Monday, February 27, 2012

Got Poop?

As we live in The Ozarks, "soil" is a relative term around here.  Being born & raised in Illinois, it had never really occurred to me that there were places that didn't have dirt.  If one were to scrape or burn the top covering of greenery from the ground around our homestead, you'd see something that closely resembles a gravel driveway.  Really.

Pounding fence posts requires mechanical assistance.  Falling on the ground isn't something to just shrug off as there is invariably a large rock hidden just underneath the sparse vegetation.  Our first year here we dug holes in the "garden" for the tomato plants using the backhoe.  Really.

What does one do when there is no dirt, but still requires the growing medium to sustain a decent sized garden?

We bought "Super Dirt" (or that's what they called it) from one of the local nurseries a few years ago to fill up the raised beds.  What a disappointment.  This so-called dirt contained a plethora (told you I liked that word!) of sticks, rocks, wood chips and other items, and though technically organic compounds, nothing you would consider actual dirt, let alone "Super" dirt.

I am trying to get a good compost pile going, but it does take time.  And I am not a patient woman.  The fact that I keep moving the compost pile and using it even before it's really done cooking doesn't help.  It also doesn't help that the chickens keep flinging it all over since the pile is never really contained well enough to keep the scratching biddies out of it.

When Paul's running the dozer through the woods, there are spots where I can get some soil, usually directly surrounding the area of a large, downed tree.  So I can screen some decent dirt from that.

But the easiest, and by far the nicest garden amendment comes from here:

and from here:
and is found right in front of the goat / chicken barn:
This area gets a lot of goat berries (nice word for poop) and the occasional chicken turd.  Every morning I sweep the barn floors right out the door.  This area also gets a lot of foot & hoof traffic so stuff is pretty much pre-pulverized.  After a particularly heavy rain, I'll put down some straw so it's not so smooshy.  And about twice a year I collect the already-composted, nutrient-rich material, and "fluff" it up a bit by crumbling up the bigger pieces and adding sawdust or whatever other organic material I can scrounge up around the farm.

Super Dirt?  No thanks.  We got Super POOP!


  1. CR!!!! We were seperated at birth!

    I have told SM for YEARS that it's a good thing we never had any kids as I LOVE the word plethora (I love how it feels when you say it) and would likely have named my daughter Plethora. Of course I'd get the sideways "I married a crazy lady" eyeball from him. LOL

    I wonder if all the people who DON'T garden get all the good soil. I often wonder if that's the way the universe works. Cosmic Karma. I remember black dirt in Ohio. Did I garden then? Nope. Fiqures!

    BTW, that's some fine looking black gold ya got there in your 'barrow.

  2. I think your Super Poop is world's above the Super Dirt they're trying to sell you. And now I have so much more respect for you (as if I didn't have enough already) because I wasn't aware how hard it was to grow stuff where you are.

  3. Good to know (misery loves company?) there is another area in the country that has no dirt! We have roots and rocks up here or soil which the natives call "rotten rock." Does that give you a hint of what it's primarily made up of. Oh, what we gardeners don't go through to grow a carrot. Sigh.

  4. We live on the northern fringes of the Ozark Plateau, and I hear you about rocks just beneath the "soil." I tripped on a viney thing and fell forward, bruising both kneecaps on two different rocks.

  5. LOL..I live in the bowels of the breadbasket, and all around here is the most beautiful dirt...except on my property. It's got fits and starts of clay, sand, some dirt--ughhh!!!
    However. I read a book by Patricia Lanza called Lasagna Gardening and I have built up beautiful garden beds. The first time I did it, I lived in the mountains of North Carolina. I bought composted dirt and finely ground mulch from a landscaping company and then I used that, spoiled hay, grass clippings, composted leaf material and newspaper on the bottom-right over the grass. No tilling. It was magic. That very first year I planted directly into the mulch and everything grew like crazy! I couldn't believe it!

    Now, I am moved back to the Illinois of my childhood and have done the very same thing here. And I compost and have chickens for poop and neighbors who have cows/horses for more poop and tons of composted leaves. I have 3 compost bins in the backyard, and every year all that goes on too. I've been here 7 years this year and the beds are thriving.

  6. That is some good looking super poop in that wheelbarrow! We have such a dry climate that I haven't even attempted a compost pile. Happy gardening! :)

  7. I have seen quite a few "behinds" on this blog lately, just saying!

    I have a mountain of poo (both goat and sheep) and have been trying to figure out how to compost is and where would be a good spot to let it sit. If the dogs don't get it the forest creatures do, it is a very vexing problem.

  8. Ha! So true! And how funny that they're selling dirt-less dirt ;)

  9. Tami, would your DH be opposed to naming a pet "Plethora"? What kills me most was back in IL they were ripping up farmland at an unbelievable rate to put up cookie-cutter subdivisions.

    Mama Tea, you live in the frozen Northern Tundra.....not THAT's a respectable gardening challenge!

    Mama Pea, carrot? What's a carrot? Oh, if I only had soil enough to grow decent root crops. But I'm working on it.

    Charada, I assume you also know how "interesting" it is to pound fence posts. Ah, the beauty of the Ozarks!

    Akannie, my next post is on my first attempt at Lasagna gardening!

    Candy C., I didn't even think about problems with compost piles in dry climates! It seems we ALL have some sort of challenge in the garden, doesn't it?

    nancypo, growing...or poop'n! :)

    Chai Chai, well, now that you mention it, there does seem to be a plethora of animal bums, doesn't it? I don't think you actually have to compost sheep or goat poop, although it may make it easier to work with if you do.

    Ngo Family Farm, it's false advertising if you asked me!

  10. I am preparing myself for the possibility of moving somewhere that is rocky too, this was a cute post! If I find myself having animals are just famish "pets" I can say proudly that they WILL function in a famish capacity LOL!

  11. Now that's what I call super poop!!!! We get it too. Best stuff ever!