NOW IS THE TIME
By Eunice Messner

IF YOU DIDN'T KNOW

I felt remiss in not explaining to our many new members more about the EZ Green chicken composted manure that is group purchased annually. (O.C. Organic Gardening club helps us attain the minimum order of 400 bags.) EZ Green has been certified
organic, world-wide, by the OMRI organization. It is even shipped to Japan, a country noted for being extremely particular about quality.

I have been intrigued by what I have read over time about the unusual uses of manure in general. In Africa, women have used it as a hair dressing or even medicinally for its healing properties. In India, where hard, polished, dirt floors were the norm, a solution of manure was spread on the floor - then their native 'naan' bread was rolled out on this surface.

In the United States there are eleven million cattle with each one producing eleven tons of manure each year. I don't have the statistics for chickens, but there is a lot poop and I do think our creator meant it for our use. Of all the manures, chicken has the
least salts.

I subscribe to a paper, ACRES USA that is a voice for eco-agriculture. In a recent article I gleaned some interesting information: In ruminant animals, microorganisms can make up from one-quarter to one-half of the total weight of the manure. These microorganisms are an essential part of the manure's decomposition, and they are a major reason why the use of manure is so beneficial. The solid part is very similar to complexes found in humus in the soil. The manure itself acts as a sponge and increases the water-holding capacity of many soils. These benefits translate into increased yields.

In addition, manure has shown potential in improving the microbial content of the soil and controlling plant diseases. It has also beenfound that the use of manure increased the level of mycorrhizae in the soil. And very rarely is there a deficiency of any
micronutrient on a field amended with manure. It is said to even deter some foliar diseases." (If you went to Dr. Partida's Cal Poly tour, then you'll remember his excitement about converting to organics and using manure, humates and mulch for healthier
trees.)

I might add, EZ Green also acts as a compost starter and supplies some nitrogen. Sprinkle it lightly over your layer of carbohydrates and then add a layer of grass clippings (more nitrogen). Your finished compost will supply available phosphate and the needed potash to acidify our alkaline soil.

If you are applying your EZ Green on top of the soil, then cover it with compost or mulch to keep the nitrogen from dissipating and also to contain the initial odor. On Western soils, the suggested rate of application is between one-half and one pound per square foot per year.


(note) If any of you are a farmer at heart, then you may wish to subscribe to ACRES USA. Send $27 to

P.O. Box 91299, Austin TX 78709

MORE ON MY BLACK THUMB

I've talked with many authorities and they think it is "iffy" that the herbicide clopyralid found in grass clippings could be the culprit for my loss of trees. But cities that are in the recycling business and selling compost made from grass clippings are very concerned. As a consequence, the Dept. of Pesticide Regulation has sent out notices to lawn product companies to ban its use on lawns. It will still be available for farmlands, rangelands and forests.(Groan) A healthy lawn shouldn't need herbicides in the first place. Just mow your lawn high and leave the grass clippings fall in place. Or, use earth friendly corn gluten, an excellent pre-emergent solution for weeds. It also is a fertilizer. So, I still don't know the reason my trees died. There is the possibility
that on my sandy slope it was the stress of blossoming and setting fruit without any winter rain. There are always emitters that aren't functioning properly and my usual spring check-up should have been started months earlier this year