Sunday, March 04, 2012

Poor Man's Fertilizer

Poor Man's Fertilizer is a spring snow once the ground is already thawed.  Ours is a little bit, so I'm hoping to get some of the positive effects, which mostly come from the higher nitrogen content in snow.  So these past few snows have been nice for me.  Even went to the Burlington Country Club hill for the first time with Ciaran.  Rachel and I both survived a few rides.  Ciaran, as per usual had to be dragged away from the action.

But I digress, the whole fertilizer thing was making me think of a few things people may not know about our farm in particular and farms that grow organically in general, especially with regards to the soil.  One of the organic mantras is "feed the soil" - keep the soil healthy and you'll be in good shape.  Mostly in the past I did that strictly though compost, which supplies lots of organic matter, but is also rich in other nutrients.  Now trying to balance that with green manure more, as I believe I mentioned in earlier posts.  But we also do use fertilizers.  Ours aren't made from petrochemicals, instead mostly from two sources: pasteurized chicken manure and various forms of seaweed.  Actually, luckily for us, the are made locally by a great company: North Country Organics.  Even when I was farming in Long Island, we had pallets of their cheep cheep (I know, cute name) basic chicken manure mix sent to us.

This year we are in really good shape, after the floods we did lots of soil testing and one thing it revealed (besides a lack of toxins) was the all our fields had an average of about 3.4% organic matter.  That is fairly good.  5% is ideal, really don't want to go that much over that I don't think, and under 2.5 - 2.25% you start having significantly less fertility.  So that plus a little poor man's fertilizer and things are looking good, as far as the ground is concerned, at OHF.


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