Black Gold Discovered!

Not oil, even though I live in the oil rich State of Oklahoma, but almost as good. Recently, I wrote that I wanted to go to a mushroom farm that sells mushroom compost to use in our garden this year. Garden Dreaming I still think it would be a great soil additive, but it would involve a long drive for us. Why do this when in my own backyard, one of the richest sources of fertilizer is free for the taking?

Compared to other manure sources, rabbit manure is rich in Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium.

Manure TypeN Nitrogen % P Phosphorus %K Potassium %
Rabbit2.41.4.6
Cow.6.4.5
Horse.7.3.6
Pig.8.7.5
Chicken1.1.8.5
Sheep.7.3.9
Comparison of Average NPK for Animal Manures1

Some Like it Hot, Some Like it Cold

Many sources online report that rabbit manure can be applied fresh without composting. They call it a “cold manure” because it will not burn your plants. The other animal manures are considered “hot” and must be composted before use in the garden.2Still other sources state that because urine and hay are usually mixed with the rabbit manure, it’s best to go ahead and compost to prevent diseases such as E Coli and Salmonella. You decide. It seems many are using it fresh with good results.

Tea Anyone?

I’ve never made a compost or manure tea but seems like all the bloggers are singing it’s virtues. Supposedly it’s a rich organic fertilizer that helps prevent bad pathogens. I’m a simple kind of gardener (lazy) and the easier the better. Making Compost manure is a more complicated procedure than spreading and tilling in fresh rabbit manure. I won’t go into the steps here as they’re all over the internet. I try to get my information from College Agricultural Departments that actually do studies on these kind of things and it looks like not only can the results be questionable, but even harmful.3

I’ll go the simpler route. If you’ve used rabbit manure or tea, I’d love to hear about your results.

1“Bunny honey: Using rabbit manure as a fertilizer.” Dixie Sandborn. Michigan State
University Extension, September 1, 2016.
https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/bunny_honey_using_rabbit_manure_as_a_fertilizer

2 “Animal Manure” Kathy Wolfe, November 13, 2020. https://s3.wp.wsu.edu/uploads/sites/2073/2020/11/Animal-Manure-in-the-Garden.pdf

3https://extension.illinois.edu/blogs/good-growing/2019-08-14-compost-tea-miracle-product-or-snake-oil

Garden Dreaming

Dark gray skies, walking past last year’s now empty garden on my way to feed the chickens has me dreaming of juicy red vine ripened tomatoes. Memories of weeding tomato plants so high that I was hidden from view, hot sunshine on my back and legs, resulting in a “farmer’s tan”.

Wake up! It was a wonderful garden that produced every kind of vegetable from my daughter-in-law Sarah’s seed stash for preppers; heirloom tomatoes, beans of several varieties and pumpkins as large as my 8 year old grandson! We could’ve had a great market garden if not for Covid. Just as the garden started producing Sarah was recuperating from surgery and John and I were struggling to keep up with the garden chores. Then came canning, freezing, drying, giving it away. It was a challenge to preserve tomatoes; canned whole, diced, tomato preserves, dried, catsup, spaghetti sauce, plain sauce. Too tired to do anything else, I froze them whole. They’re still in my freezer. I really need to do something with them. This was repeated with every vegetable. A new favorite I tried was jalapeno jelly.

Garden Plan for 2021

  • This year the size of the garden will be cut in half. My son’s family of 7 who’ve lived with us for the last 1 1/2 years while remodeling a 4 bedroom mobile home they bought for cheap should be ready for move-in sometime this Spring. Even with half the size of the garden, it will produce more than enough, if all goes well.
  • The variety of vegetables was fun, but I’m only ordering what we like and will plant what we can reasonably eat with a little extra just in case. Weather, bugs and the unpredictability of what is growing well any given year makes it a challenge to predict the harvest.
  • I ordered my seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company, located in Mansfield, MO https://www.rareseeds.com/ Mansfield is about an hour’s drive, South and East of Branson. We took a little side trip there to visit the final home of Laura Ingles Wilder, author of the Little House on the Prairie series. Unfortunately, I didn’t know about Baker’s Seed or their Spring Planting Festival. They have a second location in Santa Rosa, CA where they host a National Heirloom Exposition which draws over 20,000 people who come to learn from gardening experts, listen to music, check out the vendors and enjoy food from their Asian restaurant. These activities are closed this year. Their seed prices are very reasonable with free shipping and a good supply of seed. They also supply a free seed packet. I’m excited about the White Tomesol Tomato seeds they sent. Many of the seed companies this year are low on seeds and shipping is delayed due to Covid. I was pleasantly surprised when I ordered my seeds on January 27th and received them by February 4th. I saved a good supply of Okra seeds from last year’s harvest.
  • Now to get the garden plan on paper!
  • It’s already time to start tomato seeds indoors!