From beach sand to soil – compost makes money for Tri-W Farm

Wayne and Daniel Wilson

Wayne (L) and Daniel Wilson

Tri-W Farm, a family farming operation in Sampson County, N.C., grows beautiful crops of cucumbers, eggplant, cabbage, squash, peppers, field corn and soybeans in compost-amended soil.  But picture-perfect produce is not the reason the Wilsons use compost.

The 350-acre farm, handed down from the late Houston Wilson to his son, Daniel, and on to his sons, Tony and Wayne  (Wayne’s son, Aaron, is the fourth generation of Wilsons to work the land), doesn’t have soil — it has 350 acres of sand.

“God got lost and dropped a whole bunch of beach sand,” Wayne joked when describing their soil.  “Beach sand has absolutely no organic matter.”  As a result, the Wilsons have been using McGill AG compost for a number of years to make their soil productive.

“The organic matter compost provides is priceless,” he explained.  “Produce like peppers, squash and cucumbers contain a lot of water.  When you till them in, there is no organic matter to break down in the soil.  Compost not only provides the organic matter, but also adds nutrients to sandy soil.”

Does using compost save them money?

“No,” he admitted.  “It makes me money!”

CONTRIBUTOR:  Ruth King, McGill-Delway compost sales

P.S. from Ruthie:  On one of my trips to Tri-W,  they filled a basket for me with big, plump sandwich tomatoes and beautiful, firm peppers for stuffing.  I can attest to the flavor — they taste great!