Soil Building

patandchickens

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Hey Steve, I never said you shouldn't use green manures. All I said was that I think they're poorly suited to many home gardeners' needs (as opposed to those of farmers or market-garden operations).

You've moved wet manure out of a corral? At the end of a stick that some folks call a shovel? Then shovel it out of a pickup and move it around with a wheelbarrow? Oh Gosh!! Not only is it difficult to find and transport but it's difficult to move.
Well, the manure has to get shovelled out of a stall or corral anyhow, for horsekeeping reasons... ;) Me, I sure wouldn't try to transport it anywhere in its fresh state, though -- much easier to move around once it has dried and composted. Less weight, less bulk, less eeuw. Actually I hate horse manure for the garden anyway, unless it is from solely alfalfa hay fed (no grain) horses, as it has way too many weed seeds for me! I try rally hard to minimize the number of weeds that ever sprout in the first place, not gonna knowingly add seeds ;) Or if you compost it really big and hot I guess it'd be ok too, but I've never been able to do that w/ just 3 horses.

A lot of my time could be spent collecting compostables - honestly, I'd prefer to spend time and fuel hauling the cow manure instead but I simply cannot physically do that much material handling. Just can't.
If green manures work for you, that is GREAT -- I was just commenting on the larger picture.

Personally, I simply cannot physically do as much weeding as heavy use of any fertilizing amendment (but especially very weedy ones!) would require of me. Everyone has different tradeoffs they prefer. <shrug>

harvesting a crop is removing soil nutrients one way or another. And, one way or another, they need to be replaced.
All that green manure replaces is carbon, though, and in some cases some nitrogen. Not any other nutrients.

Oh, and dont be pulling your tomatoes at the end of July to plant a cover crop pull your gone-to-seed lettuce.
That would probably work better if the lettuce weren't interplanted between the feet of all the tomatoes, eh... ;)

Lots of different ways to run a veg garden, aren't there :D

Cheers,

Pat
 

digitS'

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Hey! You've got 3 hay-burners AT your gardensite?!? No fair!!!

digitS'
 

Reinbeau

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Horses are a straight shot through, so there's lots of weed seeds in their manure if they're pastured. That's why I prefer cow manure, they ruminate and grind up most of the seeds. It isn't weed free, but it's much less weedy than horse.

Manure is one of the reasons I want chickens - that and those luscious eggs, of course! :D
 

digitS'

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Not too much gets past or thru a chicken . . .

I've noticed bindweed where there was never bindweed before after applying cow manure. One of the reasons I like to compost the stuff first . . . just one of the reasons.

Steve
 

MarkR

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Lots of great ideas here. It just reminds me that this is as much an art as it is science. I might as well kick in my method. It takes a little planning. In the fall, when I know I'll want a new bed in the spring, I mark off the area and cover it with a thick layer of newspaper or coragated cardboard. I then cover it with about 6 inches of compost and straw. In the spring I turn it all into the soil. If I'm not in a hurry, I'll turn it with a fork, though I've been known to use my mantis tiller if I'm in a hurry.

Just as a side note, when I've brought in compost or manure from the outside, I invariably end up with bindweed and pigweed. I have a deep-seated hatred of both. So, I always compost everything I bring in for a month or two in my hot pile. It seems to kill off any seeds that might be left.

Mark
 

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