Saturday, July 2, 2016

Manure Preneurs: How Our Garden Grows

Manure Preneurs. That's us. (Any self-employed screen printers out there? Make me a  Manure Preneur T-shirt and I'll trade you some cool soap.) In this day of chemical fertilizers, Round Up ready seeds, overhead spraying by dive-bombing planes, what Keith and I do here is a rarity in our parts. We are literally surrounded by GMO corn and beans, corn and beans. Few Illinois farmers grow anything else, but we love to rock the status quo and our freaky chemical free methods...are working. Our clay heavy soils screamed for help and we responded and in return we have been gifted with the following. 

Here again is the garden just off our front door. The pic was taken May 27. 


And here it is just a little over four weeks later. 





We did this with a nearly extinct form of food raising. Hard work. So much hard, sweaty work. We no longer own a tractor, riding mower or garden tiller. Our son Kyle did initially till this spot for us, but since then it's all been just hand tools. Next year the plan is No-till since we've laid the ground work for such this year. Lately I've become very close to my wheelbarrow and pitchfork. We use older moldy hay, grass clippings (from our push mower) well rotted manure/straw combination to mulch between rows. We hand pull weeds. It is not (yet) an efficient method but in future years all the work we've done lately will pay off in rich soil which will require only minimal maintenance.


Green beans on the left and tomatoes in the middle. Peppers and onions to the right.


Close up of the peppers with zucchini behind them, onions towards middle and far right are my herbs: chives, tarragon, basil, sage, mint, cilantro, thyme, all just three feet from my front door.


 View from the upstairs window in the evening light.


Alongside the sidewalk the package of wildflower seeds are in bloom and baby's breath, calendula, marigolds, cosmos and zinnias add the color I have always wanted in a garden.



I am one stinking ridiculous happy homesteader, until of course all the beans come ready for canning next week when the temps are predicted to be in the high 90's. Oh well. The life of a Manure Preneur is bound to stink sometimes.

18 comments:

  1. Wow that is amazing growth, you must be quite chuffed with the result of all your hard work.
    Apparently beans will put on a second crop once you start picking, so be prepared for a bumper crop.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We have our canning equipment waiting in the wings Margaret!

      Delete
  2. Replies
    1. That would require Monsanto to have a heart.

      Delete
  3. Fabulous! A quick question...how do you irrigate? Do you use drip irrigation, water by hand or something else? Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We water by hand, once a week when dry and we water at root level, never overhead as too much evaporation loss. I have not watered in the last two weeks as we've had sufficient rain. I would love to have some soaker hoses for next year.

      Delete
  4. OK, I must be naive. How would anyone start a garden OTHERwise? Given the opportunity, why would anyone in their right mind CHOOSE chemicals, insecticides, herbicides in this enlightened eco age? I've always gardened the way you are gardening. Yes, hand weeding (when necessary), rainwater, nets (sometimes botonicals for cabbage worm), organic fetilizers and manures. It's how we gardened waaaaay back when I was a kid (*mumble* years ago). I applaud your hard work, good deep mulching helps prevent weeds (also makes them easier to pull), holds in moisture, decomposes into humus. Your first garden is amazing given the condition of the soil there. Job well done. The harvest should be awesome. BTW, have you considered setting up an outdoor canning station? Wouldn't need walls, just a sunshade/roof, a table, place for a butane burner for the pot. Might be much cooler than canning inside. I used my back open porch at my old house. Cooler - and nicer views.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kris, sadly my own generation, the 50 year olds, especially in the US, LOVE to have the weed free, immaculate gardens and lawns. So many are big time chemical lovers, just proving that looks still matter (to the majority) more than health. Why else do all the women my age continue to dunk their heads in toxic hair dyes and then complain about their hair loss, hair breakage? They want it all. I just want enough cabbage to make kraut.

      Delete
  5. Looking amazing! Hard work makes you go to bed happy and go to sleep fast. I'm not happy unless I'm tired at the end of the day!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So true Kev! I can work all day on a couple short stories but struggle to sleep at night whereas on the days I am hauling compost, driving metal posts, mulching beans, I sleep crazy good.

      Delete
  6. Like how totally Awks is all that green goodness. I'd be pretty happy about that as well.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Lots of hard work but things look great! I use grass clippings and I hope to use some chicken manure from my granddaughters chickens. I am using a fiberglass cow tank (4FT X 8FT) that had splitand didn't hold water anymore for my garden. A farmer had one and all I had to do was come and get it. We drilled lots more holes in the bottom and then put 50 bags of topsoil and a couple of bags of manure. Works great if you can't get down on the ground anymore and I'm also recycling something that was on a pile of junk!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Fantastic Judy! Raised beds are my long term goal, if I get to live long term that is. I'm able to get down on my knees just fine but getting up takes additional prayer, a dog to lean upon or on the worst days, a crane. Often I'll just pull the mulch into a pile and take a nap. If I die there...all the more compost for the farm.

      Delete
  8. I only have one word. WOW. Very impressive what you've done in a short amount of time. You are an inspiration!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Really impressive, and a much better way to grow crops for your health and that of the ground you are growing them in.

    ReplyDelete
  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hello! Thank you for interesting and informative article! I agree with your statements. What do you think about biodynamic farming, I read it is a philosophy first of all. I am against of the using artificial fertilizers and pesticides. Also I always care about quality equipment. I want to recommend you to estimate productions of Apromera Manufacturer http://apromera.com . I like their products. What do you think about it?

    ReplyDelete