Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Pooh Day!

So, today was the day the Manure delivery came.  Maybe you dont get excited about manure, but I sure do.

Is that a beautiful sight or what?

So, is manure better than fertilizer?   Think about it.
The fertilizer that you buy atthe garden center contains the three major soil nutrients-nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, in exactly the right percentages.  Convenient to use and measure, commercial fertilizers make it easy to know exactly what you are adding to the soil.  And they WILL work.   Something like miracle-gro will definitely improve the growth of your flowers or veggies. For a time, anyway...

BUT, and this is a huge BUT...commercial fertilizers are dead chemicals.   They are akin to downing an extra strong cup of espresso... sure, it will give you a jolt of energy for awhile, but it doesn't really provide any real  FOOD, and, eventually, there is a crash.
Soil is a living thing... it contains fungi, bacteria, tiny insects, earthworms, and many more forms of life.. all of these things are not separate.. together they form a web of life that interacts, forming a synergistic effect where the whole is greater than it's parts.We don't even know all the reactions that take place between these elements that help enrich and grow the life in the soil, and thus the food we plant in it..Chemical fertilizers dont feed the life that is in the soil. And not only that, but the heavy metals and salts that go into fertilizers will actually damage the soil eventually, requiring more and more to accomplish less and less.  And growing soil is what we must do if we want to grow food.
The soil is the thing. The soil produces the nutrients, and environment for life to grow.


There, did I get my point across?

Manure, on the other hand, is full of life.  Just as our own gut is full of beneficial bacteria that help digest our food, regulate our immune system, and keep us healthy,- manure is full of these beneficial bacteria from the digestive systems of the animals that excreted it.  Not only that, but manure adds other organic matter that conditions the soil, allowing it to hold on to water more efficiently, keeps it fluffy and aerated, and attracts other beneficial organisms like earthworms.  The fungal micorrhizae that occur in healthy soil work with the roots of the plants to help that plant process the nutrients.  If you have ever picked up a handful of compost or  cleaned out your flower beds in the spring after a deep layer of leaves has begun to rot, you may have seen a fine network of white hair-like roots.... those are the micorrhizae.  They are critical for healthy soil.

Manure is not the only natural or organic material that will improve soil life.  Cover crops, compost, any kind of mulch like leaves or straw or grass clippings - all these things can play a part in improving the life - and the nutrient content- in your soil.All of them feed the life that is in the soil. I hope to use all of these things.  

Ok, I will get off my soapbox about using natural soil amendments, instead of chemical ones...

After the manure delivery came, I went to get MORE of the stuff from my friend's barn. She raises alpacas.  Of course, you want to see them. I think they are a hoot.
"Don't hate me because I'm beautiful"

Did somebody say "treat"?
I opened the door for the chicks to go outside today, while I was working right there in the garden. A few of them dared to brave the wild outdoors, but then became convinced they were all alone in the whole world, and darted back to the safety of the chick greenhouse.  This is about as far as any of them went. 

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