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

Deep bedding in the vegetable garden

Mulching with deep beddingBoth Cornish Cross and ducks shocked me this year with their copious manure production. I was used to heirloom hens, whose poop is pretty easy to sop up with a minimum of straw or tree leaves, but I ended up using at least twice as much deep-bedding material for 2014's more poopy poultry.

Which is now a huge plus since I have extra deep bedding to use in the garden! In years past, I've applied deep bedding as a mulch around our perennials, but the high-nitrogen manure makes the straw and/or leaves break down pretty quickly once the combination hits damp ground. So this year I decided to instead treat the bedding mixture as fertilizer for annual garden beds. I figure that if I apply it to bare ground now, the bedding will be well composted by the time I insert tomatoes in the middle of May.

As a side note, 1.67 inches of rain in the last week has been enough to push us back over the edge into wet. You can see that my extra-deep raised beds are a necessity in this part of the garden since the groundwater is sitting at what used to be the soil surface. With the help of my new mounds, though, there is now about a foot of "dry" soil on top of the waterlogged ground. I may use ditching and piping to move some of that excess water to a wet-weather pond, but that's an experiment for another day.

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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 was wondering if you had a copy of that book. I have one, and if you are interested, I'd be more than happy to send it to you. It was printed in 1976 and basically discusses what he calls 18th Century "High Farming". It's excellent.
Comment by Nayan Wed Dec 31 12:05:52 2014
Nayan --- Thanks for the offer, but I actually already have a copy. Or, rather, I have his The Self-Sufficient Life and How to Live It, which I think might be the next generation of that book. I haven't reviewed it on the blog because I haven't read it all, but I do dip into it occassionally, especially when I'm thinking of branching out in a new direction.
Comment by anna Wed Dec 31 19:01:31 2014

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