holes to see how the root development and soil structure is looking in their canola, beanola, oat and cover crop paddocks down in Williams. It's been a reasonably wet season in Williams this year, and the oats are doing quite well considering how much rain had fallen during August, when the ground was looking a  bit sticky. 

Some of the benefits of farming oats regeneratively and focusing on soil health include building carbon in the soil, and building root structure, which means that plants tend to be more resilient in wet conditions, and soil acts more like a sponge and is less prone to waterlogging.

As the weather is starting to warm up, the next time you’re in your garden give the soil a good sniff and see if you can smell that healthy earthy dirty goodness! 

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