|Pepper plant affected by persistent herbicide in Cobb County, GA. PHOTO/Amy W.|
I have a friend who has been farming for a very long time, and his life experience has told him that Manure Is Good.
He has friends – owners of stables of horses – who offer to provide him with enormous amounts of composted manure, and he accepts.
Even though he has had trouble with manure before (a couple of years ago), he spread it on some of his planting beds again this year, and the tomato-family plants, not too surprisingly, have become twisty and weird.
The leaves from before the spreading of the compost look fine, but all the growth since the application looks pretty bizarre.
The North Carolina State Univ. publication about Herbicide Carryover explains that the chain of herbicide-treated hay to horse to compost needs to be very clear. Unfortunately, in the casual exchanges of small-plot farmers, the information chain can become a little vague. That can be a problem for garden-farmers who are hoping to produce healthful food from their land.
For any of us who have always thought that manure can be a great amendment to the soil for their vegetables, it is good to remember that times have changed, and that not all composted manures are what they used to be.