So I am trying my hand at sheet mulching/lasagna gardening for the first time this year. I researched online a bit and then went ahead and put this bed together using steer/mushroom/chicken manure compost that I bought from the plant nursery. In doing more research I don't think my bed has enough nitrogen. I didn't know the difference between fresh manure and manure compost and took the two interchangeably. Now I know there is quite the difference and I'm a bit worried the bed will be a flop, especially since those bags of compost are pricey!
Here's my layers:
- manure compost blend (50/50 mushroom and steer with a little chicken blended in)
-half rotted leaves/maple shavings (a light sprinkle)/straw
-manure compost blend
-manure compost blend with some black garden soil
I did the ratio in 1:3 manure compost blend/browns.. about 1 inch to 3 inches. From what I've been learning there needs to be adequate nitrogen to get those browns breaking down. The compost I bought had an NPK ration of 1-1-1.
So I'm wondering.. do you think I can grow plants in this bed? Or is there something I can do to fix it? Any suggestions would be helpful!
Definitely not ruined. Far from it; that looks like a great start that'd be perfectly fine for growing plants in. You can always work in more manure next spring if you find it neccesary.
If you have some aged manure, you can also mix in maybe half a handful under each plant as you plant them. That's what I normally do.
The only thing I'd suggest doing is making sure you mulch to retain moisture and keep the soil cool. If you got more cardboard or straw, that'd work fine, or woodchips are even better (or straw and then woodchips!).
I'd also encourage you to see if you can find free sources of mulch and manure. You're literally buying animal poop and shards of wood - surely someone nearby would be happy to give you some if you look hard enough.
My local city/county has a free pile 14ft tall of woodchips where they dump the shredded wood from cutting tree branches away from powerlines or after storms. My local dump has composted yard waste (warning: may be herbicide heavy, so I use it on test beds first). A nearby neighbor raises cows. If you are interested in free garden stuff, most of it is probably available for you.
Don’t worry. I’ve planted in fresh manure without problem. Even if you mistakenly used fresh manure it’s going to decompose pretty quickly in your garden bed anyway. You won’t have a nitrogen deficiency because if the manure; if anything manure can add too much nitrogen.
posted 3 months ago
Awesome thank you so much for writing and for the votes of confidence! I covered my bed in straw as was suggested, and today I popped in some no dig potatoes and hilled them up with straw.
I did end up making a second lasagna style bed with manure compost, leaves, grass clippings, kitchen waste etc when my city did its annual spring green waste curbside pickup. So I have the two to compare! I also scored a load of goat manure compost for $10 and today I saw someone is giving away free horse manure on kijiji. I'm so falling in love with permaculture. I love all the treasure hunting and going on adventures to source materials.
posted 3 months ago
With grass clippings and horse manure it’s a good idea to compost them first to kill the weed seeds in them.
I know what you mean by the treasure hunting feel when looking for free scraps. It can become a bit of an obsession that dominates your thinking and way of looking at things thereafter.
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