Composting horse manure

Here’s a picture of our garden stitched form pictures this evening

It’s been a good season. Better than last year; Robie and I are learning a lot. Most folks I know that have a garden have noticed that the season’s been less productive than we’d like, but we’re pleased with the success we have had and what we’ve learned.

On my drive home, I pass by a horse ranch Abbey Creek Stables. Although it’s not there anymore, they used to have a sign at the entrance “Free manure. We load”. Since you can never have enough compost and because I like the word “free”, I went and got some. Two loads actually for a total of about two cubic yards.

Composting is one of those things that sounds more complicated when you read about it than it actually is. Websites and books talk about cabon/nitrogen ratios and all that. Some refer to it as browns/greens. I’ve generally found that what I’ve got is what I’ve got. If I have too much green, like from cutting the grass, I can’t just conjur up some leaves to balance it out. Whatever I have is what ends up in my compost bins.…

Miles's tips on gardening

I can’t say I’m the most masterful of gardeners, but I do have some specific thoughts on the matter that have made life easier for me. The other day, my friend Jacob asked why I use raised beds, so I figure I can answer his question and more.

Here’s our garden as it is today

Why raised beds?

  1. they warm up quicker in the spring. That are somewhat separated from the large heatsink that is the earth.
  2. they discourage you stepping in them. If you have garden rows, it’s easy step where you’re not supposed to
  3. guaranteed drainage.
  4. easier to work. I sit on the edges.
  5. easier to maintain a border between paths and growing area.
  6. you have something to attach PVC pipe to for cold-frame plastic, bird netting, or shade cloth

Other thoughts

  1. wood chips are your friend. (you can see a pile of them in front of my pickup.)
    1. a thick layer around your garden beds are great for preventing weeds. I have a 3 or 4 inche thick layer.
    2. get them for free from local tree trimming companies. They can pay the dump or a composting place to get rid of their chips, or they can dump
Miles's thoughts