Laying It Down

I finished mucking out the last of the barn stalls today, well ahead of my usual pace. It’s a nice job for a cool breezy day, rather than a hot muggy one.

We’re prepping for our summer gardens now, which we hope to be able to plant in a few weeks.

The bedding from the stalls, along with leaves, manure, kitchen scraps, grass clippings and just about anything else that rots, goes into our compost pile and, much later, onto our gardens.

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Our rapidly diminishing compost pile. Ain’t it purty?

Because we grew late fall crops in this garden (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, etc.) the compost is going directly onto the tilled rows.

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We’ll be planting sweet corn and okra in this garden in a few weeks

Other gardens have cover crops growing on them. I spread the compost onto the cover crop and will till it all in (the cover crop is often called “green manure”) when the ground is a little drier.

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Green manure

There’s so much life in the compost, I feel guilty when I till it.

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Thanks to cover cropping and compost, we can maintain healthy well-nourished soil without having to use synthetic fertilizers.

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8 comments on “Laying It Down

  1. Allison says:

    That is some good looking compost there. When we lived just outside of Washington DC in the 60’s, my Mom had a huge compost pile in the back yard. The neighbors thought she was odd until they watched how well her plants did with it.

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  2. Dearest Bill,
    That looks perfect and one would almost want to grow into such rich soil!
    Yes, by tilling you might cut up some of the worms but with such great conditions they will rapidly multiply again!
    Happy weekend and enjoy this great work.
    Mariette

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    • Bill says:

      Thanks Mariette. I feel badly for the worms, but there are millions of other organisms in that soil too. Some of them will be pleased to have some chopped up worms and of course the worms will return quickly. Someday I hope to rely mostly on no-till practices. That will be even better!

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  3. Feeding the soil to feed us!

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  4. NebraskaDave says:

    Bill, the beds are prepared with care but the rains did not come. Dryer and dryer they become as we inch forward into April without much prediction of rain. I’m hoping the cycle will break soon and those April showers will indeed bring the May flowers. Worms are up here and the Robins are feasting. So whether you destroy a few worms by tilling or a few get eaten in my hand turning the soil, it’s the balance of life.

    Have a laying it down day

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    • Bill says:

      It’s been too dry here too. I’ve been irrigating. I can’t recall ever doing that in the spring before. I’m trying to avoid laying out our drip lines because I’ll have to take them all up before summer planting in a few weeks and I don’t want to have to do it all twice. I hope we both get the rain we need.

      Meanwhile we had a hard freeze here last night. Very unusual. And we had temps in the 70s and 80s just a couple of weeks ago. I imagine the plants are very confused. We covered most of the lettuce so hopefully it survived. Now it looks like temps will be going back to normal, so hopefully (especially if we can get some rain) we’ll get back on track.

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