A non-gardener would think us completely crazy; today Joe and I emptied the back of my car, rounded up every available bucket, pail and rubbermaid container we could find and drove 45 minutes north to a horse farm in Boxford. Our quest? Horse manure! Just look at this beautiful stuff:
I expected to need to roll the windows down on the ride home but the stuff is so well composted there wasn't any odor of dung; just a sweet, earthy smell of dirt. No need to Fabreze the car!
The raised beds are filled with peat moss, compost, soil, vermiculite. I added fresh compost from our bins this spring, but I really wanted some horse poo to amend the soil. After several false starts on Craig's List, I found a place that would give it away- free! What's not to love?
The green lettuce is growing well, but for some reason the red lettuce is way behind, though the seeds were started at the same time. Hopefully with the newly added manure the red ones will take off and catch up with their green neighbors.
The broccoli is finally starting to increase in size and the carrot seeds have sprouted. Once they get a little bit bigger they'll need to be thinned out.
The garlic seems to be doing well; it's very difficult for me not to dig down to check on it. A practice in patience......
A new bed added this spring. This year it has potatoes, which are still underground. This was the real reason I wanted to horse manure- to hill around the potatoes as they grow so they'll produce more tubers. The 4 containers have what's left of the manure, saved just for this purpose.
This may be a yearly trek if there is a big difference in the amount of produce we get from the garden. And if the plants are half as happy as I am about the manure we'll be just fine.