Sunday, April 3, 2011

My Secret Weapons for Growing Food

As I told you last time, I am committed to growing vegetables this year.  I mentioned that I had 2 secret weapons.
Actually, I have 3 weapons, but since I've told you about one of them previously, only 2 are secret. (Do the math!)

Yes, I told you about alpaca poop....aka Golden Beans, in this post here.  I mentioned that I didn't know the scientific properties of alpaca manure offhand.  However, I've put a call out to my paca-peeps and they came through to help me find the information.  A Canadian publication called Camelid Quarterly has an article about the properties of alpaca poop in their June 2008 issue.  You can also find information on this website.

A brief version of the benefits of alpaca manure:
  • lower in organic matter than most other livestock manures - but it still has plenty to improve soil texture and water-holding capacity.
  • This lower organic content allows alpaca manure to be put directly into the garden without fear of "burning" the plants.
  • the nitrogen and potassium content of the droppings are comparatively high to other barnyard animals, giving the indicator of good fertilizer value.
  • the alpaca's 3-stomach digestive system processes food so efficiently that seeds do not survive to become weeds in your garden.
I know that alpaca manure did wonders to my front lawn.  Also, my in-laws have noticed a huge improvement in their vegetable garden since using alpaca manure.

Now that we've got that stuff out of the way...

Here is Secret Weapon #1...
Drum Roll, please.....

Heritage Seeds from Soggy Creek Co. in Nipissing, Ontario.  No more genetically modified, perfect looking, bland-tasting veggies from the grocery store.  I think I`m going to have the best tasting squash, lettuce and purple beans EVER, this year.  Apparently, I will even be able to wear the bean as a mustache (a real plus for menopausal women...I guess...).

Soggy Creek Seeds are produced by Yan & Sherry, a funky, fun couple who run the Piebird Bed & Breakfast in Nipissing, Ontario.   (Check it out...really neat website).
Forget the seeds!  You cannot throw these seed packets out or leave them on sticks to mark garden rows.  Frame these works of art.  (I really think the couple on the "Strange Squash from Outer Space" packet, are indeed Yan & Sherry themselves...coincidence...maybe not...)

Secret Weapon #2

I am the proud card-holding member of three different public libraries.  All these libraries have books to help the novice gardener like me teach myself the fine art of growing food.

I can taste it now.


Azure Islands Designs said...

lol...who knew Alpaca poop was such a wonderful thing??? :0)

The other two "secrets" are great...can't wait to hear more about the "crop"!

I checked out both the seed and bed & breakfast sites...great sites! Just from what I saw on the sites I can totally see Yan & Sherry doing the photo for the seed package! I'm sure they are very interesting people to meet.


Yan! said...

ooo! great Norma! I look forward to seeing photos of you and the alpacas wearing the purple mustache beans!

Wooly Knits n Bits said...

I love that the seeds are from our region. They should be well suited to grow in our part of the world...and provide you with plenty of fresh produce!

Leigh said...

Hurray for public libraries! I'm a constant patron of ours, especially the gardening section.

I have to say that this post makes me wish I had some alpacas. I was finding llama poop to be great stuff, until I lost my Charlie. Now I have to settle for what the chickens and goats give me.

Mountaindreamers said...

I saw your post on Heather's blog, your alpaca are too cute! and what about a greenhouse to go with that fertile soil? We are still having snow here in North WEst Montana so I a thinking of building a simple greenhouse to start seed so I can put it out in July ; )