One of our compost piles behind the back gardens.

One of the chief benefits of having a herd of dairy cows is that we have an abundance of manure for the gardens.  My boys are constantly collecting tractor bucket loads of manure and moving it to the compost piles out back.  We maintain these piles throughout the year for the improvement of our garden soil, which allows us to avoid the use of any chemical fertilizers or other commercial products as we constantly improve our garden soil and produce healthy fruits and vegetables.

God created all living things so that their physical bodies return to the soil after death.  This is not only true or human beings but all living things–plants, insects, animals, weeds, fruits, etc..   We see this process in the Fall, when all of the leaves produced for the growth of the tree fall and return to the soil.  Nature teaches us how composting works and, as we make greater demands on the soil than trees do, we have to make greater efforts to give more back.  The goal on a farm is to take from the soil only that which is necessary and allow everything else to return to the soil.  Cows eat grass, hay and grains, draw from the food all the nutrients their bodies need and put the rest back on the ground.  Humans are the only ones who tend to take from the earth and make no return.

A close-up of the contents of the compost pile–cow manure, leaves, egg shells, coffee grinds, kitchen scraps, garden waste, wood ash and hay.

The trash can should not be for organic waste.  Metals, glass and plastics should go to the dump, but any vegetable matter should go to the compost pile–even for a small backyard garden.  Leaves, soil, kitchen scraps, etc., can be collected in a compost pile or bin and used for gardening.  This is why complaining about the native soil in a place makes no sense–gardening and composting is what makes the soil good!

In our kitchen, we keep a bucket for organic waste that the boys take out and dump in the compost pile every day.  All of our cow manure, uprooted garden plants, weeds, hen house bedding, wasted hay, etc., goes to the compost pile as well.  There, it sits and decomposes throughout the year.  The end product is rich, fertile garden soil that is added to the garden every time we prepare a new bed for planting.

Therefore, whether you’re on a farm or can fit a small compost bin on your back deck, doing so can make good use any organic waste and leave you with rich garden soil.

-Bill Michael




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