Beware Composted Sheep Manure
The Farmer and I planted a garden earlier this spring. Here’s what it looked like:
I worried that I’d have to weed a lot, but we used newspapers and cardboard as mulch, and we only had to pull a few weed between plants. I dove into my busy summer, happily picking spinach from the garden until the spinach was done.
After the spinach, nothing else was ready so I sort of forgot about it. But then one day I looked up and the garden had grown into something huge and scary. There was hardly a weed to be seen. The big scary green things were the plants themselves.
We’d spaced things as if our soil was average, sort of forgetting that the soil was composted sheep manure. Oops.
The beans were out of control, climbing on everything. If I’d stood still near those beans for five minutes they would have taken me down without a squeak. The cosmos became a freakin’ bush. The squash should have been planted in the next township to have enough room to spread. The potatoes and peas went wild.
We planted a jungle.
I had to pick the basil because our neighbors were going to show us how to make pesto, so I took my cell with me, made sure I had 911 on the speed dial, then ventured into the garden, hacking my way with a machete, stopping for water breaks every ten minutes, and trying to remain calm in the towering sea of green.
I picked the basil, thrashed my way back to the edge, and emerged in one piece, light-headed with relief.
We now have lots of homemade pesto. The tomatoes are ripening. The pole beans are nearly ready. The yellow squash is done. The winter squashes are growing. We still have the potatoes to harvest. And there are even a few hardy eggplants fighting the beans and tomatoes for sun and soil. The neighbor helped us pick the green beans, and that’s when I remembered I didn’t really like to cook beans, nor eat them. Another oops.
Next year? A garden twice the size, with half the green beans and twice the basil. Squash and pumpkins banished to the edges of the yard. Spinach planting staggered so it lasts longer.
And we’ll also go a little easier on the sheep manure. It’s powerful stuff.