[permaculture] Re: goats vs compost

Lawrence F. London, Jr. lfl at intrex.net
Sun May 22 14:12:02 EDT 2005

Rain Tenaqiya wrote:

>It seems to me that you have to figure out what you want the most, quick nutrient recycling and goat products, or organic matter.  Animals greatly reduce the volume of organic matter in a system by breaking it down more quickly.  The same comparison can be made to mulching versus composting, especially hot composting.
It should be an easy decision when the intent is to use the end product 
to grow crops:  mulching is the clear winner - direct application to 
growing beds, i.e. permanent notill raised beds. If animal manure is to 
be used then it should be mixed with
vegetable matter (weeds, crop residues, etc.)  for a short time before 
applying to growing beds if cropping is underway, if not then manure and 
biomass can be put on the beds directly or onto beds with cover crops 
growing. This is the best way to utilize manure.
This allows extra feeding for fungi that extract minerals from rock 
particles to in turn feed plants.

>  Mulching preserves organic matter for longer.  Organic matter is so important for so many reasons that it is important not to just assume that it is best to gather it all up and compost it or feed it to animals.
Grow crops and weeds specifically to feed livestock; all other plant 
material should be applied as mulch to gardens. You do more than provide 
nutrients this way, microbial life is increased and stabilized, more 
soil moisture is retained,
soil becomes better aerated and has better tilth.

I'll post some pix of arrays of large raised beds I've created on my 
land this year to grow crops for market.  I am using large equipment, 
hopefully only once or twice, to create these beds that will become 
permanently notill eventually.
Lots of horsepower up front then hand tillage only from then on; I will 
be fabricating special human powered equipment and hand tools for 
effective long-term maintenance.


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