Soil pH and Nutrient Availability

It seems like 100 years ago I started college as a horticulture major and completed two years and romance got in my headlights and I married. Life is what happens while making other plans. 

Anyway, I quickly learned growing soil is fundamental to growing plants. I planted two identical Star Magnolias in different parts of my garden about 15 or 20 years ago; one is flourishing, the other died. The only difference was soil. So, out came my Ph meter and that explained the problem. 

I also learned at WSU how important it is to keep adding organic matter to the soil and as a freshmen in college at WSU (Washington State University), I went with the horticulture class to the cattle barns and loaded composted manure into big trucks and spread it all over the campus garden. I was running for class office at the time and my co-workers put big signs on the sides and back of the manure truck stating "Vote for Joan Denoo, the girl for you!" I still have people reminding me of my work on the "shit wagon". I am afraid that is the term they use. Well anyway, now I put a lot of it on my garden beds after the ground has frozen so that winter snow and spring rains soak it into the depths. 

My advisor at WSU, Dept. of Horticulture, was Woody Kalin. When I was in China seeking information about women's lives in China I ran across a group of USA agronomists touring Chinese farms. Many remembered Woody (deceased).  

Oh my goodness, this is far more information than you wanted or needed. 

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I went to the local nursery today to buy a 50 lb bag of Sulfur, and luckily got help from a guy that seems to know what he's talking about.   He said almost no one here grows Blueberries because the water here has a PH of 7.8 to 8.5 and can't be used on them.  You have to save enough rain water to last during the dry summer, or use distilled water.

He also said to plant them in a raised bed filled with 50% peat moss and 50% potting soil.  Local soil is verboten.  He said if you use enough Sulfur to get a PH of 5 with this soil and water, that amount of Sulfur would kill the Blueberries.

It sounds like it's more trouble than it's worth, so I probably won't try it.  Probably won't try those fantastic Huckleberries either.

What do you do with animal manures in an organic garden?

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In conclusion, if you decide to use animal manures in your composting scheme, there are many benefits: 

1. You may be able to find a free soure from a local farm, horse clinic, police department that uses horses, zoo, etc. This gives you a great free source of "greens" for your compost. 

2. All animal manures are great sources of beneficial microbes to stimulate your compost piles. This increases the compost decomposition rate. 

3. Animal manures really increase internal heating in hot compost piles. 

4. All composts have lots of beneficial aerobic bacteria and fungi growing in it for soil building and plant fertilization. Animal manures are naturally high in actinomycetes as well as bacteria also. 

5. All animal manures are rich in NPK and calcium. Therefore they usually alkaline when fresh. However, all mature composts have a near neutral pH after the organic matter has been broken down by the composting process. 

6. If sawdust is mixed in the poop, you have extra potassium in the mix. Straw and hay is rich in phoshorus also. 

7. All animal manures break down fast. 

8. Many animal manures have urine (urea) mixed in also. This is extra nitrogen for the compost. 

Under a well managed aerobic hot composting system, animal manures can still play an important part in modern natural farming as it did centuries ago. 

Happy Gardening! 

Entered by CaptainCompostAL"

 

Be sure to read the entire article for more specific details.

 

It seems like a waste, to me, to wrap a good garden nutrient in plastic and have it sent to a landfill.  Which is our main alternative for the doggie doo.  The concern is disease-causing worms and bacteria.  But if carefully buried, I really don't think it's an issue.  Besides, in the wild the animals aren't all sending away their waste products to the land fill or sewage system.  Vegetarian animals  - cows, sheep, goats, llamas, rabbits - supposedly carry fewer diseases - but I'm not sure about that.  I think some major E. coli outbreaks have been from cattle.  I am always planting another shrub or tree, so sometimes I pre-prepare the surrounding soil by digging holes in the ground, then drop in the doggie doo, cover with some soil, repeat until filled.  I think it's really helped grow strong trees and shrubs, fast.

No, animal waste is not a problem if it is buried. Cause of the problems, at least as far as I know, is that dogs and cats eat animal proteins and may carry unwanted bacteria and organisms. If you bury them, and let them compost, they should be fine. The decomposition takes care of the bad stuff. I don't put them in my compost pile, however.

When I had pets, I took an old bucket with a bail, cut out the bottom and buried it to the rim. I used the lid so it was easy to just lift it and toss in the poop and kitty litter. just keep adding to the bucket and when it is full, lift the buck out, leaving the poodoo behind, and dig a new hole and bury the bucket and start over. It was no big deal for me as a younger person, I am not so sure I would have the energy these days. I like your method better, because it eliminates the fooling around with a bucket. 

Yes, E. coli does occur with cattle manure. that is why I am careful to wash everything really well before eating raw.  

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