Using manure in your garden?

If you are thinking about asking your neighbor to mock the barn and use that wonderful manure in your garden, think again… I have recently had a discussion about herbicides in hay with a local farmer, who has an MS degree in Agronomy and Soil (Weed Science) from Auburn University. He has opened my eyes on the issue of prevalence of herbicides in hay ( MSMA, Grazon, Roundup, etc). So, here is a very short summary: The use or herbicides requires keeping animals off the pasture for a period of several weeks after spraying and, depending on the cut, the hay may be classified anywhere between very poisonous to mildly poisonous. Arsenic in MSMA makes it illegal, but farmers still widely use it. When we took our buck to burn off his spur the other day to the Fayetteville Animal Clinic, my husband proceeded to ask the farmers who brought their cows for dehorning, if any of them knew who would be selling hay without MSMA in it. They said nobody they knew did…

Have you heard on the news lately that even organic juices of certain brands contain prohibited amount of arsenic? I wonder what they use as a fertilizer in their orchards. My issue is not only with MSMA (which, I mind you, is banned), but any kind of herbicide, and not only because the animals will get a dose of it and excrete it in their milk, manure and urine. From manure, it will end up in your veggies, or, depending on the kind of herbicide used, will kill your veggies and make your entire garden a useless piece of land for up to 10 years. I have a problem with herbicides because they may harm fish, amphibians, bugs, and unless, you are not made of the same organic compounds as the rest of the living creatures on this planet, may eventually harm you. Maybe a little, maybe a lot. Your kidneys may take it, your kid’s ones may not. Are you willing to take the risk? My kids are taught to drink a lot of water (Army training) simply because I cannot guarantee that all that they eat does not contain traces of herbicides and pesticides. Of course, I do not wish to load any more chemicals knowingly unto their little kidneys.

Unfortunately, I lost my supplier of untreated hay last year…

So, we ordered an arsenic detection kit (for our well and our newly bought hay), and I will be updating your shortly on the tests… Painful, is the word that comes to my mind, just thinking about it.

Here is how we fight weeds in the garden. Mulching, laundry and cleaning tables are some good chores for five-year-olds:-)

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