Black gold…

also known as well- composted shavings-free horse manure, spread across the vegetable garden. Beautiful.

Dan’s new toy, a bagger for the riding mower, the perfect thing for chopping up the leaves and making excellent garden compost.

Kyle came over tonight to help unload the manure from Dan’s truck, and to install the bagger on the riding mower.

Of course, a test drive was mandatory. Wow, the mower/bagger sucked up the matted leaves from under the pear tree right quick, and chopped them up nicely. More leaf mold for the compost pile –we can’t get enough of that!

It was a good day in the garden –even if it was only for a few hours after work.


5 Responses to “Black gold…”

  1. Robin Says:

    I have lawn mower bagger envy. If I use the clippings I have to rake them up. When we have to replace the lawn mower we need to get one with a bag. Did you know brassicas love to be planted with a handful of leaf mold in the hole?

  2. Ali Says:

    The riding mower is a long story, a gift from Dan’s parents. Unfortunately, on the way to NY to pick it up, the truck stalled out on the MASS Pike in a driving rain, necessitating a tow, a hotel stay, and an expensive visit to the Ford dealer –ouch. But now that we have it, we love it, especially in the fall for mowing/chopping the maple leaves (and now bagging them). Raking them took days. By all means, get a bagger when you replace the lawn mower, you won’t regret it.

    Thanks for the tip about the leaf mold. I will be trying that tip out right quick.

  3. sjones71 Says:

    Ah… the sweet smell of composted manure.

    I’m off today to pick up some from a farm nearby. I’ve never actually picked up composted manure. Any tips for me on telling exactly if it truly is well composted? I’m guessing that it should look soilish and not smell like raw manure. Any other rules?

  4. Ali Says:

    The more manure looks like soil, the better. Look few the smallest amount of wood shavings possible, as the shavings break down slowly and rob nitrogen in the process. Also, if the manure is very lumpy, that probably signals it wasn’t broken down very well. I don’t count on the horse manure as my sole nitrogen source, but rather a good source of humus and minerals, with some nitrogen. I always suggest a soil test from the cooperative extension service — it will tell you a lot about the state of your soil. That’s the extent of my knowledge, good luck!

  5. sjones71 Says:

    Your advice was great. The composted manure pile at this farm was very high. I am sure there was some great stuff at deeper geological layers, but I could really only get the top 2 or 3 strata. The manure was indeed pretty lumpy. Instead of adding this to my garden directly, I’m going to use it as the start of my new compost pile. I’ll harvest it for next year’s soil.. maybe lay it in in the fall. Thank you for the guidance!

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