26 Jun 2006
Muck Glorious Muck…
Access to manure is an important part of maintaining soil fertility in an organic system, the problem can often be tracking down where to get it from. Humanure composting is not an option for everyone (or rather is *perceived* as not being an option), so manure it is. Before I get howls of derision from vegan gardeners out there arguing that there are ways of coping without it, I am aware of that, but for me, you can’t beat a nice bit of muck. Anyway, the question then arises as to where to get it from. Well, wonder of wonders, here is a website that tells you all the places near you (UK only I’m afraid) where you can find free muck. Don’t say you never get something for nothing at **Transition Culture**. Once you’ve got your horse manure, here is something else you can do with it while it is composting…
Tim Doherty at Log Cabin Chronicles has a very entertaining piece where he talks about you can cook three freshly caught trout with approximately 300 lbs. of fresh horse manure, one large bale of clean straw (50 to 100 lbs.) and several cups of dolomitic limestone ( he doesn’t say why he doesn’t just make a fire and grill them!). You basically make a hot compost heap, carefully layered, so that it gets up to 140-160 degrees.
This can take a while, so this is one meal you need to plan in advance. When the inside of the heap reaches the required heat, wrap your trout in tin foil and pop them into the middle. You then wait 18 hours (this is clearly not a recipe for if family call in unexpectedly). Then, he writes;
>prepare a bed of fresh spinach to receive the trout. At the appointed meal time, gather your friends and proceed to the composting area to retrieve your “repas.
The resultant slow cooked trout is supposed to be delicious.
The same principle of using hot composting to do more than just make compost is found in the work of the great Jean Pain, who used the heat from hot compost heaps to heat greenhouses and houses (see right). I remember the Organic Centre in Leitrim did some experiments with this. So there you go, horse manure, fantastic stuff, and available free near you(free fish not included).
I also heard recently about an initiative in Cornwall to make paper out of sheep manure, as a tourist gimmick, which I thought was a great idea. Perhaps horse manure paper could catch on…. maybe even horse manure fabric? Then we might see the advertising slogan, “Where There’s Muck There’s Bras”. Ramble ramble, I must go now, and do something useful….