Since all of us are interested in growing Big tasty tomatoes, I thought some of you would get a chuckle out of this famous garderner's use of his secret fertilizer. Enjoy!
A Tomato Blether
Tomato growing is an occupation fraught with conversational danger. Just inadvertently mention your under-sized spindly tomato plants to a tomato enthusiast (and there's thousands of tomato enthusiasts out there) and you could be stuck for hours listening politely to every conceivable way of nurturing these smelly plants. And such strange names too: Big Boy, Supersonic, Tiny Tim, Outdoor Girl, Money-maker - the list goes on and on.
Apparently Bull's Dung is an excellent medium for growing tomatoes. Something to do with the testosterone content. It brings on the 'Toms' a treat. Good grief, what a thought, but undoubtedly an excellent conversation stopper should you ever need one. And then there's the tomato-ripening properties of the humble banana. Bananas give off a barely detectable gas, you see, very subtle and undetectable to the human nose, a gas that aids tomato ripening. Put the green ones in the kitchen drawer, on newspaper, and add a banana. That should do the trick. So there you are, another conversation stopper.
Now let me tell you this. I could win prizes for my tomatoes if I wanted to. How? Because I know how to grow the best tomatoes in Scotland, juicy, red and tasty, and probably the best in the country. But I don't grow the best in the country. Why not? Well read on, for here comes the ultimate 'conversation stopper' as far as tomatoes go.
Many years ago my grand-parents employed the services of a part-time gardener to help out in the garden. A man called Tom. He was very good at his job and particularly renowned throughout the district for his tomatoes. A tomato grower par excellence. Champion tomatoes they were. Tomatoes with exceedingly good flavour. But strangely enough the plants themselves were quite spindly, quite poor-looking, and not really the sort of specimens you would expect to bear good fruit, though the end product was truly magnificent.
Whenever there was a family gathering Tom's tomatoes were always on the menu, always discussed. "Tasty Tomatoes, these ...lovely flavour...prize winning fruits...splendid texture...wonderful colour..." and so on. And that's the reason why we called him 'Tom' when his real name was actually John.
Just recently, and from a very reliable source, I discovered that Tom had a secret ingredient for growing his tomatoes and, to be perfectly frank, it put me off tomatoes for life. Urine. His special ingredient was urine.
The house had a septic tank, you see, emptied once a year, and Tom held on to the top layer to use as a liquid feed for his tomato plants. He may even have given them a personal sprinkling himself on the odd occasion too. So I could grow the best tomatoes in the country if I wanted to. I really could. No doubt about that. And win prizes for them too. But I don't fancy the idea, not now. Do you?
Actually, Used properly dog manure works wonder, And note that Asian farners used nightsoil for years. (collected and dried human manure) Concept and disease control keeps it from being used in the west. But it is quite "organic"
My mother would take a metal barrel, put about a foot of chicken manure in the bottom of it, fill it the rest of the way up with water, put the lid on it, let it steep for weeks, then use that water for her tomatoes along with regular water. She would bury all the house green mater around them too. Egg shells, coffee grounds, salad stuff, peelings. No meat stuff though! She worked it in real good too, didn't leave any sitting on top. I think when I start my next vegie garden I'm going to try her ways. We had the best beefsteak tomatoes in the whole neighborhood. You could use one slice per sandwich, thats how big they were. Our hamburgers didn't fall apart on us either. Oh, I don't think I'd want to eat tomatoes grown with urine either. Thats just ewwwwww! :)
Judy, I got chickens more for their manure than for the eggs. It's easy to get local organic eggs around here, but no one will part with that henhouse litter! I'm all over that manure tea recipe...
Farmerdill, we're talking fresh dog poop... hot off the dog. I guess fresh anything would burn plants, but this was especially hard on the nose (did he have to plant right by the kitchen?). But I agree that any manure, composted properly, can give big benefits. (But I suspect I'll always be squeamish about dog and human manure used on food crops.)
"hot off the dog" -- OMG, Zeppy! I'm glad I just put my coffee cup down!
Can't have chickens here, but maybe I can talk somebody at the farmer's market into bringing me a couple of scoops to use for that manure tea... I'm assuming that should be aged chicken manure, not hot off the hen, right?
My mother also always watered her tomatoes with her tea in the cool evenings. You don't ever want to put fresh chicken manure around your plants. Way too hot. Horse manure, which I have plenty of, when dry, will grow the best tomatoes without even having soil in the mix. I tossed a half eaten tomato on my manure pile once, and a couple weeks later I had seedlings. I let them grow and grow and grow. lol I got some pretty respectable tomatoes off that pile. I use the manure that has wood shavings in it for my mulch.
My favorite food guy on radio always said, "You are what you eat eats" so the thought of all of these manures and urines do not thrill me. We add nine wheelbarrels of our own compost to the tomato garden every year and I have no uneasiness about eating the wonderful tomatoes.
I can handle cow manure, even chicken manure, but the thought of my own chit or urine is plum nasty. Imagine that.
But now if a cow could grow veggies---do you think it would use its own waste. Probly not.
Just a dooky thing.
OK, when my boys are outside, I have them trained to go pee in the garden instead of the house. Keeps them from tracking in dirt, leaving the door open, etc. And it is supposed to help keep bunnies away, but that isn't working yet. Fortunately, they are well trained children, and pee in the mulched walkways, not on the plants! And my children are on a very good diet LOL...
I read somewhere about how people used to get their tomato seedling from a sewage plant somewhere. That *really* gave me the creeps.
Tamara, I love the fact that you have the boys "watering" the garden path. What wonderful memories they will have! lol They may even grow up to be gardeners and consider this as one of mama's methods of raising big tasty tomatoes. May you have fewer bunnies and bushels of great tasting tomatoes!
lol...Can see it now that I finally have my big boy trained the little ones are going to undo all my hard work. *G*
Little boys are so much more fun I think that girls (can you tell we didn't have lots of boys in my family) I have a few boys from my old neighborhood that call and I go pick up so they can come over (to do what I have no idea) but they are funny as heck. The things that they can have fun with just amaze me. Take for instance the scale, I had it on my kitchen floor and they thought it was the neatest thing to weigh themselves a million times. And the hours they could spend playing with the foodsaver are endless! We have a tennis court that we pay for with our HOA fee's that I've promised to get old equipment so they can go play (pretty sure this is going to be chasing the other around the court with them)
It would be a neat thing though if they wanted to come over and do fall planting with me and I could buy them pots etc to do something they could take home. Humm what is the easiest thing to grow? Something they might even eat.
Carolyn, this started out as a tongue 'n cheek make you chuckle attempt. It has taken a different direction. lol It is entertaining to say the least!
As an aside note, before my retirement as a Director of Facilities in residential treatment facilities, I was responsible for many areas as well as a certified Food Service manager and Waste Water Treatment Plant Operator. (WWTP = sewage) With clorination of the effluent water flow, the purity of the water was drinkable.
Effluent guidelines are national standards for wastewater discharges to surface waters and publicly owned treatment works (municipal sewage treatment plants). We followed effluent guidelines for categories of existing sources and new sources under Title III of the Clean Water Act. The standards are technology-based (i.e. they are based on the performance of treatment and control technologies); they are not based on risk or impacts upon receiving waters.
I was taught early on that you can sterilize manures by putting plastic over it and letting the sun bake it. I've been using horse manure for years and I haven't had any problems because of it. Now I'm going to start wondering. lol Maybe that nagging whinny I do now and then is a by product of manure use. lol Years ago, I talked to an old farmer. He told me the best way to judge a useable manure was to determine if said manure came from a meat eater or a plant eater. Anything from a meat eat is taboo, but plant eaters is ok. Makes sense to me. I'm still going to try that deal my mom did. She used her household leftovers for mulch. Like lettuce, peelings, egg shells, stuff like that. No meat, or things of that nature, like say lasagna, meatloaf. Only vegetable waste. She had the best tomatoes on the block. She learned that from my old neighbor. Mrs. Large's Dahlias were huge!! She had a huge avocado tree that had the biggest avocados I had ever seen. This was when I lived in Cali. Our fig trees were insane with figs. I hated figs. She buried all kinds of stuff around them or by them. Ok, now I'm wanting to make my yard like that. Mom's yard was a garden paradise. I'm rambling again. lol
lol..well a whinny isn't so bad...but if you get colic your on your own!
I'm not ever letting Gary and my DH together (DH is an env engineer who specialty is waste water) and since he's not using that now in the P&P he's employeed if he ever finds someone who knows what he's talkin about he has a ball. All the while my eyes glass over and I start to drool at the mouth.
lol...baaaaad colic, baaaaaad. Stay away from me AND my horses. lol
Here in Arizona we have water reclamation. The water that has been treated from the sewage plants are used to water the trees, bushes, etc. along the city streets and highways. I think thats a good use of water that comes from a sewage treatment plant. We can also use our grey water from our homes to water non edible plants. I'm thinking of doing that soon. Good use of shower and washer water.
Soon we'll be fixing it to where all our grey water will water our landscape. I have Cottonwoods and they need lots of water. The place we lived in before this place had a grey water line. Those Cottonwoods were beautiful. What a way to recycle your own water. We haul our own so it would really save us from having to haul so much.
Passiflora, nice mater friend.
One of y'all told me (was it Flip or Ed?) that I should go get a bunch of sheep dung from my parent's ranch and compost it in my backyard. My sister says that you can get a composting contraption so that it won't smell. I'd still have to get a sign off from my neighbors and the HOA if I got one. Does anyone know where you get a composting thingie? Or make my own?
Michelle - Super Duper Pooper Scooper and Smeller Mellerer - pg 48 in the Sears catalog. ROFL
Check out the "Soil & Composting" Forum here at Dave's. Composting "equipment" can be anything from just a spot on the ground where you pile your compost "stuff", up to fancy plastic "compost bins" where you turn a crank to mix eveything up. They look like little cement mixer thingees.
As the proud owner of a septic tank, I would like to let you know (if you didn't already) that the top layer that Tom used from the septic tank, wasn't just urine. When you flush, it all goes down folks. Doo doo and all. Gets all pureed up down there and so...what was on top was a compost of sorts!
Can't go there either though. I will use the idea of the chicken tea compost though.
I always have the DH and kids keep whatever fish they catch and bring them home. What we don't eat, I make a fish emulsion of sorts. Throw the fish into a five gallon bucket add water, cover (definetely cover!) and let sit until you need it. Even a weak solution is better than plain ol water. Then I add more water ect... until the fish are gone. Stinky and if you have neighbors it might not be the best idea. When I took the top off my bucket after it had sat for 6 months I thought the smell would never stop. The neighbors were not happy at all with me, but when they saw the size of my plants and tomatoes they were jealous.
Cotttonpicker, I think that one was "believe it or not". I got other ones just about as large with the "aussie" variety. I'm gonna make a tomato web page one of these days; I took a lot of photos; I grow 18 different types every year.
Araness, you are right about the location of Indian Springs. The soil is so hard I have to chop it up with a pickaxe. But my little garden spot has been improved with several years of cultivation and compost amendment. With the ground so hard, I can't rotate my tomatoes to other areas of my yard so I'm surprised I haven't had more disease problems. This is the first place I have had a garden, having moved out from the city a few years back so I could have a horse. I have just learned to grow tomatoes by trial and error.
Noncomposted horse manure is too "hot" for planting and will grow weeds, but isn't dangerous. Composted carnivore droppings can harbor parasites dangerous to humans. For example, look at what you can get from dog droppings:
Well, all these ideas may have merrit, but I'm only familiar with using the veggie scraps in the garden like mentioned above. Mom and Dad did that, also. Buried everything except meat, and my my ... what tomatoes!
Anything that stinks has not been composted enough if you ask me to use in the garden... My compost smells like... Well healthy soil. I love it... I was buying compost from the local treatment plant (and will continue to do so at 15 bucks for 2 yards of the stuff) but after picking a condom out of the stuff last year I am not using it in the garden, just the flower beds. I have purchased 4 yards of EKO Compost from a local Greenhouse supply place but I am not sure what they mean by biosolids (on ingrediant on the lable) and I am not sure I want to ask but the texure and the smell of the stuff are such that I would feel comfortable letting my 3 year old play in it.
Good question araness! Is the stuff from HD, or in my case KM, as good? I bought some composted manure and am wondering if it's okay to mix the manure directly in with dirt when I plant fruit trees in the back? Or is it too strong?
Saint, tell them to get to work and help you too!! ~ Suzi :)
*G* first condom they found the older ladies would run for the hills...and I'd be laughin so hard I wouldn't be able to do anything. But I am intrested in the fact you bought it from a treatment plant. I wonder whom you talk to about this. We need to fill in our bed in the front (our soil is past sucky) and several places in the back so this would be a really neat thing for us. Ok Ok so the DH would be the one messing with it till I made sure nothing yuckie was going to pop out. What can I say I'm girly about that kinda stuff...
Farmerdill, cattle and sheep *are* intermediate hosts. As are humans, in an accidental way. That means they don't pass the worm/eggs in their feces like dogs do. They get the worm encysted in their muscle and brain just the way humans can. So cattle and sheep dropping are safe to use on the garden whereas dog/fox/wolf/carnivore feces aren't. When carnivores eat the meat of the intermediate hosts, then they get the intestinal form, which causes them to pass eggs. It's a big circle with two stages. You either have intestinal worms and pass the eggs or you have worms in your muscle and other organs and get sick. Echinococcus is just one example of why you shouldn't mess with carnivore droppings or garden with it.
We have in an old chicken-house at the home we rented last year, with 10 inches of 25 year old Dried chicken manure. House is 12 x 40 and has been dry all this time. We are piling this prize in one corner for future use.
We started 2 --25 gallon containers of tea using 2 1/2 gal of dry each from the floor. It is fermenting very well. we will use one then start another.
We have been diluting the "tea" 1 1/2 gal to make 15 gal in battery operated power sprayer to go over our flowers and vegies and gourds. Yes, the tomatoes, all 300 of them, got their share
Have "fed" 75 gal of mix this week. We are working on 3.5 acres of market garden and flowers. We plan on a 2 to 3 week feeding, both foliar and on the soil, till harvest.
Can I eat the tomatoes??? Bet your life.
Years back when it was available, we hauled the "bio-solids" from the evaporation ponds at the city disposal plant.., The plant used "cooking" process which generated methane gas which was used to heat the solids to produce more methane. The "cooked" solids were then drained into evaporation pools and ended up as "dried" fertilizer. Mixed with trhe leaf mulch, also from the city, along with horsey apples and rabbit smart pills, added much to our family garden and pantry.
All 5 kids and spouses can garden well, using many of the "old" ideas.
As a boy I loaded many, many cow piles and horse apples into the spreader to go to the corn and bean fields for fertilizer. Didn't smell too good but I had my own spendin money for the weekend.. Whole $20.00 a week. Gas was 22 cents a gallon.
God Bless the USA
My Dad grew up in Chicago and he swears by milorgonite. In fact it's a secret he doesn't give out very often. He uses it on his lawn and it's the greenest prettiest lawn around.
Also, this is gonna gross people out-- my son had alot of strange blisters on the soles of his feet. They wouldn't go away no matter what meds we put on them. My dad (darling dad) told him to urinate on them every day. Guess what? In a week the blisters were gone.
Also, alot of acne patients use the first morning urine on their faces. Never had to try that, thanks very much!
Milorganite is great stuff. My sister started using it a couple of years ago because she heard that it would keep the rabbits away. I've also heard reports about it repelling deer, although I can't confirm that. It has not slowed down the squirrels however.
My mother quit using Milorganite when she found out where it came from. I guess if you're squeamish you can use it on non-edibles.
We use a mixture of Milorganite, Epsom salts, Ironite (granular), 5-10-5, along with lots of our own compost and have wonderful tomatoes. Haven't tried or even wanted to try any human waste of any kind. I've read this thread from top to bottom and have learned a lot. Thanks everyone. It's like 15 minutes classes in all subjects, being on DG. Amazing!
BriarRose: I believe you can incorporate HD deoderized manure right into your planting hole and it won't burn a thing. One year a friend wanted to give my DH a birthday present and I said the only thing he needed was manure and they brought out 4 bags of a Texas manure, packaged in a gold bag. That was the best "stuff" we've ever had! She still can't believe she gave s*it for a gift!
Actually I think it is bull manure. In real time, the composted cow manure sold at Lowes, HD, and walmart contains bark and other vegetation and is rated O.5-0.5-0.5. The real stuff can can be 1.0-1.0-1.0. Twice the percentage of nutrients.
Thank goodness...was going to start to wonder if something in the grass or something in TX was THAT good...I've had my vet offer me stuff from his horses but...have a hard time thinking about what I'd be stickin my hands in. LOL...I'm a big ol wuss
BriarRose - we were away or I'd have answered sooner. We were on Cape Cod and at the flea market I saw a sign for our favorite town, Provincetown, at the tip of the cape. They abbreviate the name of this particular town and I bought the sign and put it in our half bath:
Isn't that just perfect for a memory of Provincetown, the placement in the bathroom and this most unusual ca ca #1 and #2 thread?
It's my personal heaven on earth. The dunes, the salty air, whaling ships, Rugosa roses, National Seashore, P'town for sure - their shops, their people, their acceptance of all people, Orleans, Eastham - it's our annual treat to celebrate planting of the veggies and annuals, dahlias and acidantheras.