Fertilizer Makes Corn Happy

This very brown pile is responsible for making our corn very happy.

You see, corn requires heavy amounts of nitrogen in order to yield well. The manure/straw bedding that is taken from the sheep stalls is loaded with nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium — the main elements essential for healthy plant growth. (Raw manure, containing ammonium-N, which will dissipate when exposed to the heat and air of the outdoors, is applied to the soil early in the Spring.)

The pile in the picture came from one very large stall that wasn’t cleaned along with the others a few months ago—and had over-wintered. David estimated its weight at 4-5 tons! It’s a very difficult job breaking the mass apart in the stalls, separating it into wagon loads and taking it to the compost area away from the barn. And to say the ammonia odor is “strong” is an understatement!! However, the contents are rich in “plant food” and feeds the garden soil that is constantly at work to “feed” and nourish the plants.

The remants of the pile will compost itself and shrink down. We’ll use it in the Fall or even next Spring. Right now? The corn’s pretty happy—if a vegetable can be “happy”.