Since the weather is singing a wintry tune, it’s time for greenhouse musings and a moo poo tea giveaway. First, the musings. Bill and I weren’t ready for the sudden cold snap when it came. Although we have propane heat with an electric backup, we forgot to check the propane before the “polar vortex”–what a silly phrase–came down from the north country. We ran out in the large cylinders, but did have the one attached to the grill. Before we discovered the problem, the small electric heater did keep the greenhouse at 47F degrees and the plants from freezing. Not bad when the outdoor temperature is 23F. That’s why we have backup heat.
The cuttings shown above were from about a week ago. They were tiny, but they’re already growing fast. Part of that is due to manure tea.
As I wrote before, Bill worked hard to get water in the greenhouse, and I’m very grateful. I no longer have to harken back to my forebears and haul five gallon buckets of water down from the main pump.
Last year, we had a lot of snow and ice, and we live on a hill so that wasn’t fun. Most of the cuttings are doing well. I always lose a few because they simply don’t take off, so cut extras and plan for loss. Later, you can take more cuttings from those started inside the greenhouse. The greenhouse has microclimates just like your garden does. I’ve started some spinach in a pot at the cool end, and I placed amaryllis pots at the warm end. I’m trying to encourage three, red gift amaryllis from Longfield Gardens to bloom by Christmas. The selections are ‘Splash‘, ‘Magnum‘ and ‘Double King.’
About the tea giveaway–Helen Weis from Unique by Design Landscaping and Containers purchased gift packages of Annie’s manure tea and I’m giving it away on the blog. Winners will receive a package containing six bags of manure tea which look like the photo below.
Our friend, Annie Haven, who lives in drought stricken southern California, has wonderful manure tea that she dries, bags in muslin and ships to you. She owns a cattle ranch where her producers make plenty of poo, and she can tell you exactly what they’ve eaten all year. No, persistent herbicides in her moo poo brew–no sir! Just good old-fashioned nitrogen and nutrients your plants need to keep them at their best. I use manure tea in the garden a lot especially when I’m starting things from cuttings, or when I hydrate seeds before planting. I dip fresh cuttings in a rooting hormone. I like Clonex CLO100 Rooting Compound Gel, 100ML because it adheres to the stem. Then, I plunk them into good potting soil and place finely ground chicken grit on top to keep the cuttings evenly moist while discouraging fungus gnats. I keep the cuttings well watered for a few days and then begin feeding them once a week with manure tea. Because manure tea is diluted, it makes an excellent foliar fertilizer. It won’t burn leaves.
Instead of going up to the chicken house, digging up some droppings and making your own bags, you can get dried manure lovingly packed by Annie, and stop the muss and fuss. I even listed Annie’s manure tea as a resource in my book,The 20-30 Something Garden Guide: A No-Fuss, Down and Dirty, Gardening 101 for Anyone Who Wants to Grow Stuff.
Moo poo tea is easy to brew too. I use three tea bags to a five gallon bucket of water. The longer the water sits, the stronger the tea. However, you can brew it in smaller amounts. Please forgive the photo above. My greenhouse is in transition with the plants and quite messy at the moment.
I reuse the tea bags two more times realizing that just like drinking tea, the brew gets weaker with each brew. After the final use, I throw the tea bags onto my compost pile where they naturally decay.
This year, Christmas presents for my gardening friends will feature Authentic Haven Brand manure tea. It’s great for house plants, hydrating seeds, rooting cuttings and giving your amaryllis and other indoor bulbs a dose of good growing.
So, here’s how we’ll do the giveaway. There will be three winners. Please comment below to enter, and if you don’t mind–this is to help Annie after all–share this post on your social media outlets. Helen and I get nothing from this giveaway other than jewels in our crown and/or good karma depending upon how you look at these things. I go for jewels myself. The giveaway runs from today through next Thursday at Noon. Winners will be chosen randomly from a random number generator, and, I’m sorry, but this giveaway is only open to continental United States residents. I don’t think anyone wants us mailing manure overseas or into Canada.
The weather outside is frightful for November, but the greenhouse is warm and inviting. The greenhouse gives me an excuse to try many different things. There will be failures because I’m stretching my gardening wings. This fall, I’m trying to grow ranunculus and freesia. From what I’ve read, they need a cool greenhouse environment because unlike bulbs, which have the flowers down inside, they don’t. They need light to set flowers. My greenhouse is set up at 50F which isn’t super warm, but it’s too warm for them. I’ve put them in the cold frame to cool their heels. I don’t know if it will work. Oklahoma weather is so changeable you’re always taking a chance, but if you don’t try, then you don’t grow.
Enter to win manure tea below, and thanks for playing!
UPDATE: Here are the winners of the ?#?moopootea? giveaway: Beth Teel, Alexander Solla and Valerie Gleason. Congratulations to all of you! I’ve emailed everyone, and once they send me their snail mail addresses, I’ll get their tea out to them. If you’re just now seeing this and want another giveaway, see my current post on amaryllis. I’m giving away a ‘Red Lion’ amaryllis and another three-pack of manure tea.