Health > Gardening

No Manure Gardening

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colporteur:
Some of my brethren here may know Bob Gregory. He lives in WV and teaches classes there. When we stopped there to check out his set up he had just returned from teaching gardening classes at Hartland. He goes with organic non GMO gardening with no manure.  His crops are so lush and sturdy. He had a few sunflowers and one was tempted to try to climb them. I have never seen such plants. When plants are this healthy and productive you do not need a large garden. He sells his produce at small farmer's markets and though his gardens are not large, maybe an acre totaled together the production is high. He has metal pipe green houses as well. They looked to be about 14 x 30 feet in dimension and run $750. This includes greenhouse grade plastic that lasts up to 7 years. Bob farms with a low budget. He had a red rose bush in in one greenhouse that was incredible. It was in full bloom and 5 ft tall and the same in width. Now it is not only important to go non GMO organic gardening but we must have a healthy buffer from other gardeners and farmers. The GMO can infect your garden and render your seeds as useless.

Larry Lyons:
I am lucky to have found a supplier who sells soil mixes that they make themselves. Today I bought a yard of 50% screened soil, 25% compost (they make themselves) and 25% cow manure they get from a local organic dairy. There are a few dairys that are organic and do not use the usual pharmacological boosters to maximize production, but there are probably very few.

colporteur:

--- Quote from: Larry Lyons on June 16, 2011, 10:01:33 PM ---I am lucky to have found a supplier who sells soil mixes that they make themselves. Today I bought a yard of 50% screened soil, 25% compost (they make themselves) and 25% cow manure they get from a local organic dairy. There are a few dairys that are organic and do not use the usual pharmacological boosters to maximize production, but there are probably very few.

--- End quote ---

That sounds like a good combination. I still use some horse manure but realize that there is some risk in manure even under the best of circumstances. It seems like the standards even with organics is slipping.

T James:
This is an interesting discussion that's getting started.  I'm used to gardening in the midwest but just moved to eastern Maryland and didn't have much sunny space in my yard to put a garden, so I'm renting a plot (600 square feet) at one of the local county community gardens.  There are two issues I've noticed:

First, I'm using all heirloom seeds and non-gmo materials.  The gardens are required to be "organic," but I'm sure most of the gardeners (there are 100+ plots) are not using the same thing.  Will other plots near mine "infect" my plants?

Second, I have a plot right next to the edge of the garden.  There's a 10' fence, but they spray roundup at the base of the fence to keep the weeds down!  So much for being totally organic.  Fortunately I am on an uphill slope from the fence.  But concerning the organic idea, the EPA has just allowed the use of some certain chemicals (I can't remember the names...have to re-read my emails) to deal with the Stink Bug infestation that is hitting the east coast.  These are a type of beetle that smells when squished.  There's no good organic control measure thus far, and they are a real scourge.  To save the "Organic Farms" from complete crop loss, the EPA is allowing certain chemical remedies.  So I would second colporteur's comment when he says "the standards even with organics is slipping."  I believe it's very important to be cautious even of the "organic" foods. 

As a question:  My plot is at the bottom of a gradual slope next to the fence.  All the other plots are above me.  How much do I need to worry about possible contaminants (possibly from manure) working it's way through the soil down the slope and into my plot?

In Christ,

Tim

Marelis:
I'm probably the least experienced vegetable gardener here but got off to a serious and enthusiastic start this year.  So far I haven't used any animal manure.  Mainly heaps of organic mushroom compost and organic sugar cane mulch and now making my own compost.  I've been using an organic liquid seaweed very liberally - the seaweed is harvested from one of the cleanest parts of the world. I haven't used animal manure because I wanted to be sure of being strictly organic, not sure what kinds of de-worming, hormone and antibiotics have been fed to animals these days.  But I have been contemplating collecting manure from some of the wild animals - knowing it would be hard work. 

Next year I want to try green manuring - it sounds promising from what I've read.

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