The Pleasures of Manure

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Composted cow manure can be a good fertilizer to give your garden help.

I know gardeners who fertilize regularly to great results. They spray on these fertilizers with gusto every two weeks. I have not been. I have the thought that if my soil is healthy, then the plants will flourish. Adding the lava sand was one step taken; adding compost that I had made was another. Taking a cue from walking through the aboreteum, I felt that creating a forest floor can produce a wonderful environment for plant growth.

    Having organic fertilizers can be healthier for your family. Typically, you can harvest a vegetable sooner after applying an organic than many inorganics.A chemicals a chemical in the end, and I worry about my little girls. They are picking leaves to munch on all of the time. I am less concerned if they ingest fish meal, but still I want to avoid any issues. My other issue was the application schedule. Do I want to spend the money and time to be fertilizing each two weeks? Well, the cost is not so bad, and the time is the same as if I watered, so this is not such a big factor.
    Still, I want a more natural method that will not cause problems for the little ones. Being a lover of walking through forests, I like to take my stroll through the Houston Aboreteum every so often (by the way, they do have great programs for children). While looking down to see which insects we could spot, I examined the dirt. It is not always the richest everywhere; however, you have a system of that is creating its own compost. Leaves and other plant material is dropping onto the dirt, where it is worked on by various animals. Insects do a great deal, but you have larger animals doing their part. The entire system works together for mutual benefit.
   This observation made me ponder my own garden. As for plant matter covering the beds, I had enough from my own prunings. Insects and earthworms abound, so I do not need much to encourage them. I am left with imitating the action of the larger animals. That is where the composted cow manure comes into play. Using the manure of a plant eating animal is better for the plants (manure from meat eating animals needs to be composted appropriately to rid it of diseases). I bought several bags of composted manure, and spent a half hour spreading it around the garden beds. With little time available, I did not work the manure into the soil. The rain later in the day did mix it in a bit though. The rain also washed any droppings from the plants. Now, I am not worried about my daughters.
  I still have compost piles behind bushes, but I am wondering if could move away from compost piles. Could I take kitchen scraps and place them directly into a garden bed?   Would this imitate fruit falling to the ground? This would cause more nuisance insects to be in the garden, so there is a downside of throwing the banana peel down onto the surface of the dirt. I am experimenting with one bed. I do not leave my kitchen scraps uncovered, but I am placing them in the bed covered with grass or other leaves. I only started this process recently, so I am monitoring the health of the plants. Nothing out of the normal at this time.  The soil seems healthy. There has not been any noticeable difference between the beds, so I may start this practice with other beds next year.
    I will admit that this method may not cause large production of vegetables. I have seen those applying fertilizers obtaining better results. I consider the the balance between health and amount of produce, and I am happy with what I have.

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This site came out of my desire to write about my love of gardening, but also to connect it to my knowledge derived from home inspections. That is why I tied it to the home inspection site.If you have questions, you can email them to me (frank at For home inspections, call 713.781.6090.
Happy gardening, Frank


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