Tag Archives: Soil Health

Garden Amendments: When Manure Is Not 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. It does, if you get some actual manure. Manure does amazing things to our sandy soils.

In The Garden: More About Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are good for the soil. All summer long their vines and heart shaped leaves keep the soil covered. The mulch below the vines breaks down in cool comfort. The swelling potatoes gently move the soil repairing any compaction issues that existed before them. I find the soil below the potato vines to be black, well aggregated (lumpy) and loaded with worm castings. The weeds that are coming up around my transplants are easy to slip out of the soil where the potatoes were. The new crops are growing as if all of their soil needs are being met, and the soil is holding moisture much longer than the native soil.

Yellow Queen Palm Experiment

I have a very small Queen Palm or Cocos Plumosa in some of the whitest soil on my property. That poor palm has been yellow for as long as I can remember. Over the course of many years I have done very little for it. I am sure that at least once I have put