Today one of our projects was to start preparing our garden beds for spring. Our goal is to try and be 100% organic in the food we raise. Our cattle are 100% organic--meaning no hormones, or injections, and they eat our farm produced 100% organic hay. Which then means, their output is 100% organic. Garden fertilizer you buy from the store may or may not be organic-and if it isn't, those chemicals are then passed into the food which it is used on.
So, a daughter (who wished to not be named in today's endeavor) and I went out to the cow pen and gathered two large mineral buckets of cow...."patties". We gathered enough to fertilize 3 of my raised beds with a 2 inch layer. Later, we will add more topsoil (as it settles during winter), and work the fertilizer throughout the dirt.
You can't use most manures straight on plants or they will burn and kill the plants. Cow manure falls in that category, and it needs to age at least 30 days first. So, buy starting to prepare my beds now will ensure they won't kill my plants when I start planting in late March.
When I get to the strawberry beds, I will use rabbit pellets, as they don't need to cure first and can be applied directly to the plants. The strawberry plants winter in their bed as do the blueberry bushes.
In late Feb, I will start our plants growing inside, then when they are ready I will move outside unless we are having a late snow.
As for my daughter who helped,.....our farm house sits way back from the road, yet every time a car went down the road, she had to duck and hide, least someone see her using a shovel to gather the patties. It was rather comical. I had to remind her that at one time it was common practice for people who lived on the prarie or traveled in wagon trains to burn them for heat and to cook their food. Oh, the look of horror on her face!