Thursday, July 16, 2015

Food and Soil Testing

The food we eat is only as GOOD as the SOIL it is growing in.

So here is a food / soil test:

Seeds have been planted in glass jars to watch what happens underground


#1 Radish seeds in layers made up of compost, straw, compost, wood sticks and wood bark and compost

#2  Radish seeds in 100% homemade compost

#3 Radish seeds in Native Clay soils

Teaching jars ... The 2 jars on the right side of photo

A. Native Clay Soils for viewing

B. Composting in a glass jar so you can see the different layers
From the bottom up:
Layer 1. Dry grass
Layer 2. Chopped wet greens
Layer 3. Top soil
Layer 4. Dry grass
Layer 5. Wood ash very small amount
Layer 6. Vegetable waste
Layer 7.  More top soil

Here is a photo of this test.  Results will be posted later:

Monday, May 18, 2015

The "MOZ" Bucket Garden with Sticks and Straw in the soil.

Here is a photo of a new way to grow more food.

It's called The "MOZ" Bucket Garden because it was developed in Mozambique, Africa in Sept. 2014

The soils in this 5 gallon bucket are divided into 5 different layers.
The very bottom of this bucket has 3 plastic water bottles placed flat in the bottom of the bucket with holes poked in them.  These water bottles function as a water reservoir allowing water to seep inside the empty water bottles and when the soils start to dry out, the water wicks or moves back out into the soils.
Lowest soil layer 3 inches of potting soil
Next layer 2 inches of dry wood sticks
Next layer another 3 inches of potting soil
Next layer 2 inches of straw
Top Layer 5 inches of homemade compost
These plants are only 60 days old and have reached a height of 4 feet measured from the top of the bucket. (Mustard Greens and Bok Choy)
We have been bucket gardening for 6 year but never had this much explosive plant grow as The "MOZ" bucket has produced.  There is a window cut in the side of this bucket which allows the viewing of the plant roots and to view what will happen to the wood sticks.  More tests to follow.   Any comments will be appreciated.  By the way, We just harvested this whole group of plants and drank them. Smoothies Galore. Yummy full of health

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Video of Organic Farming Teachings in Guatemala

I had the privilege of teaching hundreds of people in Guatemala through the Farmer-to-Farmer, Partners of the Americas, USAID volunteer program for 21 days.  I made this video that shows how beautiful this country is and how hard working the family farmers are.  I hope that by planting some seeds-of-change, using nature's natural organic ways, they will greatly benefit both in economics and in health.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

No Soil - No life

After a 3 week trip with CNFA's Farmers to Farmers program (USAID) in Mozambique, Africa.
Here is a article that I wrote.  This photo shows man-made fires in Africa

No Soil - No Life      (Healthy Land = Healthy Food = Healthy People)
By Wayne Burleson

Recently, I spent some time in Africa as a volunteer on two Farmer-to-Farmer (USAID ) assignments, each about 3 weeks in length.   One was in Malawi and the other took me across the central plains of Mozambique.   Riding along for the better part of a day in central Mozambique, somewhat bored watching the landscape go flying by.  I began to realize, no animals, in fact, as we approached the mountainous regions it became apparent there was no land use at all.  

This part of Africa is sparsely populated.  Miles and miles of just the African bush, made up of grass, shrubs and small trees.  A scattering of African farms, not anything like America farms, just a dispersion of small huts, a cooking area and grassed off outhouse (subsistence agriculture). It's as if you turned the calendar back several hundred years or even a thousand years.

Now I am supposed to be a judge of what healthy land looks like.  The bush country, for the most part was black, they burn it and they burn it often, apparently year after year, to the point that their soils are gone.  Now I am concerned.

We stopped in one area to relieve ourselves as African people do in Africa, then I got a real close look at the soil surface of the burned ground.  I became horrified - all the topsoil was gone.  I was standing on hard cement like erosion pavement.  The soil surface had become just a bunch of rocks.  What was left of a grass plant was the base stump, barely alive, sitting on a soil pedestal elevated above where the topsoil used to be. No soil, no life.

You see, it's some kind of tradition to burn all over Africa.  They burn everywhere, apparently for a variety of reasons, to clear the land so you can see into it or for hand planting of crops, (their small farm plots).  The point of writing this article is their future is in danger, plus a warning to all of us about burning.  

In many places in Africa, they have dry and wet seasons.  Mozambique's rainy season starts in November through February averaging somewhere around 10 inches a month, with 40 inches of water you can move a lot of uncovered soil.  Apparently, that is what is happening.

What can I do? What can they do?  What can we do?  No soil, no life.

Ah ha, no animals in the bush.  The hoof of a heavy animal is one of the missing ingredients leading to healthy soil.  Animals can and do make sheet compost when grazed in certain ways (such as mob stocking or a purpose-driven grazing system). 

Moreover, I am a compost evangelist.  A person going around the world, teaching people about the importance of how to grow healthy soil and eating healthy food that is growing in that healthy soil.  Even eating an animal that is grazing healthy plants growing in healthy soil gives you health.  After all, animals have an immune system too.

I have a hunch I'm on to something big.   Bigger than I can think.  Healthy soils = healthy food = healthy people.  If you burn, there goes all that soil enriching carbon into the air and not into the soil.
Our health begins with the stomach of a plant - the soil.  Soils dense with balanced diversity in it, gives us all what we need to stay healthy.

Hippocrates once said a couple of thousands of years ago, "Let food be thy medicine, and let thy medicine be food."  However, if you grow anything, even a blade of grass growing in poor soil, you are probably missing some needed elements.  Food that comes from unhealthy soil is not nutrient rich.  The bottom line is healthy foods fight diseases and helps prevent sickness.

What about all the soil missing in Africa?  Solution - Education.  Educating people why it is so important to stop burning and demonstrate to them how to make regenerative-use of what is already naturally growing there.  In other words show them how to grow soil not destroy soil.  In addition, teach them how to use animals to help rebuild all these missing soils.

Once I had the privileged to walk about on one of Africa's national parks, Akagera National Park in Rwanda, Africa.  It is full of all kinds of African wildlife; gazelles, zebra, giraffes, African buffalo, you get the picture.  These African plains were full of large grazing animals.  Under my feet it felt like I was standing on a sponge and I was. 

I dug down and found deep rich black soil teeming with life. We call this "Black Gold" compost under the dense mat of grazed grass.  Ahaa, this is the way soil should and could be made, nature's way of growing soil.  Apparently no man-made fires burn here.  Healthy soil =healthy life.

Vegetation can become a valuable resource, once stepped upon it makes compost.   Pile it up or spread it out, matted down this organic matter and it becomes compost.  This is the way we should grow soils on our farms and ranches.  By the way, beef and dairy cattle are similar to wildlife and can and do also make compost.

Meanwhile, back on the 'No Animal' empty bush lands of this part of Africa.  The question now becomes, how to get people to change their ways?  The biggest roadblock I see in all my travels is people's stagnant thinking.  "This is the way we have always done it."  Don't believe me?  Just try to change an elder or old-time farmer or rancher.  It's almost impossible.

As a good African friend of mine once told me while walking down a narrow crowded African street full of garbage, (no garbage pickup in this very densely populated neighborhood): "African people die from a lack of Knowledge".  This statement rings in my ears and has moved into my heart.

The conclusions to this story in not over.  As I fly home today, back to Montana, out my airline window the fires are still burning all over the place, with only a handful of livestock grazing on the land.  They need millions of ruminating animals back on these plains of African, managed in ways that regenerates life-giving soils.  Probably as it was when it was full of wildlife.  I'm still thinking about that profound statement - "People die from a lack of knowledge".  I hope you are too.

Wayne Burleson is retired, but very busy being a compost evangelist doing his best at planting seeds of change.  You may visit with Wayne at or read this article online at where he has posted photos of this African soil loss problem.  Please feel free to comment on the article.

Photo of lost soil caused by burning off the vegetation.  NO SOIL- NO LIFE

Monday, April 28, 2014

Wanded Little Green Thumbs

We have lunched The "Little Green Thumb Movement".
Why?  Our kids are our future!   However; we have a huge concern about their disconnection from the land.   Many only know that their food comes from a store.  In fact, they can not identify vegetables plants.  We tested this in Texas while teaching gardening in the schools and 90 percent of the kids could not name the vegetables we had planted in a portable bucket garden.

They say, if you want to influence people, do it while they are young, possible before the age of 9.  We want to reach 1 Million new green thumbs.  This photo shows a demonstration at a library.  Just look at  faces of the kid's and you can see and feel their excitement and enthusiasm. 

They made newspaper pots, filled them with soil and planted a seed.  This resulted in a hands-on take home
introduction to 'Gardening for Life'.  Along with laminate instructions on how to make "Super Soils" and the paper pots.  They also made plant labels from popsicle sticks and they got to wear green cloth thumbs. 

We received an e-mail from a boy who went home and made a wooden raised garden bed with cardboard on top of the soil (all instructions on page 48 of our book). Gardening for Life - No Money Required book available on Amazon at  
 The methods are working, would you like to join us and start clubs in your area?  Get on board and let's make a difference together. 

Please fill free to contact us at or call 406-328-6808 to schedule a Gardening for Life - Little Green Thumb session for your community.  This is a very important undertaking, we could sure use your help.

Friday, April 11, 2014


****  2-hour Food Gardening DVD $19.95 plus $2.00 S&H ****
Illustrated food growing book "Gardening for Life - No Money Required" $19.95 plus $3.00 S&H 
 Order both for only $35.00 and we will pay the S&H.

Order through our Email or phone 406-328-6808
You can also send the $ to our address and we will mail the book.
Wayne Burleson 332 N. Stillwater Rd.  Absarokee, Mt.  59001


News Flash on Upcoming Workshop


Gardening 4 Kids... Wanted "Little Green Thumbs"

Wayne and Connie Burleson - Gardening for Life

Where at?   Mother Earth News Fair  Puyallup, Washington  May 31 to June 1, 2014

Workshop Description
Join this demonstration of gardening tips for kids. Learn how to grow "Ninja Worms" using your own homemade "Worm Cafe." Make Self-Watering Bucket Gardens, Toilet Paper Pots, and receive a "Super Soil" Recipe. Kids are the future, so hook 'em early to grow their own health.

Speaker Bio
Wayne and Connie Burleson have traveled the world teaching food gardening. They have discovered and tested new ideas in their experimental gardens with astounding results. And they have presented their findings in hundreds of hands-on workshops across the United States and in eight Third World countries. Together, they produced a two-hour food gardening DVD. Wayne is a master gardener with a master’s degree in rangeland science.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

How to Grow Your Own Health

This poster says it ALL.  This year we will grow a garden that takes way less work - testing more new ideas.  Especially learning how easy it is to grow healthy food that makes you healthy.