Friday, July 09, 2010

what a load of $#*&

My garden soil is more of a sick shade of gray than a rich black due to a lack of organic material. The fields have been hayed for as long as anyone can remember so all the nutrients have been taken out over the years, with nothing done to improve it. The area is so large that the small amount of compost that I produced didn't make a difference in fertility, so last fall I covered all three beds with a deep layer of spoiled hay and Tim tilled it all in this spring. This year I am determined to raise the quality of the soil as much as possible for future garden harvests. My ultimate goal is dirt that looks like chocolate cake, teeming with earthworms, and able to produce veggies so tasty that even my children will say, "Yum!"

Yesterday after I ran 4 miles I took a quick shower and headed up the road to the riding instructor's barn for a little nitrogen boost for my compost piles. I backed the truck right up to her manure pile and pitched it half full of wood shavings and not-too-smelly horse poop. After supper, while Will watched Julia Ellen, I shoveled it right out and then thoroughly rinsed out the truck bed. Tim doesn't like any of his possessions dirty and would not have been pleased if he had seen the pile of excrement, but my rationale is that the truck is 15 years old and we did deem it a farm truck. One day we will be hauling live animals in it, so this exercise is just a little foreshadowing of what will come. Yes, I will wash it out with soap and make it clean enough to sleep in, 'cause I might be staying in it once my husband finds out what I did.


Foxfier, formerly Sailorette said...

Horse poo isn't incredibly good, especially when it hasn't been composted, but it beats the heck out of nothing. You might consider buying some steer poo at a box store this fall or next spring-- use it the same as the hay you used. (You can usually rent a manure spreader, too.)

I've never heard of folks haying and not cycling the crops in this day and age! Plants in the bean and pea family are good to help improve the soil, if you want to up-keep it....

Come to think of it, you may have chosen the best option in looking for the "not too smelly" horse leavings from the pile-- my mom's finished bull piles don't stink. (Three year cycle, I seem to remember.)

On the kids saying "yum" part- my mom did a great job there by planting a snack garden. Sweetcorn, baby tomatoes, sugar snap peas, small and sweet types of carrots, radishes, and some green bean that I can't remember the name of... all of her children love their veggies, now. ^.^

Karen said...

The soil here in Kansas is practically BLACK it's so rich. I cannot wait til we can buy a house and I can plant a garden!