Friday, March 4, 2011
Straight from the horse's other end
Since even Ruth Stout says that putting down 8" of mulch on cold, wet, clay soil isn't the best thing to do, I'm holding off on spreading my hay on the fenced garden until the soil and air temperatures warm up a bit more—probably later this month—and I can start planting peas and potatoes. But I couldn't not do anything when we've had a 24-hour dry spell and 50º of heartwarming mildness, so I laid on a thin layer of mini horse poop. When Ruth says in her articles that she didn't use manure any more, I take that to mean that she did use it, before her soil had become so fertile there wasn't any need for it. And since the soil in my fenced garden hasn't ever gotten anything on it but some long-gone leaf prunings and cardboard from a few years ago, I figured some nice manure is not only justified, but deserved. This area used to be a horse corral, and when I got it, it was 4" of sandy dust on top of 6" of hardpan I could barely get a pick into. I didn't pile the poop on—just a loose inch deep. With probably 2 more feet of rain still coming to us before summer, I'm figuring it'll be mostly gone by the time I'm ready to put the hay down.
I've never put down fresh manure before, on anything. This is a first for me. Like I said, it's a science experiment.
There is one very scary factor in this garden that I am concerned about:
I'm pretty sure this is a vole hole. I have lots of moles—they run their tunnels under the trees and the big rocks where I can't get to them—but I think I have voles too. I haven't done anything about them so far because there aren't very many, and because I don't think there's much you can do except hope the raptors and feral cats get them. I'm not going to put down any kind of poison. I'm worried about what voles might do to my plantings, but maybe I'll be lucky. Time will tell.