Wednesday, September 4, 2013


I've been a little less than thrilled with the amount of produce coming from the gardens this year. Let me restate that. Given the input of time from me and the plants generated, I'm a little disappointed with what we've been getting out of the gardens. Not just compared with past years, or others' gardens, but with things like the amount of potato weight out from potato weight in, the pitiful vine growth on the squash & cucumbers initially in the old garden compared with those in the new one. These 2 big flags, and any number of little ones, have pretty much told me that I need to add more fertilizer to the old garden this year than I have been in past years.

I've added a couple of wheelbarrows-full of chicken manure each fall, but this fall I'm going to aim to do a bit more. I've already dumped 2 wheelbarrows-full of chicken manure in the old garden this past weekend, from cleaning out the coop. With the digging of the last of the potatoes I had enough room for a huge pile, so I finally got that chore checked off my list. But to add more than just those 2 loads means either bringing down some dirt from the chicken's outside run, using some pig manure, or bringing some manure in from off the property.

The chicken's outside run has only been in this location since the spring when we moved the coop & created the new side garden. I'm really not sure how much good stuff that dirt contains, since it was pretty barren before it became their outside run. And even if it were great, there are so many little rocks in that soil that I would really hate to add it to the old garden, which is fairly free of hoe-breaking pebbles! The dirt from the chicken's old run, which had been used for almost 2 full years, was great for the new garden this spring though, so I am going to plan on using the new dirt in the gardens next fall perhaps, once it has had more time to accumulate the good stuff.

There are 2 pig manure options right now. The old spot got somewhat dug up by my husband and moved to the new garden this spring, but there is still a lot of dirt there that should be pretty good. However it is a barren weed-filled wasteland right now, not having had any water or attention since the spring when he removed about half of the top layer of pig poo & dirt. 

The other pig option is the inner pen of the current pig area, which has a fair amount of poo given the two pigs this year, but its pretty fresh, and it might be rocky. Also, that is future garden space, hopefully for next year as long as we get our fencing acts together, so I would hate to be doing a 'rob peter to pay paul' with that, especially since the main poo and mucked up area is going to be in this coming spring's garden expansion.

The third option, bringing some manure in from off the property, is really not appealing, as I like to move towards self-sustainability - not away, and generating our own compost/manure is something that we really should be able to do. So this leaves me with the pig manure in the old spot perhaps slightly topped up with the new area if needed.

 In the future, I hope to be working on our own compost bins and compost piles in addition to the manure generated from mucking out the animals' pens, however the grass/manure-dirt pile you see in the background of the above shot was just started this past couple months, so no useable compost yet. Also, I think I need to have the piles in a spot that gets at least a bit of sprinkler-water, as it is so dry here that I think it impedes the compost breakdown. Definitely something to put on my winter goals list - learning more about compost building! We generate a fair amount of green matter due to the extensive fields my husband has been working on for game animals and future pasture animals, so having a great compost heap should be completely feasible for us.

 Well, there you have it, the state of our poo :) I hope you are all enjoying the start of the Fall. Upcoming we've got entirely too many hunting trips, family visits, and harvesting tasks to reasonably fit into the month ahead. However, I'm sure we'll manage to make it through, although I'm sure blog posting will fall a bit by the wayside, as it does every September! Happy harvesting to you, and if you are a hunter, happy hunting!

1 comment:

  1. Such a dilemma! Who ever thought there was so much to think about concerning poop, huh? ;0)

    Hope you will be able to check in this busy month.


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