Thursday, February 09, 2006

No (uh) Manure

For years, I have been taking our horse manure, composting it and putting it directly onto our garden. Finally, the soil looks a bit crumbly, or at least the first inch. After that, you can make clay pots. But, I thought this top layer was like the richest dirt one could find. Yet, my garden didn't do so well last year.

As part of Lauren's biology lab, she was to take and test soil samples for nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium levels. I was sure my garden would rate high nitrogen with all that manure I've put on it. We ordered a test kits from Heirloom Seeds for $16.99.

Imagine my surprise that my garden hasn't any nitrogen at all, but high levels of phosphorus and potassium. Dh thinks that our problem is that the manure is mixed with a good deal of wood shavings, and he's probably right. The prescribed treatment is blood meal. Maybe I'll get more out of my garden this year. If you haven't checked out Heirloom Seeds, it is a cool catalog. I have read that a good many nurseries are working to make seeds infertile and/or make it illegal to save seeds (let them come and get me!) so that you have to buy seeds every year. Isn't that crazy? I love this catalog that helps preserve many varieties, which we all know is the spice of life.

Here I sit contemplating my garden and I've just received a weather alert by email that tomorrow night, we should expect 2 - 4 inches of snow.

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