llama poop (collecting, transporting, building hills with, and planting pumpkins in)

May 26, 2010

Today my friend Jay and I collected two cars full of llama poop and used it to build our pumpkin patch. Llama poop, also called ‘llama beans’ is great for the garden and doesn’t burn plants. This means that it can be applied directly without composting. Great for people who don’t prepare their soil in advance (me…). We took the bins of llama poop home with us, all 9 of them, and built hills for our pumpkin patch.

Pumpkins like to live on the top of hills. To prepare our hills, we dug 20 holes, evenly spaced about 5 feet apart throughout our mulched patch.

We broke through the cardboard and dug down about a foot, and then mixed the soil (a bit on the clay side) with about 1/2 a bin of llama beans. This formed a little hill, about 1 or 1 1/2 feet wide. We placed some hills towards the edges of the patch with hopes that the vines crawl out into the grass. The preparation of the field was hard. We were trying to get everything finished before the rain, and practically gave ourselves heat stroke. And of course it didn’t even rain here yesterday…I heard that it poured in town, but we only got a few sprinkles.

We collected seeds from pumpkins last fall, and bought a few as well. Jay had jack-o-lantern seeds, and I had some squash seeds leftover. We planted long island cheese, austrian butter, and a few other types of pumpkins as well as two gourds, birdhouse and dinosaur (from Seed Savers). The patch map is on the back of a pizza carton, and shows where we have put everything. We still have openings in a few hills, and are planning on planting some of the giant, state fair-prize-winning pumpkin types…

Our friend Chloe also supplied us with some starts! Blue pumpkins, cinderella pumpkins, and warty gourds (her favorites)! The plants are already quite far along, and living in their own hills.

In each hill we planted about 8 seeds.

The strongest seedlings will be nurtured, and the rest will be pinched off…not sure if I will be up for the pinching off, but I guess that the strongest starts will make the strongest plants, biggest pumpkins, etc..

Here is the finished patch. Lots of hills or bumps in the straw. It looks like a mess of straw and cardboard here, but all I can see is a huge bright pumpkin patch! Super exciting.

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