>>I would advocate going another step further in choosing not to use
animal manure in the growing process as their are other means of
nourishing the soil rather than animal manure.<<
Perhaps you didn't see my first post explaining the purpose of the
Also, many of you here have been in a position to be gardening
organically for a long time or are well established on your land,
while I am trying to restore a new (to me) piece of land that is
planted to horrid commercial pine trees, and turn it into a wholesome
sustainable farm AS WE ARE ABLE.
The PURPOSE of my farm is FIBER, for spinning and knitting, weaving,
Therefore I bought well-adapted native sheep (who have successfully
lived in our HOT humid climate for 500 years; more if you count their
ancestors' early days in the hot areas of Spain). I raise various
species of silk worms (and their food plants), and have been gathering
seed for fiber plants (naturally colored cotton).
It is a KINDNESS to the sheep to shear them, especially in our hot
climate! The breed I have is so rare, and the bloodline I purchased
was developed so carefully, I can sell my spare ram lambs as breeders,
not as meat. That is wonderful, and not an accident. I looked for a
line that would be valuable enough to sell as breeders rather than a
few dollars a pound as meat.
I raise chickens and have learned I cannot eat any sentient thing I
have taken care of. The hens voluntarily give me their eggs, and that
is my primary protein source.
However, I have the gut of a predator, and I do eat meat (mostly eggs,
but also responsibly-raised organic meats and wild fish).
I have as much right to eat as my heritage provides, as anyone else
does to eat according to THEIR values.
I hope this list will stop featuring posts where people try to tell
others what to do.
A person ONLY has the right to regulate her or his actions, and NO
right to dictate or preach to others.
I do not tell vegans to eat meat, and never have, so it gets tiresome
when someone gets into a vegan rant that judges anyone who does not
share their beliefs. I have been beaten up by vegan rants too often
to count, yet I have not ranted at them in return. Pax. No ranting
on EITHER side.
This list should be a good place to SHARE farming IDEAS in a TOLERANT
and OPEN MINDED environment.
Make this a totalitarian or absolutist place, and many people whose
land could have benefited tremendously from these methods will be
offended or scared off, and will not stay here to LEARN.
The more people who learn minimal gardening, the better off the entire
world will be. Don't scare off new converts!
Every person who has posted along those veins must surely also have
EXPERIENCE with organic and natural methods that other list members
could learn from. Please, SHARE THOSE!!!!
BTW, if you anyone on this list knows of anyone who grows cotton that
is genetically a color (not white), I would love to hear from you off
list! Surely there must be naturally colored cotton scattered in
other spots, not just the American South or Peru. It was once grown
in India, for example. I would like to find seeds from other sources.
Also, I am looking for seeds of a variant of the castor plant (Ricinus
Communis, an Indian plant) that has the blackest possible purple
leaves, for my silk worms. In the area of my farm, they grow wild,
die if there is a frost, but are back in spring again. They will
One silkworm species I conserve evolved on castor in India (Philosamia
Eri Ricini) and I have heard that if they are fed "black" castor
leaves, some of the cocoons are pink! An intriguing possibility, and
one the silk moth group would love to hear more about, we are trying
to learn about producing naturally colored silk by altering what is
fed to the caterpillars. So, I would love seeds from such plants (I
also love plants that are vivid and have a lot of color or interesting
To get back to FARMING, I will use the university manure to prepare
the former commercial tree plantation to become PASTURE, for sheep we
will not be eating (just collecting their fiber).
I will also use the university cow manure to establish the non-edible
gardens, fiber plants, dye plants, and exotic ornamentals. Once
established, they will provide their own nutrients, and no further
amendments should be needed.
I am NOT planning animal manure to grow food, I plan to start my
edible garden with organic straw bale beds, and expand from there.
Though a close friend manages the local farmer's market and grows all
her common and exotic veggies organically, so I actually need not grow
ANY of my own food plants to eat the healthiest possible organic
As for young trees, the sheep will have mineral block and baking soda
(they seem to seek it out when the weather is extra hot, maybe it
helps with electrolytes), and supplement with hay and alfalfa and
other goodies when pasture is sparse, but if they eat the bark off all
the young trees when they arrive, they will not have shade in the
pastures for the long blazing hot afternoons of summer later on.
I want to preserve the rarest native trees as shade trees and
specimens, by protecting their trunks from the sheep. I will enjoy
pointing them out when we have farm tours to educate school children
about sustainable agriculture and low-impact farming.
I don't remember who said it, but yes, sheep need a certain amount of
roughage, and this breed was feral for over 400 years, so their
digestive systems are more like goats, they love to browse on shrubby
plants. Mine actually are not as interested in grass as in yummy
weeds and hay. Which with the Fukuoka method and strategic
re-positioning of hay bales, they will get plenty of!
laurie (Mother Mastiff)
Southeastern USA (NC and FL)
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