Spreading Manure Baby!
Not one of my favorite tasks, but it is very necessary for our soil building process. In our back field, where we are growing our test patch of specialty potatoes this year, the soil is very sandy and dry. Almost devoid of organic life, we are working hard to replenish the organic matter and build the soil up. This will take years of manuring, green manure crops, cover crops and rotations of beneficial plantings. I purchased an old Case manure spreader this spring. It is a ground driven model and the N pulls it nicely. I'll tell you one thing though, it holds 95 bushels of manure and that is a lot of shovelling! Because all of our animals are pastured, it is actually quite hard to accumulate enough manure to be able to use the spreader. In the spring, after the animals have spent 6 or 7 months huddled around the feeder, there is quite a bit to scoop up. Right now though, I used the old pig pen and some straw and waste hay that had accumulated over the year in a couple areas. I ended up with a good load of matter and headed to the Back Field. I didn't spread the manure over the growing potatoes, instead I spread it over the summer fallow. A little later this summer, I will seed this area in Fall Rye and then graze it in early winter and then again in the spring after it greens up. After it is finished being grazed, I will let it grow up some more and then plow it under in preparation for a full crop of potatoes. The little area that grew potatoes this year will be seeded in another cover crop...probably Buckwheat.