This past winter we spread chicken manure compost on two beds in the garden. As a result, we are seeing a huge difference in these beds compared to past years. For example, the picture below is the biggest and most glorious looking cabbage I’ve ever grown. I almost expect to see a baby in it every time I go to the garden.
The entire cole row seems to be doing quite well despite some pest problems. I’ve had to BT it for cabbage worms and squished many offending cucumber beetles.
At the end of the cole row are three Brussels sprout plants. We ran out of chicken compost to spread, so the end of the row only received a light sprinkling when the bed was hand tilled. You can really see a difference in the size compared to the rest of the plants. (Admittedly, Brussels sprouts may not grow as aggressively as the other Brassicas.)
When I reached the end of the cole crop bed there were still two Brussels sprouts left, so I planted them in a neighboring bed that did not get any compost this year. These two look positively anemic compared to the other three.
The onions we planted are also shaping up to be the best we’ve ever grown. We are in shock at how big they are. This row also had chicken compost applied to it.
Our garlic is also doing well. There seems to be a difference between the two rows but it’s not because of compost. The row on the right had the weeds hoed down and Solomon’s fertilizer mix applied to them much earlier in the spring. Even though the row on the left was neglected longer, it is still growing nicely and will be the best crop of elephant garlic ever (assuming there aren’t last minute R.O.U.S. problems).
If the weather is nice this weekend we are going to buy a truck load of compost to add to some freshly tilled areas in the garden. Compost can also encourage certain soil dwelling pests (specifically Symphyla), but the striking contrast between our various existing beds has inspired us to risk adding a little more organic matter. It has been raining ever since Monday and the weeds are taking off in the garden. I predict a lot of hoeing when the weather breaks.