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Feeding corn organically.

 
gardener
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Location: Cincinnati, Ohio,Price Hill 45205
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We are going to plant lots of corn this year.
The soil we will be planting is rather poor and rocky.
I have large amount of great compost made from decomposed woodchips.
Any nitrogen depletion has probably run its course, but that doesn't mean there is much nitrogen in it.

So,  I have some bunny bedding,  but not enough.
I have some chicken bedding,  but it's all fresh.
I have pee,  but the missus might object.
I don't want to buy anything,  but I will,  especially if it can improve the soil long term.
I'm wondering if alfalfa hay would work to add nitrogen and biomass to the soil.
Any ideas are welcome.
 
pollinator
Posts: 342
Location: East tn
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Got any ponds nearby?

I had the kids harvest pond scum and we put in the center of each mound where we planted three sisters.

Indigenous used to put fish carcasses in theirs, but we have coyotes nearby so I am trying pondscum.

 
pollinator
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Location: Victoria BC
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Pee on the woodchips, asap... then it will be just compost when it goes on?

Maybe diluting the fresh chicken manure with said chip compost would also be a good compromise?

I too am doing corn, first time in new, sandy soiled-garden area.. but being single it's all human liquid fertilizer and a bit of fish compost.


Man, I would LOVE to be able to grab some muck from the beaver ponds, but the fisheries guys go armed around here...
 
Posts: 379
Location: SW PA USA zone 6a altitude 1188ft
7
trees
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I googled "horse boarding price hill oh" and didn't go farther than the map that came up with 11 dots on it.
Call those near you. They will usually be thrilled to let you haul off their horse manure; free. Get permission to visit, judge how easy it is to get back out. Judge the quality. Composted manure will be black. Composting manure will be grey and steamy. Fresh will be brown rollers. And you need to look at the bedding. I walk away from manure with wood chips. There's usually nothing there except the chips. Some will be bedded with straw, and barns with bare dirt floors won't have any bedding, maybe  some hay. Either of the last two are fine with me.
You need to judge how much you need in inches. If you had rich black loam I'd suggest an inch. If like me you're amending raw clay I'd suggest 3 inches. Dig or till it in. You won't need any other fertilizer for the rest of the year.
In the parts of the garden where you don't grow a crop that uses so much nutrition you won't need any fertilizer next year either.
 
William Bronson
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Great replies!
The horse poop seems perfect,  but I'm leary because of the potential for persistent herbicides.
Fish waste might exasperate existing neighbor relations .
No ponds nearby, though if the plot was closer to home,  an azolla barrel could be a nice way to water.

The soil is still too cold to plant corn,  so I have a week or two to get something in place.
I'll  call some horse boarding stables, ask about their feed.
I actually know a guy who has one on his farm,  but I'm not trying to bogart his fertilizer.
 
steward
Posts: 5150
Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
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William Bronson wrote:The horse poop seems perfect,  but I'm leary because of the potential for persistent herbicides.



I concur. I stopped importing organic materials into my garden, because it was too hard to properly vet them. My first rule of healthy gardening is don't poison myself..
 
John Indaburgh
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Location: SW PA USA zone 6a altitude 1188ft
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If you want to grow corn organically, you have to start somewhere. The food you're eating now likely has the same herbicides as is likely in the hay and grain the horses ate; assuming you're not growing the herbicide free corn to feed cattle for your future food. It's convenient if you have an endless supply of compost for your new gardening plans. Everyone in this country has access to a horse boarding facility, even those in New York City from my googling tests. There are a lot of folks looking to get started gardening in these times; and there is a lot of of manure out there to help them grow the food they desperately need. I obtained some late this winter and they begged me to take more. I checked another site a week ago and there had been one person take a small amount. This site was paved up to the manure pile and was a slight slope down to get out. But it was very old manure with wood chip bedding.
I don't grow root crops or leafy veggies in soil with recently added manure. If I start a new potato patch I dig in the manure the previous fall. I grow lettuce in the ground I grew, for instance tomatoes, the previous year.
 
pollinator
Posts: 2004
Location: 4b
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If there is a brewery anywhere near you, spent brewery grain is free, at least here, and it works well as fertilizer.  
 
William Bronson
gardener
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Location: Cincinnati, Ohio,Price Hill 45205
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John,  I ain't worried about herbicides and pesticides in horse poop or other biological waste streams because of my health.

I'm concerned that the herbicides will kill my plants and the pesticides will kill my soil life.
Still,  I'm not ruling the poop out.

I'm about to clean out the chickens deep bedding, and I'm wondering if I put it at the bottom of this new bed, would it mellow fast enough to be ready by the time the corn roots reach it.
 
Posts: 70
Location: Berkshire County, Ma. 6b/4a. Approx. 50" rain
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Try making some compost tea/ferment with the chicken bedding?

First year with schools so I've never tried it. I heard of the idea from skillcult on YouTube. He basically just soaks the chicken manure in water until he wants to use it.

What's the USDA confirmed growing season like? I'm zone 5ish and I know a couple gardeners who succession plant corn until like mid June. If you added some water to the chicken bedding it might be useable, straight up, in a few weeks.
 
pollinator
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Another option might be interplanting beans or some.legume

I think alfalfa mulch is a great idea but could get spendy fast
 
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