100 pounds of ME versus 80 pounds of Manure

Most of the manure was hidden in the snow. Check out my biggest blueberry plant sticking out of the snow. ;) All my other berries are way below the snow.

Earlier this winter, I came across an organic horse farmer with manure to share. So I put 80 pounds of manure (in two even strips) into my garden, hoping it would age and incorporate into the garden gradually over the winter and early spring months.

We can't dig into our garden until mid-May because the our clay soil is too wet (and often snow-covered.) But I was hopeful that all would be well by May and I could gently mix the aged manure into the soil and start planting.

Everything was going as planned. Then things started to get warm around here. And by warm, I mean 30s. It was awesome. We spent every day outside. I naturally gravitated toward the garden, as I do on any warm day. And I noticed something. The entire area around my garden smelled like....well...you know.

I have to tell you that my first reaction was "oh no, my husband is going to freak" but after that I couldn't stop smiling. Not because I like to make my husband angry, but because I thought I might annoy a few neighbors.

Don't get me wrong, we love most of our neighbors, but when we moved in a few years ago, there wasn't a whole lotta of love for my garden. The first thing we did was put in our yard and garden, and the neighbors went into a frenzy. A garden!! Are you serious?? We saw sneers, heard gossip through the grapevine, and received phone calls. Our association went after us with a vengeance and we were demanded to pull out the garden.

By this time, I really wanted to scrap it. I had a 1 year old and a 3 year old. I had just moved our entire house in our MINIVAN (minus my treadmill, bed, and couch) and finished a monster landscaping project. I personally planted over 100 shrubs! I was worn out and wanted to throw in the towel, when an unsuspecting ally arose to fight the masses.

My husband has always had a love/hate relationship with my gardens, but he feels even stronger about being controlled. He looked up all the bylaws and statutes, and when the association called again, he let them know in no uncertain terms that we would not be altering our landscape. That we could legally have a garden. They backed down but made it known that the garden was still frowned upon.

That's why the poopy smell made me smile. A lot. But my smiling was short lived because after 11 days of travelling, my husband eventually came home. And he went outside. He noticed the smell. And he was not happy.

We disagreed about how long it would take to compost and how long the smell would stick around, and ultimately I decided to move the manure to my compost area to rot in peace over the summer. I will add it back to the garden in the fall, when I can mix it into the soil with no poopy smells.

It may be nice outside, but it's still no small feat to move 80 pounds of manure through 5 feet of snow across a rather large plot of land. I didn't time myself, but I can tell you that when I had moved my last heap of manure, I was drenched in sweat. I had no coat, mittens, or hat on. It was 32 degrees outside. I only had boots, a shovel, and a big rubbermaid container. I took trip after trip, through the deep snow carrying manure back and forth.

It was hard work, but it didn't feel like work. That's what I love about gardening. It's free exercise and I feel like I'm really doing something. And there is almost always more work to be done.


Chief Family Officer said...

Oh my! You go girl! That would have been a week's worth of exercise for me :)

Jen@Scrapingirl said...

Heehee... I actually was wondering, when you talked about the first time, if it was gonna start to stink. Well, there's my answer.

Shelby said...

That's such a terrible thing for people to frown upon a garden! What's wrong with them? Whether you live in the city, suburbs or out in the boonies a garden is a great thing. And not only does it produce free produce for you it surely gives you extra that you may share with them if they were nice enough. Why do they have such a problem with it? It's not like gardens are ugly or disturb people, (well, except for maybe the smell :) ). It's not like you are growing trash. Ooh, sorry, that got me worked up. I'm sorry - and good for you for sticking up for it, and yourself!

SocialStudiesSoubrette said...

I am starring longingly at my garden. I cant wait to get out there and play in the dirt. Gardening is so therapeutic isn't it? Nothing like that feeling of growing food for your family. I love it! Enjoy!

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