On Sat, 11 Mar 2000 20:13:29 +0200, Rachael Pettus wrote:
>I live in Cyprus where I have been growing veg for a while. [snip]
>Chemical fertilisers are de rigeur here now, but people in the villages
>still use goat or donkey manure on their home gardens. They just pile
>it into a truck and dump in in their fields in a big pile, then shovel
>it on and work it in as needed. That is viewed as old fashioned, but
>What is 'composting' manure? What do I have to do to make the truckload
>of goat poo sitting in my field safe?
>Sorry if this seems to be a really basic question to be troubling you
>with, but I would appreciate any help or advice you can give.
Totally legitimate question. Very basic, indeed --- in the good sense
of that word --- and an important aspect of proper stewardship.
Good composting is a *simple* process. So simple that about ten years
ago I was able to teach a group of Tzeltal farmers in Chiapas all they
needed to know to make good compost in about 10 minutes. They, like
you, had teachable hearts, and wanted to learn. Here it is ...
1) Roughly equal parts of manure and bedding or assorted plant material
(this usually gives you a pretty good carbon:nitrogen ratio)
2) Enough moisture that when you squeeze it hard, *two* drops come out
(this is usually about 50% moisture)
3) Interior temperature hot enough to really burn your hand (this ends
up being 55-60 C). I showed them how to use a sharpened stick inserted
(and remaining) into the centre of the pile as a thermometer ... pull
it out, and if you can hold on to the tip, it's still to cool.
4) Turn the pile (to add oxygen) when it is to wet and too cool, and
turn it at least every two weeks for two months. When turning no longer
raises the temperature, it's done.
To underscore how simple, conceptually, composting is, I should add
that I had to teach the whole thing in pantomime (!) because the
colleague who was to translate from Spanish to Tzeltal was too sick to
I was back to the same village, this time with translator, two years
later, and they were making perfectly good compost. Anything that can
be taught in ten minutes using pantomime has got to be pretty
straightforward, which is why I'm not particularly sympathetic towards
those gringos who can't (or won't) figure it out.
PS -- sadly for posterity, there is no video of me trying to pantomime
"donkey manure" ... (!)
To Unsubscribe: Email email@example.com with the command
"unsubscribe sanet-mg". If you receive the digest format, use the command
To Subscribe to Digest: Email firstname.lastname@example.org with the command
All messages to sanet-mg are archived at:
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Sun Mar 12 2000 - 14:00:34 EST