The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Manuring the garden

Using up the manure pile

Spreading manure on the gardenThe truck, wheelbarrow, and shovel got a real workout yesterday, with me and Mark using them in shifts.  First, I unloaded the rest of the manure on top of half a truckload of imperfect chicken compost so that Mark could drive out to get gravel while the ground was still frozen.  All morning, I spread manure in the mule garden, focussing on the beds that we'll be planting in February and March.  Mark got home just as I was finishing up and took the wheelbarrow out to work on the driveway.  I estimate we each moved about the same volume of material, which means he probably worked about three times as hard as I did.

In the past, I've been extremely frugal with compost and manure, but now that we have a better supply (and a truck to haul it with), I'm adding a solid inch to each garden bed, the amount recommended by soil builders.  Being so profligate with manure, though, means that even Mark's huge compost pile may not be enough.  I figure I need about six more truckloads (14.4 cubic yards) to treat the whole garden, orchard, and berry patch right.  It feels like a very ambitious plan, but I suspect that after a year or two of heavy manuring, we'll be able to keep fewer beds in production and cycle some through low-work cover crops.  My new goal --- the same amount of high quality food with less work.

Our homemade chicken waterer is the perfect way to keep a broody hen hydrated right on the nest.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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I envy you guys, we still have blowing and drifting snow here in NE Ohio.
Comment by zimmy Tue Feb 8 18:27:42 2011
It snowed again this morning, but we seem to have broken the back of winter here. The white stuff was all melted by lunch time. I would send some of the good weather your way, but I'd like to keep it, actually. :-)
Comment by anna Tue Feb 8 20:08:10 2011

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