Get Ready to Soil Your Undies

Soil Underwear Activity for Gardening and Farming

There’s a movement that’s been taking root over the past few years called the Soil My Undies challenge. (Don’t worry, things aren’t about to get gross.) The challenge is actually about testing your soil’s health by burying underwear. 

Here’s how it works:

  • Get a pair of white, 100-percent cotton underwear (a new pair only, please!) and bury them in your garden, yard or farm — a few inches below the surface should do the trick.
  • Mark the spot with a flag or post, so you can easily find them in a couple months.
  • Go about your normal routine for 8 to 12 weeks.
  • When your time’s up, dig up your underwear and see what those pristine tighty whities (or boxers, all kinds are welcome here!) look like.

Don’t get your knickers in a twist if they come out looking the worse for wear. The more soiled your undies are, the healthier your soil is! 

That’s right, there’s a lesson buried here (along with your undies). That lesson is what’s really happening below the surface in a garden or farm. Healthy soil is full of tiny organisms like bacteria, fungi and earthworms. Together, they eat their way through the soil, decomposing matter and building up nutrients along the way. As all those critters, microscopic and larger, munch their way through the dirt, they’ll also munch on your undies. The more critters, the more soiled your undies will be.

Having trouble picturing it? Check out this great before-and-after from a farm family in Minnesota. As you can see, they had fun trying the challenge in different fields. It’s like a time capsule for gardeners and farmers — a little patience yields a fun surprise at the end of the season!

Although the challenge isn’t formally happening for an event this year, there’s no reason to pass up burying your underwear. So, take the challenge to see how healthy your soil is. At the end, air your dirty laundry for all the world to see by using #SoilMyUndies on social media!

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