Oh manure, how I love thee… let me count the smelly ways…
I’m standing in the middle of our backyard next to a truckload of peat moss, hoisting a 10-kg. bag of sheep manure. My shirt is marked with dark stains. I’m not sure I want to keep it anymore, let alone even consider bring it inside our house.
As I look around, arms full of feces, I find myself trying to recall why I’ve allowed this marvelous, marvelous turn of events to take place.
The year was 2012. We’d just bought our first house, the one that my oldest daughter keeps referring to as “not our real house”.
The house was ancient, incredibly small (750 sq. feet after a large meal) and thoroughly lacking in any form of insulation. The main perk was that it came with a large backyard ripe for gardening and a little green space for the girls to play on.
We’d previously rented rooms in apartments and fourplexes, and had never had a backyard of our own. We felt like we’d won the lottery.
My wife had a glow in her eye and a smile on her face. Her mother and sisters jetted off to the nearest nursery, beaming as they returned with bags and trays filled with treasures like seed potatoes, planting onions and a variety of other garden essentials.
Anyone who has spent time growing their own food knows that picking the food is the easy part.
An entire summer later, I’d spent countless hours turning soil, arranging plants, watering, weeding, thinning, telling my children not to eat the bugs, harvesting, asking my children to stop watering the plants, harvesting again, creating fresh salads and harvesting again-and-again-and-again (mostly tomatoes, in case you’re interested… seems one plant produces enough to feed a small country – you can imagine what ten of the buggers are capable of).
I’ve changed a lot of diapers, cleaned a lot of dirty bums, and wiped poop off of places you’d never even thought it could reach, so why, why, why am I standing here with a bag of sheep manure (that I paid good money for) only to spread it and mix it in with some dirt? Because I’m a food grower, that’s why, and a darn fine one.
All the best to my gardening friends and acquaintances this spring. Please feel free to keep the tips and tricks coming.