Thursday, April 26, 2012

Poor Man's Fertilizer

Since the northeast's big snow event on Monday and Tuesday, I've heard numerous references to "poor man's fertilizer".  I made reference to this in a phone conversation with my friend Louise and she told me she had seen it in the "Little House" books of Laura Ingalls Wilder.
And here it is from "Farmer Boy," Chapter 22.
That night Father said they’d seen the last of Indian summer. “It will snow tonight,” he said. Sure enough, when Almanzo woke the next morning the light had a snowy look, and from the window he saw the ground and barn roof white with snow.
Father was pleased. The soft snow was six inches deep, but the ground was not yet frozen.
“Poor man’s fertilizer,” Father called such a snow, and he set Royal to plowing it into all the fields. It carried something from the air into the ground, that would make the crops grow.
A Google search provides us with the following information: Snow contains nitrogen, a bit of phosphorus, plus traces of other elements. Commercial fertilizer lists a N-P-K ratio – Nitrogen (for greening), Phosphorus (root growth), Potassium (flowering).
Working the snow into the ground moves the moisture and nutrients deeper into the ground, plus they go to work to break up clods of soil into finer pieces.
Today the sun is shining and there are still patches of snow around though the gardens are clear. I've been working in the greenhouse the past couple of days repotting the tomatoes and peppers planted in seed cells in March. While it might seem early to talk about canning and freezing, I'm giving you notice that we are planning for a large crop of tomatoes this year. If you'd like to have a bushel or two for canning, it wouldn't hurt to get your order in early so we can plan for everyone. Remember, everything we grow is organic - which means you can be sure you're not including herbicide and pesticide residue in your jars!
Here's a photo of some of my tomatoes and please notice the snowy background outside the windows!
Looking for sunshine in the warm greenhouse

This post linked to: Rural Thursday Blog Hop


Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

Well I hope you get some sunnier skies soon!

Louise said...

How about that for a memory! Snow gone now, I hope....

Nancy said...

I read all of the Little House books when I was MUCH younger but don't remember that passage -- I don't remember alot from back then! :)

wooleylot said...

It fertilized again last night!