After a season of blooms and/or the bounty of nature’s harvest from the garden, many gardeners are now cleaning up debris and turning over soil to prepare for next season’s plantings. Breaking up compacted clumps and loosening decaying roots helps to add nutrients back into the soil. Fall is the best time to add composts and manures to rejuvenate nutrient-deficient or underperforming soil prior to winter.
Reap What You Sow
This old adage bears the wisdom (and experience) of farming today. We’re familiar with the concept of crop rotation and its many benefits: maximize soil nutrients by turning over crop waste, systematically manage different crops in the same area to minimize soil-borne diseases and soil-dwelling insects, reduce soil erosion, and increase soil yield and fertility. Do your customers know, too?
For consumers with zero patience or those wanting a quick fertility solution, you’ll want to stock composts or manures that can be spaded or broadcast into the garden bed to fortify the soil over the winter months.
Use signage or in-aisle staff to ensure your customers understand the value of adding soil supplements in the fall: The better the planting soil, the better the health and yield of your plants.
Choose Manures Wisely
For years, farmers have spread their share of fresh manures, allowing its decomposition to work wonders in the soil. Many homeowners, however, tend to turn their noses up at the fragrance.
Fresh manures will provide some hot temperatures and some weed seeds that need to be managed over time. While fall weather provides warm days and cool nights, it’s also favorable for weed seeds to germinate and sprout.
By adding manures to a compost pile of leaves and lawn clippings in the spring and summer, allowing it to work its magic over time via aeration and separation, a dark loamy soil is produced. Rich in nitrogen, trace elements, microorganisms and worm castings, this top dressing delivers impressive results in the garden. But, it takes time to create a well-rotted, nutrient-rich manure.
For the gardener who doesn’t have time or space to compost, bagged composted cow manure is a traditional go-to. This type of soil amendment is a moist, heavier manure that would clump right out of the bag. With a shovel or hoe in hand, a bit of elbow grease is needed to work it into the ground.
Dehydrated manures provide the benefits of composted without the smell or moisture content. In many cases, these products may be applied to the lawn or garden bed through a spreader. Hoffman’s Super Manure is one such dehydrated manure product that remains popular today.
For a unique manure option, try Coop Poop. It’s an aerobically dehydrated chicken manure that’s all-natural and rich in humates. This slow-release, non-burning fertilizer enhances the soil and promotes root development and plant growth. Coop Poop is also OMRI-listed and widely used by organic gardeners.
Today’s Premium Composts
Our industry has developed some great products over the past decade or so for retail sales. Premium composts like leaf compost, mushroom compost and lobster compost have exploded onto the garden scene with great success. These products have superseded the traditional composts and are the unquestioned leaders of soil amendments today.
The Coast of Maine Quoddy Blend Lobster Compost comes from crushed and well-composted lobster shells. This product has the added benefit of naturally occurring calcium to combat blossom end rot on tomatoes. It’s a must-have product for vegetable gardens everywhere! The Quoddy Blend Lobster Compost is OMRI-listed with no municipal wastes and no bio-solids. This premium compost will revitalize your customers’ home gardens.
If your customers’ plants looked like they “pooped” out during the summer heat, maybe they should consider putting some “poop” in (or compost) during the fall, so they can plant in some “real dirt” come spring.