Garden of Eatin'

We Really Know Our Sh!t

Animal manure mixed with straw

I found a random ranch in the middle of an industrial section of Long Beach, set along the cesspool that is the Los Angeles River, that was giving away free manure, the compost of the garden gods. Armed with our shovels, bins and buckets, Will and I went on Mission: Manure on Sunday and loaded up the truck with a craptastic collection of chicken, horse, cow, llama, goat and rabbit droppings rolled in straw. It felt like we were on an episode of Dirty Jobs!

Great way to spend a Sunday: shoveling poop

Back in the truck, with pellets of poop stuck to our shoes, we drove our bounty home and I spent all day yesterday digging the manure into our vegetable beds. I’ve never worked with manure before, but apparently this is supposed to be the shit — ahem, no pun intended. We’ll see what the winter crops say.

I was so excited to find free compost that didn’t require a trek to the boonies, but apparently the Shoestring City Ranch is up to their ears in animal waste, so they wanted us to tell all our friends and help them shovel away more manure! Your garden will thank you for it!

About Author

I'm a plant lover, passionate road-tripper, and cookbook author whose expert advice and bestselling books have been featured in TIME, Outside, HGTV, and Food & Wine. The No-Waste Vegetable Cookbook is my latest book. Garden Betty is where I write about modern homesteading, farm-to-table cooking, and outdoor adventuring—all that encompass a life well-lived outdoors. After all, the secret to a good life is... Read more »