Spent the past 5 days working on my garden. I left it fallow last year, so it was covered with deeply rooted grass and clover. Perfect for nitrogen fixing in the soil! But... that quilted cover of grass and clover proved to be difficult to break up.
Took a trip back to the farm by the Ashokan Reservoir to pick up six more bags of composted manure. I worked 24 bags of this mix into the garden soil in total. I figure about 1,100 pounds. So, I've really built up the soil.
Tough hack working the compost in. I had to use a pointed hoe to tear up the surface. Every year I think about having the small engine repair guy blow out the carburetor in Myrna's Mantis tiller. Then, I think:
"Shit... might as well get the exercise and spend the time outdoors."
What a back breaking job! Also, great exercise. After tearing apart the surface with the pointed hoe, I had to use a pitchfork to turn over the soil. Finally, a metal rake to smooth out the surface.
Still a lot of grass and clover roots in the soil that will try to take hold. I'll be picking those out of the soil by hand over the next couple of weeks before planting. If the manure produces weeds, I'll have to pull those out, too.
My girlfriend asked me whether the compost smells. It does, but not like poop. The overwhelming odor is ammonia from pee. So, lots more nitrogen.
I've worked in an especially heavy dose of the manure in the area where I'll plant tomatoes. Tomatoes are the ultimate goal of any garden. Gotta have lots of big, ripe beefsteak, plum and cherry tomatoes.