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Green Barbarians–Ellen Sandbeck

A Buddha A Day–Ellen Sandbeck


Dear Ellen,

I am trying to find some good info about how to get horse manure ready to put in vege garden and about using bunny poop.

This is the scoop: (hahaha)

Someone gave me bunny poop mixed in with stove pellets and a LOT of straw. They said I can put the poop right with the vege seeds or starts directly. She said that I don't have to do anything. Then I read that the straw will cause a nitrogen deficiency in the soil.

I was interested in horse manure, but heard about tetanus, need to compost really well before putting into plants, etc. I got scared off. What do you know? I am trying to get my seeds and starts for winter rain garden NOW but don't know what to do.

I have a lot of worm compost but this garden is huge and I need more soil/bulk over the gopher wire. Also, how much soil (in inches or feet) should I have above the gopher wire?

Annie, Santa Cruz, California

Dear Annie,

Bunny poop can be put right in the garden, but the stove pellets and the straw will need to be composted first. Horse manure should definitely be composted before it is put in the garden, because of weed seeds and heat, not because of tetanus. The tetanus bacillus exists everywhere there is dirt. If you haven't gotten a tetanus shot within the last ten years, go get a tetanus shot! By the way, the tetanus bacillus can grow in a scratch or a cut, it doesn't really require a puncture wound.

You will probably need at least a foot of dirt above the gopher wire if you are going to grow carrots. If you're only going to grow lettuce or small rooted crops, 6 inches will probably do.

Environmentally yours,



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