Wholly in the spirit of the perma-misunderstanding (see previous post) we asked the shepherd for manure of his sheep. We would like to improve our soil, and we thought to do this with manure. The shepherd came with his pickup truck and dropped its load of fresh sheep manure at the back of our house.
Hendrik first put a robe over the heap, because it would rain that week. And the manure should 'ripen a bit', as in the past it had already been heard that old manure is better for the garden than fresh. Fresh manure does not add anything to the soil. The parts in the manure, which are so carefully consumed by the animals, rinse out with the first rainfall, and the solid parts remain as a thin layer of straw. Many will certainly know this. So I am not telling something new here. But it is nice to remind about a "certain development".
Meanwhile ... we were exploring the internet and learned from microbiologist Dr. Elaine Ingham that manure is not needed at all... and if one wants to use it, it is a must to compost it. A very remarkable remark that has been proven to be true over time... by the results of our garden!
Here the nicely digested sheep manure. We still have some:
And so it came to pass that Hendrik made an extra tarpaulin over the manure, and made some reinforcements to prevent it from blowing away, and to isolate the heap from outside influences. Completely according to his manner of composting grasses and herbs. In this case the manure stayed there exactly for a half year. Simply on the ground, in the grass, under its plastic cover.
And so we found out that this is what you need to do with manure.
Even the cabbage (a crop known for its 'high demand for fertilizers') makes no distinction between grass compost and composted manure. Although we suspect that the manure contains more NPK... we see no difference in the results also.
And the weird thing is that we do not need NPK (or whatever extra mineral) afterwards. For now we have understood (and it took quite a long time) that our soil contains all the minerals that we need. Whether it is with grass compost or composted manure... the microbes in the organic substance (helped by fungi and the secreting of acids by the plants) transform the minerals in our garden soil into plant food. Our garden has shown this to us in the recent years!
We would prefer to roam around, that this part of Portugal has a soil type, which has a great potential. But nobody has understood this correctly. People watch us with glassy eyes and remain friendly. But who will say what they think, meanwhile? What they say is that the garden is beautiful. Well ... and yet we are not wizards.