Ever since January 1st, I’ve had a fever.
Gardening fever, that is. Last week, my fever grew even stronger when my farmer friends delivered these to my doorstep:
Four big bags of cow poo! Just for me!
Don’t these cow patties make you want to stick a shovel in the ground?
My first instinct was to sprinkle these turds all over my garden plot, but since this will be my first garden here, I wanted to do things right! So after a little poo research, I discovered that composted manure is much more beneficial to plants than directly tossing cow patties over garden soil. In short, composted manure:
- Supplies nutrients to soil more efficiently
- Helps hold nutrients in the soil
- Conditions soil
To be honest, I have shied away from composting in the past because it seems so complicated. All that changed once I saw the quality of compost my friend Doug produces simply by tossing grass clippings in a hole and letting them decompose:
Equally beautiful compost was produced by another friend of mine after they let grass clippings and leaves sit in one of their garbage cans for a year! So whether you have a hole or a large tub, composting can be simple if you have some time to spare.
How To Compost the Simple Way
Step #1: In an area of your yard that is within reach of a hose, dig a 3×3-foot hole:
Sigh! I love having sandy soil. There’s no way I would have dug a hole this quickly in clay soil!
Step #2: Add organic material like grass clippings (no weeds, please), leaves and pine needles to the hole. You can even use kitchen scraps such as veggie scraps and eggshells. No meat, cooked, salted or oily foods, though!
Step #3: Add a single layer of cow patties
I [violently] broke mine up with a spade to speed up the process. Needless to say, some pieces of sh** were more stubborn than others. 😉
Step #4: Repeat this process for as many layers as you have poo and other organic material, making sure the final layer is a thick one of leaves or pine needles.
Step #5: Water the hole deeply and then once a week or so following.
I had some rainwater on hand so I poured that in.
Time and nature will begin to break down the contents of the compost hole. If you want to speed up the process, you will need to water twice a week and turn the contents of your compost hole weekly. But if you want to build up a good pile of compost for next year, follow the steps above and then sit back and let nature take its course!
Don’t let time discourage you! This process will all be worth it come growing season. Here are just a few reasons why every gardener NEEDS compost:
- It improves soil structure, porosity, and density, thus creating a better plant root environment.
- It improves water-holding capacity, thus reducing water loss and leaching in sandy soils.
- It supplies a variety of macro and micronutrients.
- It may control or suppress certain soil-borne plant pathogens.
- It improves and stabilizes soil pH (very important if you prefer sweet cucumbers to bitter cucumbers!)
I guess you could say one man’s manure is another man’s buried treasure!