Pomegranates hang heavy on the tree that is beginning to lose its leaves

Pomegranates hang heavy on the tree that is beginning to lose its leaves


I begin obsessing about soil and manure this time of year after the summer garden is gone. The old adage of: take care of the soil and it will take care of you (via your plants) is really true. Out here on the farmette, the clay soil is so heavy that it cracks open in fissures during summer, so we are always working to improve it.



Recently, a generous friend brought us a truckload of horse manure. It was no small truck either. The manure seemed mostly aged and I could easily rake it into our flower beds and little lawn. Some of though is still relatively green, not aged, and I worry about using it to grow my winter crop of vegetables for fear of E-coli contamination.




There’s a new area where we are debating or not to put down a stone floor and just grow trees and flowers in a container wall on two sides. It might be the perfect place to use some of that horse dung.



In the meantime, on the property behind ours, the horse manure has been spread out with a bobcat to keep the growing areas fertile for the trees that were planted there nearly four or five decades ago.



I gathered what was growing on the trees and in the garden for the table

What’s left in the garden this time of year




There are all kinds of manures one can use in the garden, from bat guano and worm casings to animal waste products–horse, cow, sheep, steer, turkey, rabbit, and chicken, for example.



You can get manure tested, much like you can soil, to detect levels of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Not all manures are high in nitrogen, which is loved by many gardeners for that sudden growth and burst of bloom. Some manures, like cow and horse, also can carry seeds of weeds or whatever the animal has grazed on, which can emerge in your garden.


Succulent, sweet, and juicy, these hachiya persimmons are worth waiting for

Sweet, and juicy, these hachiya persimmons are lovely to give and receive as gifts



Most manures can be made into a fertilizer “tea” by mixing with water. Whether you apply aged manure or manure tea, always wash your fruits and vegetables well before eating to reduce the risk of consuming contaminated fruit or produce.



We appreciate our friend’s gift. Now . . . we wonder how to repay his kindness. I’m thinking a basket of persimmons and pomegranates, a French sugar pumpkin, a dozen organic eggs, and jars of jam and honey.







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