Monthly Archives: August 2016

Garden Amendments: When Manure Is Not Manure

Composted Manure and Yes, I am A Hand Model

Composted Manure and Yes, I am A Hand Model

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Manure 3 Weeks Old

Manure 3 Weeks Old

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you go on Craig’s List you can find lots of listings for free manure. You go there with your truck and your fork or shovel and you load up the manure you want from the pile. That can be a very excellent vibe, you can work the part of the pile you want, fresh or older, and you have a load of manure for some driving, and some work.  I have done that. Sometimes the manure is great, sometimes it is gross, full of flies and stinking of urine, sometimes it is surrounded by a moat of muddy manure liquid you have to wade into to get on and off the pile, sometimes it is out underneath a stand of Brazilian Pepper trees, and full of dropped seeds, but it is free, and if you have a truck, and a place to put your load of manure to mellow, it will eventually work out for you.

I have also seen listings for manure delivered for $40 or $50, but you don’t know what you are going to get, and I suspect, the driver doesn’t care what you get. 

I was called into a local community garden to present the Lasagna Layer Garden workshop. There was a list of materials they would need to acquire ahead of the workshop, and manure was on the list. Several loads of “free manure” were delivered. What they got was a mixed pile of sand and manure. Whomever had loaded the manure onto the truck must have used a mechanical shovel of some sort, and had gone enough beneath or beside the pile to have brought up a bunch of native sand or fill. It was a terrible representation of manure, and we worked extra hard that day to avoid using the sand that came with the manure.

I attended a plant show recently where a local civic group was selling large bags of  “manure” for a small donation. I was given several bags that were left over. When I opened the bags I was stunned to find that what I had was a bag of sand. It bothered me to think of how many people got that bag of sand and thought that was manure, put it in their gardens, and got what effect?

It was at that point that I realized that I was severely undervaluing the excellent manure that I offer to my clients, and the ethic that I bring to supplying a product that really is what it should be. Just because it is shit doesn’t mean it doesn’t matter, and if you have gotten a lousy bag of sand instead of manure, you might think manuring a garden doesn’t work. Manure does amazing things to our sandy soils.

I offer my clients a load of manure delivered to their yard or garden for $160. I will take it anywhere on the property that my one ton truck can go. The volume is guaranteed to be at least 9 garbage cans full, and the quality of the manure is tops. The stable where I go to shovel manure uses an extremely fine cut kiln dried pine (nearly saw dust) for the stable bedding and that is what absorbs the urine and what the manure mixes with. When they muck the stables they put it outside under the sky where it sits quietly breaking down to make a lovely soil mix. When I go out to that pile for your load of manure I select the part of the pile that has had some time out there to interact with soil organisms and break down, and I fork your load myself. Most of the manure you get from me will have an odor more like soil than manure, you will not get sand in my delivery, and very few weed seeds.

If you don’t have your own truck, and you would like my truck load of excellent partially broken down manure for your gardens, the cost is $160 delivered to your St. Lucie County or southern Indian River County yard. Call 772 240 6695.

How We Roll

How We Roll

The Compost Gardener: I Am The Gardener You Hire To Tell You What To Do

“What does The Compost Gardener do?” I was recently asked on my newest Google internet listing. The closest two choices I had were Gardener, and Landscaper. Both are accurate, and neither are spot on. A friend asked me the same question and I had to consider what I do for people in their gardens that makes me a gardener for hire.

I think most gardeners hire themselves out to do the work their clients tell them to do, but I am the gardener you hire to tell you what should be done in your garden. Most of my clients want to incorporate edible crops into their gardens. They want to do this without using pesticides and bags of synthetic fertilizers. So, I come out with some of my favorite tools, some seeds, some plants, and if requested a load of composting manure, or mulch, hay and or straw, and I work side by side with my clients to teach them how to garden in a new and healthier way.

How do I know what to bring with me? Because I have been there once before for a Garden Consult. The Garden Consult is step one in my relationship with my clients, I come to their gardens to take a look. We talk about what is happening currently, how the client hopes the garden will develop, and we talk about how to make that happen. For some clients that is enough. They can go from there and do their own work. In that case step one, the Garden Consult, is the only service I may provide for that customer.

After the Garden Consult some clients who do not have a pick up truck hire me to delivery manure, mulch, hay and straw to their gardens. I do that too.

My long term clients hire me to come with various garden amendments, and I work with them in the garden until they are confident with the methods we employ to build their soils and manage their plants and harvests. One of my favorite clients, a long time gardener long before we met hired me to work beside him for nearly a year. It took him that long to believe he could do the things we were doing together by his lone, but he did, and he does great work in his gardens now without my help. It is one of my greatest successes that my clients don’t generally need me for long. It is the way I know that I am teaching simple and successful methods for long term garden management.

I am the gardener you hire when you need someone to tell you what’s next. Edible, sustainable, regenerative, clean and naturally delicious for Florida!

In The Garden

In The Garden

Layer Mound Workshop Gothic

Layer Mound Workshop Gothic