Check out my new post over at Tenth Acre Farm:
Cow manure is rich in nitrogen, organic matter and a variety of minerals, adding nutrition and tilth to the soil and ensuring rich harvests of green and happy vegetables. It’s generally considered to be one of the best amendments you can add to your garden.
At least it used to be.
Now adding manure to your garden is playing Russian roulette with your plants. There’s a very good chance that it will completely destroy your beds and cause your plants to grow into twisted parodies of their proper growth pattern before dying ugly and unproductive deaths.
A Load of Manure is a Gardener’s Paradise…Naturally
Some time back I did a very normal thing for an organic gardener: I bought a trailer of manure from a local dairy farm and had it dropped in my front yard.
I then proceeded to spread it across multiple beds, add it around the trees in my front yard food forest, and turn it into the ground along the front fence line where I was planting dozens of newly purchased thornless blackberries.
>>>Read more about creating food forests.
A few weeks later, I planted my gardens – and everything started going very, very wrong. My
transplanted tomatoes and eggplants started to twist up. They were still green, but their leaves were thick and curled and the amount of new growth was much smaller than it should have been.
Something was very wrong.
My thought upon seeing the weird growth in my tomatoes and eggplants was that I was dealing with a virus. They were both Solanaceae family – maybe it was some weird and horrible disease I’d never seen before?