Shitty news

tomatoseedlingDon’t worry. Everything is fine here! Although I did want to get your attention, I was also being honest about today’s topic: getting your garden soil ready for planting your crops!

Manure is an excellent addition to garden soil because it provides abundant amounts of the three main chemicals your plants need: Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium. Nitrogen is especially helpful for helping heavy feeding plants such as tomatoes to thrive. It also is valuable since it helps soil  to hold moisture and promotes easier and healthier root growth. That said, too much nitrogen can limit the amount of fruit your plants bear so long term organic farmers like David Cohlmeyer of Cookstown Greens rarely add manure to their soil as long as they keep up with their composting.

If you add manure to your garden, it’s ideal to have worked it into your soil in the autumn. You can still add it this spring but the manure absolutely must be well-decomposed (or well-rotted). Fresh and semi-decomposed manure is very “hot” and can damage your plants since it contains too much nitrogen (think about those yellow spots cats and dogs leave on the lawn and you’ll be able to imagine what will happen in your garden if you use undecomposed manure).

There is an unbelievable amount of information available about what kind of manure is best for gardens but the most concise guidance I’ve found comes from the Old Farmer’s Almanac which recommends chicken, cow or horse manure for vegetable gardens or cow and horse manure for flower gardens.

For more basic info about soil in general, check out this detailed article that The Pioneer Woman posted earlier this week.

Will you prepare your soil with compost, fertilizer, manure or any other additives before you do your spring planting?


15 Responses to Shitty news

  1. Beth says:

    My neighbour uses manure on his garden and the smell is so awful that I just can’t even think about using it in my own garden. I’m a Miracle Grow girl. There I said it – it’s not organic and fashionable but it sure works!

  2. Barb says:

    I usually put something in. My soil has a lot of clay and gets hard as a rock. I do mulch it often but, believe me, it needs more!

  3. danamccauley says:

    Clay is every gardener’s worst nightmare!

    Beth, I think Miracle Grow has an organic product out now. Maybe you should try it?

  4. Diva says:

    I really did laugh out loud at this title. Thanks for the morning chuckle, Dana!

    Not a gardener, but I do know that my bro uses chicken manure in his vegetable garden each year. He does add it in the fall, so the soil will be well prepped by seeding time.

  5. danamccauley says:

    Always glad to entertain and educate!

  6. cheryl says:

    Dana, I’m going to wash your mouth out with soap and water. For shame!

    I’m excited to read everyone else’s responses but I’m afraid that given my limited gardening space I don’t have much to offer to the discussion.

  7. Spent Mushroom Substrate is a great product to put on lawns and in gardens. It contains the right amount of nutrients that you garden needs (nitrogen, carbon, phosphorus, etc) and can hold up to 70% of its own weight in water, perfect for dry summer months. Most of the time Mushroom Farmers are looking to get rid of this mushroom growing product, so if you show up at the farm with a truck and a shovel they will often give it to you for free!

  8. danamccauley says:

    Seriously? There’s a mushroom farm in King City, not far from where I live. I’m going to take some heavy duty bags and go over there this weekend.

    Great tip!

  9. Your title made me laugh out loud!

    I’m actually going to plant a vegetable garden this year for the first time since childhood. I have no idea how I’ll fertilize it but you’ve just given me an excuse to say “shit” a lot this summer.

  10. danamccauley says:

    Isn’t it fun to have a reason to swear? If we start keeping chickens and a rooster then we can say ‘cock’ a lot, too!

  11. lyndsay says:

    heehee! love the post title. thank you for visiting my blog! that would be awesome!! all the best! 🙂

  12. Dana, be careful. I have two cats… 🙂

  13. danamccauley says:

    ha! I literally laughed out loud Char!

  14. Thorned says:

    I actually just finished planting my new raised beds a matter of minutes ago. As far as what I’m using, I’ve tried cow manure and mushroom compost when I was in Agriculture school however, last year we started composting our lawn clippings with last years leaf drop. I had enough finished toward the end of lawn seaon last year to plant a few pots of pansies and cold season greens. They did fantastically! Performed atleast twice as well as the mushroom compost or cow manure plantings last spring. This year I had enough compost to fill my two boxes (went raised finally after giving up changing my red clay ground to anything decent for growing) so I expect this to be a wonderful season.

  15. danamccauley says:

    Thorned – thanks for sharing your experience! Sounds like you have lots of experience that the rest of us can use to our benefit!

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