Rainsong Wildlife Sanctuary and Retreat
 Rainsong Wildlife Sanctuary

Reforestation advice for the tropics - Costa Rica Biodynamic Gardening in the Tropics - Part 4

Soil Enrichment Elements - Manure

Mary Lynn Perry

Soil-enrichment involves a little more effort than traditional planting customs, but the benefits are truly amazing!!! The increased yield in fruits and veggies are astounding, and the rapid growth and increased flowering provide for a beautiful ornamental garden…QUICK !!!

Soil-enrichment involves 3 basic elements: Manure, compost, and mulch. In this article we will discuss Manure.

Manure (boniga) is a general term for animal excrement. Locally cow and horse manure is abundant in the many pastures in the area. It can easily be collected at a corral, or picked up in the fields. Of course, always ask permission before collecting it.

After over 25 years of gardening in tropical America (in Mexico, Belize, and 17 years now in Costa Rica ), I do not agree with the general belief that raw manure can burn roots and damage plants. In my opinion, it is not necessary to compost manure prior to its use. I have never seen any ill effect from using raw manure. We use it daily in our potting mix, when planting, and as mulch. A layer around your plants and trees provides slow feed, and is miraculously nutritive.

In Permaculture (Bill Mollison) raw manure is cycled into the garden soil environment directly by various techniques. So don't hesitate to utilize this readily available substance to nourish your gardens. You'll be amazed by the results !!!

While cow or horse manure can be applied as much and as often as desired, manure from fowl (chickens, ducks, turkeys, etc.) should be applied with more reserve. Fowl manure is much more concentrated and should be applied in small amounts , or mixed with compost or topsoil to dilute it. It is highly concentrated in phosphates, calcium, and nitrogen.

Manure treatments are an extremely important part of our gardening techniques at Rainsong. Anyone interested in learning more about biodynamic gardening in the tropics is welcome to visit Rainsong in Cabuya. Our nursery is open to the public Saturdays and Sundays all day. We are located 100 meters south of SuperChicho, lane to right, follow the signs.

Beaches of Cabuya Photo Collage
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