Wishetwurra Farm: An Interesting Failure.

We have just had an interesting failure at Wishetwurra Farm.

One of our favored soil-building techniques is to apply nine inches to a foot of manure, usually horse manure, which is what is most easily available, and to then seed that layer with oats. Sometimes we add buckwheat or pease to the mix, but that’s another story.

In the middle of this month I got four truckloads of Omar and Sheila’s horse poo. A couple of days elapsed between the first two loads and the second two. Each section was seeded promptly, the seed watered in, and then covered with a very light application of old eelgrass mulch, to keep the manure from drying out, as the weather is back in drought mode.

Here is a photograph from two days ago. The near section, with almost no growth of oats, is the area where the first two truckloads were applied. The green far section was filled in and planted almost five days later.

What happened?


Wishetwurra Farm bed, with applied manure, sown to oats. Half the bed’s oats grew, half didn’t. (The boxes to the left are the fall planting of squash and cucumbers. They start out under cover to keep the bugs away until the plants get some size to them, and can recover from attack…)

What do you think happened?

The answer will be provided in a few days.

2 responses to “Wishetwurra Farm: An Interesting Failure.

  1. Bingo. The first two loads were fresh manure, which heated up and killed the oat seeds. If you look again at the photo you can see some green at the edge of the first section, where it didn’t get quite so hot. The second two loads were from an older part of the pile. That manure didn’t heat, and the oat seeds survived. Section one has cooled off some, and I’ve reseeded. We shall soon see if it’s cooled off enough.

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