Monday, April 18, 2011

Gardening: How to prep your soil with farm fresh fertilizer

Guest Post By Leah of The Real Farmwives of America and Friends and Beyer Beware.

With the warm weather we have been experiencing in Indiana, you can’t help but want to be outside playing in the dirt. At our house, that is exactly what we have been doing. After I convinced my husband to build me raised beds for our vegetable garden this year, we had to do a fast track to soil prep. Luckily, we still have about 15 dairy heifers at the farm still that provided just what our soil needed. Organic matter and nutrients.

Nothing is better than fresh cow manure for your garden. I know I am a bit biased. We brought over a skid loader scoop full and layered the top soil and manure together.

We let it settle for a week and then hit with our tiller to get all the organic matter incorporated into the top soil. There were quite a few red worms in the manure as well which really helped get the coil aeration going as well.

Now, we are going to wait for the soil to settle another week before planting our spring plants. One thing I feel I have to mention. I am a firm believer of using organic matter and fertilizer that we get from livestock; however I am not going to plant an organic garden. By mid-summer my veggies will be covered with various pests from bugs to worms to disease. Trust me, Sevin Dust will find its way to my plants. I will win the battle over the pest.

As you can see I have some extra top soil and manure left after I filled up my raised beds. No fear though, I have flower boxes to fill later this spring. I just piled up the soil and manure by my compost box.

Do you remember your grandparents or parents having compost piles on the side of the barn when you were little. I always remember seeing lots of grapefruit rinds and eggs shells in my grandparent’s compost pile. Well, mine currently looks like this:

Oranges and egg shells sprinkled with kitty litter and the remnants of last summer’s potted flowers. This is going to be some divine potting soil in the very near future when I get the manure and top soil mixed in with it. Throw in some red worms to speed up the break down cycle and you have happy flowers mid-summer.

Now, the tough question, what to plant???

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