“You can’t chemical your way out of soil infertility”
We finally found a source of horse manure that is definitely free of a chemical that causes toxic compost. The owners of the property keep bees, so they never spray any chemicals, and they said they don't feed hay. We found them through our local Freecycle List. Actually, we found two sources, I mean horses:
|Annie the Escape Artist|
Then I would use the composted manure and the worms' castings to improve the soil in my lawn and gardens. Heck, if I had more compost than I could handle, I suppose I'd sell that, too.
|All this guy wants is for us to leave the gate open...|
|Don working in the heat|
On the other hand, a regular compost pile is nice, too. It is pleasant to just compile the ingredients and then let the compost slowly break down while we go about our daily lives.
|The farm also has peacocks, dogs, and a mini-pig|
If you are new to composting, my advice is to read up a little bit, so you know what to avoid composting, and then just start. If you want to garden but don't want to turn compost or even dig a bed, make the compost right in the garden bed using the no-till lasagna layering method. Just be sure to plan at least a season ahead. It is a great feeling to keep waste out of the landfill. It also feels great to take other people's garbage-- or sanitation problem, in the case of the horses-- and turn it into something useful and good, like flowers or vegetables. For more on toxic compost, check out this article at Mother Earth News.
Mother Nature is creative; sometimes we just need to help her along!
**Update: For an overview of different composting methods, check out this website from the University of Illinois.
Update: Hens are now legal in my backyard in Chesapeake, VA, with certain restrictions.