Wooohooooo! We are no longer Excrementally Challenged, we have a source of manure!!!
If you've followed this blog from a year ago, you'll have been subjected at various points to laments about our hardpan soil, tenacious weed collection, and inaccessability to potential soil amendments...things like leaves, green manures/cover crops, wood chips, and livestock poop. We have no trees on our property, and last year was a drought year, so no real H2O to be percolating through the soil even if we could lure the friendly micro-bugs. But this year we had bountiful rains, and many things grew well. Even so, they need nourishment, more than they had without amendments.
That first year (last year), I used a few pots, a bunch of cardboard boxes and box tops, and a couple of experimental thingies such as milk crates lined with paper grocery bags. The only growing medium was potting soil on sale at the big box store, and the results ranged from good to spotty. The learning commenced.
This year, we made a decision not to grow seasonal produce and focused on experimenting with mostly trees and longer-maturing plants...to go ahead and give them a head start or figure out how hardy they were (or how immune to our bunglings!). Jack has done an admirable job of wooing sprouts from seeds we had no idea about...and he also collected used 5 gallon buckets to keep this little endeavor multiplying, until we topped 100 of them and still kept on going, whee!
Having him on board this year has made a huge difference! We've both learned a lot about what NOT to do with our soil as far as planting, at least in containers, and we're trying to slowly move that now to in-ground endeavors...slowly. It's been good we've both been involved in this now, not just one of us...we each have a lot of ideas, and don't need to be undoing the other's efforts out of overeagerness. We have a lot of conversations as we go, and we learn from each other, and it's worked a lot better this way. We're both convinced that the health of our plants, and ultimately the nutritiousness of our food, is crucially connected to the soil. Instead of seeing insects as pests, we see them as one of many inhabitants necessary to a thriving biodiversity, and we love our little invisible microbes just as much. We actually look forward to adding any veggie trimmings and other kitchen scraps into this mix, and think of it as feeding our unseen friends. (Yeah, ok...pass the tin hats, heehee!)
Over the course of time, Jack located a free source of wood chips, and he's been getting a couple bucketloads every few days as an amendment to our containers. Not so long ago, he chatted with a nearby horse boarder/trainer, and she agreed that whenever he'd like to drop a couple plastic buckets at her gate, she'd fill them whenever she mucked out the stalls. She mentioned they'd not known what to do with the overflow, and had so much that they had begun dumping the excess into their pond (Eeeek!!! oh man)
I sort of "mentioned" (read excitedly begged ) Jack to OFFER to TAKE IT OFF THEIR HANDS anytime they had such an excess, which he did mention, and that's sort of where it was left. We've enjoyed the buckets we get f rom them weekly and they've added a LOT of vigor to the plants and the compost pile.
Today Jack stopped by for the weekly drop-off, and met the other owner of the property, and they chatted. It seems that maybe the idea planted earlier may have come to fruition?? The owner asked if we'd like a TRAILER of the composted manure, and a time was set up for tomorrow for him to come dump it on our vacant lot next door.
OH YAY and DOUBLE YAYYYY!!!!!!!
Not sure how we'll get the trailer ONto the property, as it's a steep incline and ditch, but nevermind...we'll shovel to our little hearts' content wheelbarrowload by wheelbarrowload, if need be. And the COOLEST thing is that this may be the beginning of a LOT of regular deliveries of FREE HORSE POO....yayyyyyyy!!!!!!
So, if you're ever in this area, and you see a big mountain of horse flops, straw, and a couple in filthy clothes shoveling away with huge smiles on their faces, just wave at us. Just goes to show that one horse's poop is another man's organic garden!!