Monday, January 16, 2012
The Merits of Manure
This is a good time to make friends with a farmer who has fed his cattle in a barn. Gardeners know the merits of natural fertilizer, and manure that has been trampled and mixed with a little finely chopped hay is the very best for application on the garden. It has undergone a natural decomposition process which reduces the heat and therefore it will not burn the plants.
This kind of processed manure is unavailable to many city people who must go to the nursery and actually pay for it. For those of us lucky enough to live rurally finding a supply is as simple as taking a short drive, looking for a barn, then offering to clean it out for free; most farmers are very happy for such an offer and willing to oblige. A thin layer of manure applied now will provide a multitude of benefits later.
If your farmer has horses you are in luck for it is the very best... the spectacular Rose Gardens at Belmont are a testament to its value. However beware of chicken manure for it is too high in nitrogen and will actually fry everything unless it is three to four years old and properly 'broken down'. And although sheep manure is excellent, the intense odor is practically unimaginable... neighbors miles away will know what you have done!
Let your application rest over the winter and then work it into the soil in the early spring. Robust, healthy, well-nourished plants have a natural resistance to both disease and pests. The colors will intensify beautifully with the addition of this vital ingredient which is the equivalent of a vitamin tonic for the garden.
The ashes from the fireplace should also be sprinkled on the garden as well; they are a valuable source of potash, a necessity for a healthy garden.
My friend Annie Haven sells organic Moo-Poo... Check out her page at