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OLWC’s 2024 “Soil Your Undies” Challenge!

What’s an easy way to learn about your soil’s health?  Bury a pair of cotton undies, provided by the Oswego Lake Watershed Council.

In recent years, soil educators and researchers have been emphasizing  soil is a living ecosystem. Not just a large accumulation of dirt particles, not just a chemical sponge, or a temporary holding tank for nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.  As you stand in your garden, you are standing on trillions of living creatures, most invisible to the human eye. However, sometimes it’s hard to believe these incredible truths until you see it in action…

Introducing a pair of cotton underwear! Bear with us….

Farmers in Oregon began burying pairs of cotton undies with elastic waistbands in their agricultural fields and would dig them up after 60 days. Why? Cotton is a food source that those microorganisms love to feast on, and the healthier and active the living organism community is in your dirt, the more decomposed those undies will appear after being left for two months!

Try out this science experiment with us in your own backyard! We’ll provide the materials (undies, flag markers), all you need to do is bury them and show us what happens in two months after digging them up!  Join OLWC’s “Soil Your Undies” challenge and put your soil to the test! We’ll bury undies at the end of April and have a celebration “reveal” event in July after we’ve all dug up the undies. Contribute to a long-term community science study of Lake Oswego’s soil health already made up of nearly a hundred of former participants.

Undies Pick Up will be Saturday, April 20 from 10 am – 1 pm as part of the Lake Oswego Sustainability Fair at Lakeridge Middle School .

Pre-registration is appreciated but not required.

Undies Pick-up Site:

Soil Your Undies with OLWC - Spring 2024
Family preparing to bury undies in the "Soil Your Undies" campaign
Woman burying undies in her garden
Young woman looking at undies that were buried for 2 months.