A Nest for All Seasons A Nest for All Seasons: Poop & Mulch Tires

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30 May 2012

Poop & Mulch Tires

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Hey y'all! today we are talking POOP! Not human poop, but chicken poop. Don't have any chicken poop? No worries, you can plant beans or add blood meal or borrow some chicken poop from a friend. Doesn't today's topic sound just delightful??

Here's the experiment. This year I am trying my hand at growing potatoes in tires. We had the tires, I researched the chemical leaching and feel secure that we aren't going to eat toxic potatoes and it required very little extra work compared to my normal potato planting routine.  SO I grabbed the tires, filled them with compost and garden soil, planted my potatoes and then covered them in fresh mulch.

Screeeeeeeeeeeeeech -- wait aren't you supposed to let  mulch age before you use it?  Doesn't fresh mulch leach nitrogen from the soil and turn your plants yellow?

Yes and yes kinda.

...but the fresh mulch is only $50 for a driveway full and the aged mulch costs over $100 for a kinda dinky truckload.  
So the choice was easy, but I had to make some adjustments.

Enter the poop -- see it?

Mulch doesn't leach nitrogen from the soil, but rather the mulch USES the nitrogen in the soil to decompose where the mulch touches the soil.  Therefore, that potato planted way down deep in the tire is not affected.  However, when that potato reached the top, I don't want it to be hungry.  The solution?  Well, if the fresh mulch is taking away nitrogen, then I need to add a bit.  What has a bunch of nitrogen in it?  Chicken poop!

Think of it this way.  The tire holds soil.  Then a tree falls (and magically shreds itself) on the forest floor.  Then an animal comes along and poos on it.  Such is the cycle of nature.  We're just joining the party a little more quickly than nature proceeds.

One thing to note...fresh poo will "burn" the stems and foliage of plants, so I put the poop aside from the actual plants and when it rains the poo slowly moves down through the mulch to the soil and composts and then makes the potatoes grow big and strong and delicious.

Note:  If you don't have chicken poop available, and want to use fresh mulch, try planting a bean (any bean!) right next to every plant in the veggie garden or add alternate sources of nitrogen, such as blood meal.  They will both negate the nitrogen use of the fresh mulch.  You know you need to feed your plants a little more if the leaves start yellowing.  If they grow big and strong then you are good to go!


SO, if you visit me for a meal later in the summer, I might feed you poopy potatoes. 
You'll like them ;)

3 COMMENTS:

Robyn Wednesday, May 30, 2012  

OK I loved this post.. LOL.. I have chickens and lots of poop.. If we lived closer I'd give you some..

Amy Renea Thursday, May 31, 2012  

Why thanks, I appreciate the gesture of good {poop} will ;)

wheel balancers Saturday, July 14, 2012  

I really like this post. I have many of these in my garden and I am glad that it saved me from buying a lot of pots.

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