Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Manure Mania

Added Note: Horses are Arianna's thing right now. She was enthralled. She had a horse themed birthday and has been drawing them incessantly. So it was exciting to watch her watch and pet them. My favorite quote was: "Dad, dad, one of the horses heads is as big as my WHOLE body."

If one wants to improve one's soil it doesn't get much better than manure. Our soil needs extra attention. Science tells us that the Atlantic ocean used to break just where Columbia SC was built. We live in what is known as the sand hills. For all we know our yard used to be underwater or beach. And sand doesn't hold much water nor has there been millennia of heavy amounts of decomposing matter in our sandy yard. But we want to create conditions where our garden can thrive and need to do it for free. We are composting yard and food scraps, along with leaves and such. Jennifer has started the worm-compost (vermicompost) which is another step toward healthy soil. You also might have seen the large pile of wood chips we are composting for the same purpose. Today we added another element. POOP!

Jennifer spent some time calling around and found a stable outside of town which we visited today. Some research was needed to make sure the stable didn't use any inorganic materials to clean the stables. The folks at the stable were incredibly helpful and friendly-they seemed completely unaffected by the fact that we were stealing this black gold. In fact they welcomed it. A stable hand told us the horses poop 50 to 100 pounds a day. They shovel it up and redistribute it back onto their fields but told us we could come as much as we wanted. So, we plan on taking advantage of this opportunity. For comparison I think I remember that bags of mushroom compost cost around $4.50 a bag. We probably brought home 5 or 6 bags worth. And that is just the beginning.

Big corporations were bypassed, local relations were enhanced, no money was transacted, and we got some exercise without a gym membership. A win win for the Kruideniers. We are also becoming more aware of the life process which we think is really cool. And, we will remember the poo when we are carrying in baskets of food this summer. It's going to make growing food a much more successful project.

So, if your thinking about growing or looking for ways to enhance your growing get out the local phone directory and start calling your stable. Some of the best soil amendments are being pooped for free at a stable near you.

BEWARE-There is a bit of the evangelist in my blood. Read on at your own risk.
Growing our own food decentralizes power, builds local relations, gives citizens control over their sustenance, and keeps a knowledge of food production in the hands of those who need it (the eaters). To the degree that we lack control over our food we lack freedom. A decentralized food production system will be much harder to destroy in time of natural or human catastrophe. Local food production develops local breeds that work in local environments creating variety. Variation in turn creates statistically better chances of avoiding massive die-off from disease avoiding the risks associated with large corporate agri-mono-culture. Feel free to share your experiences and experiments with us.

1 comment:

Lesley and Jason said...

Right on Daniel. Well said. Jason and I garnered local free poop in Knoxville. Thanks for the reminder of taking advantage of the resources around us.

I like the idea of thinking of poo as I harvest my spinach....not as I am eating it though!