Should I Use Cow Manure in My Vegetable Garden? & More Organic Gardening Q&A

Alright! This is John Kohler with,
today we have another exciting episode for you guys coming at you from my backyard garden
where you guys are getting a nice background shot of is my beautiful raised bed here, with
over 60 pepper plants, and there’s probably like over 50 different unique varieties in
there, be sure to stay tuned for an upcoming video on where I got all these unique crazy
varieties, and you guys can get them too actually, so that’s really cool. And I’m really
looking forward to some of the peppers it’s producing including I got the guaranteed world’s
hottest peppercorn in the Guinness Book of World Records. That might mess you up. But
in any case, what we’re doing in today’s episode is we’re going to do a Q&A, questions
and answers. So if you do have a question you want to get answered on a video like this,
you may try to email it to me over the YouTube email system, or put it on my channel discussion
page. I check there regularly and pull some of the questions out of there to do the Q&A’s
that I do here. Another way if you really need to get your question answered, is I have
a Fiverr campaign, which is, you’re going to pay Fiverr five dollars, I get four dollars,
and then I’ll give you a call anywhere in the United States for ten minutes, and answer
any questions you have to the best of my ability. Now I don’t know everything, I know a lot
of stuff [laughter], but yeah, so and I’ll talk to you for ten minutes for simply five
bucks, so that way you could be assured to get your questions answered. Now with the
money that gets paid to me, I don’t take any of this stuff, this money goes back into
basically other Fiverr members in the community to get my videos transcribed. You know I want
to make the videos that I put out that are full of education and information available
to people that are hearing-impaired, or more importantly, in other countries and may not
understand English, but when they get a transcription, YouTube will automatically translate that
into foreign languages so that they can now understand and get the gist of the message
because it’s probably not going to be perfect, but I’m trying to spread in the world is
to simply take the control of your food back in your own hands by growing your own food
and teaching you guys that it really is that easy.
All right so let’s get into today’s questions. The first question is from Bearded Hombre
– “Hey John, love your videos, I’m just getting started on a garden here at my house
in Windsor, I’m thinking about using the Earth Box or City Pickers, and I was curious
where you got the Happy Frog soil conditioner. I’ve been to a few of the places that are
mentioned on their site but they only have the potting soil. I was wondering where in
Sonoma County you got the Happy Frog soil conditioner you had in your video about these
boxes. Thanks again and keep up the awesome work, or by chance would you suggest any of
the compost that Sonoma Compost offers that would work in its place. If you’re ever
in Windsor, feel free to stop by, would love some input, thanks again, cheers. Jason”
All right Jason so what my recommendations are for you, being that you’re living in
Windsor, California, you know I’d recommend a few things for you. You know now, the videos
I make, depends on the materials I have and what’s available and I use the best of the
stuff that I have available at that time. Would I recommend the Happy Frog Soil Conditioner
for you? Not necessarily. If I was you what I would do specifically is this, I’d go
to Monster Gardens in [inaudible] Park and pick up some of their Air Max. That’s basically
their coconut core that’s been washed four times, enriched with all kinds of good stuff
that I approve of, and then I’d go to Sonoma Compost and I’d get the Mallard Plus mixture,
and I’d mix those two together. Aside from that, I’d also go to Friedman Brothers locally
and pick up a bag of the Worm Gold plus worm castings, I’d use that as well, it’s $12.99,
probably the best price I’ve seen anywhere actually. And then I’d also go to Laballaster’s,
I have a video on that, they’re in Santa Rosa on [inaudible] Road I believe, and I’d
pick up a bag, or actually two, of the Rock Dust. So I’d get a bag of Azamite[?] and
a bag of the Glacier Rock Dust, also known as the [inaudilble] glacial rock dust, and
I’d mix those together in the right proportions. Most of these would basically be like half
compost and then half the Air Max, then I’d add in smaller amounts of the rock dust, both
rock dusts, and the Worm Gold Plus, and you’re going to have one of the best soil mixes that’s
ever been created and you’ve done it all locally for fairly affordable. You know, these
are for your container gardens. That being said, if you live in Windsor, I know Windsor’s
a pretty sprawling place, I know you’ve probably got a house in a housing development
with a good amount of land, so why restrict yourself to growing in the container if you
have the space? I would highly encourage you to actually build some raised beds and grow
in raised beds so you can grow far more food than just a small container. Unless of course,
you’re in some kind of condo or apartment and you don’t have the space to build a
raised bed. Windsor’s a great place to be growing stuff, and you want to be getting
in your tomatoes now, as soon as possible, for the most yield. I’d recommend you know,
I love growing cherry tomatoes, and they just yield and they’re so fruitful and I’ll
be picking tomatoes for the whole season. All right, next question is from Moninoki
– “Hello I have a question about cow manure. We live in an area with a lot of cows right
next door and we have cows that have a nice large area of grass to eat. Would you recommend
that we use that manure since we can see where it comes from? Thanks” All right so, you
know my view on manure, you know manure is one of the things that’s largely used in
organic farming. When you think organic farming, you think okay manure is the fertilizer, and
when you think conventional farming, you think chemicals in a box or a package is the fertilizer.
And so, while I like manures probably better than the chemicals personally, you know I
think we can go to the next level on organic gardening than just using manure, right? I
want to model nature, and in nature there’s no gardens growing in raised beds of cow shit
or manure or composted manures, right? What there is mostly is composted plant matter,
so whether that means trees, barks, leaves, vegetative stuff, that’s mostly how nature
works with some added manures when there’s animals roaming and passing around, right?
So that’s what I’m trying to duplicate, and that’s what I always encourage you guys
to do – use mostly plant-based sources of compost, and add in some manure if you want
to do that you know, but try to get the majority if your stuff, the plant-based stuff and I
know some of you guys don’t live in a place where you can easily get composted plant material.
I happen to be in one of those, it’s difficult to get some good composted plant material.
I found some ways to do the best I can, and I have used a little bit of manure, and I
don’t really have a problem with manure over all, in general as long as it’s in
a percentage of your mixture, I don’t think it should just be straight manure. The main
problem I have with manure, two things – number one, the contamination aspect of the manure.
Luckily you can see the cows eating the grass so that you know that they’re eating grass
as the mainstay of their diet. This is excellent, right? The next thing that you may not know
is, there’s certain herbicides that you can spray on grass that’s called clopleads
or something, that basically is a systemic herbicide, so when the cow eats the grass,
or when the cow eats the hay that the herbicide was sprayed on, it goes through the cow or
the horse or whatever, and then it gets pooped out of them, and it’s still existing in
the manure, so the manure’s contaminated. Then even if they compost that manure at high
temperatures, that nasty herbicide is still persistent in there, and then you take that
manure and put it in your garden and you try to plant your tomatoes next year then nothing
grows you’re going to be like “John I followed your instructions on how you grow
with using the rock dust and nothing happened, it didn’t work.” Well I can’t do nothing
if you got a bad batch of manure-based compost, you know? So this is why it’s very important
to know the source, you know before you get the manure, talk to the farmer, talk to the
person that’s growing it, or growing the cows with the manures and find out are they
taking antibiotics, are they getting supplemental feed besides the grass, are they spraying
anything on the grass, are they eating GMO corn or soy? You know so that goes through
the cow and you get the residual waste product of GMO corn or soy in the manures. And, you
know I’m not going to make any judgments on this stuff, all I will say is that it’s
not my first choice to use composted manures that have GMO remnants in there. You know,
I wouldn’t do it. Would I do it if that was like the only thing I had and I lived
in the desert and there’s nothing except some composted manures with some GMO remnants
which will allow me to grow? Absolutely, but once again, not my first choice, not my second
choice, it’s probably down near the bottom of my list that if it’s the only option,
that’s what I’m going to do, right? So that’s one aspect, the contamination aspect.
Whether that’s GMO residuals, whether that’s herbicides, whether that’s antibiotics that
the animals are being fed, these are all potential issues. Now another issue is the e. coli or
the bad bacteria issue. Just recently, organic mangoes by Purity were recalled. Like, how
come organic mangoes are being recalled? Well they found listeria, it’s a bacteria which
causes food poisoning in people. Now, any disease a mango tree can have out in nature,
whether it’s powdery mildew or whatever it is, plant diseases can get cross-contaminated
into people or animals, right? It’s kind of cool like that, so even if you see your
plant’s kind of messed up and you eat it, you’re not going to get sick with white
powdery mildew like if you ate some white powdery mildew leaves and you got all this
white powder and stuff on you. Hey maybe you’d never need to buy make-up again [laughter].
But, nonetheless, they can’t share diseases, but the problem with why these got contaminated,
I don’t know exactly the reason I can just kind of guess, but what in my opinion happened
is that improper handling or improper manure use. So they did maybe manure-based composting
under the trees, and maybe they did raw manure instead of composted manure, maybe they still
had some bad bacteria maybe the mango was dropped off the fruit tree into manure, touched
the manure, got contaminated, then they put it in a box and sold it to you. So that way
the mangoes could now get affected. I know when the cantaloupes had a big outbreak with
food poisoning because of cantaloupes on a conventional farm years ago it was because
of the feces of manure that wash down and contaminated the fields. It could also be
improper hygiene protocols of the workers picking the mangoes. Maybe they’re pooping
in the fields and they didn’t wash their hands after they went to the bathroom and
then because they’re eating animals, once again if you have animals, and eating chicken
for example, even the chicken that you buy from the grocery store is not sterile man
there’s all kinds of crazy bacteria, and a lot of the bacteria will pass through you
and come out the other end and then that can contaminate your food or somebody else’s
food of your farm workers. That’s why proper hygiene’s very critical. Of course if you’re
not eating these chicken and animal products and other things that can be contaminated
with potential pathogens, then you’re not going to have a manure or your poop is not
going to be contaminated so that you [inaudible] contaminate nothing else. So maybe all farm
workers should start eating only plants then this would drop the incidences of food outbreaks
potentially. The final thing I want to say about the manure products is simply this:
There are no regulations on any manure-based products aside from human manure, right? No
regulations, so there are no laws, there’s no testing, they could be contaminated with
heavy metals, they could have systemic herbicides or pesticide residue, systemic GMO residues,
or even bacteria counts that are out of this world, but they still bag [inaudible] and
sell it to you because there are absolutely no regulation, anybody could put any kind
of shit besides human shit in a bag and sell it to you, and it’s quite unfortunate that
many organic gardeners just go to Home Depot and buy the steer manure and just put it on
their garden thinking “Oh yeah, I’m organic, that’s what I’m supposed to use.” That’s
not my solution, and be sure to check out some of my other videos for how I like to
fertilize my garden, because I’m not going to get into it in this video. All right so
hope that answers your question, I always encourage you guys to do the best you can,
if the manure from the cows is all you got, then yeah, and it’s clean, go for it you
know? Personally I would rather start having a compost pile myself and start generating
my own compost and bring some in as needed. All right, next question is from Darrell Cleavinger,
“Hey John, can you link us to the pages from your main page or at least maybe come
up with a page that can show us all the many different discounts we can get by being your
watchers and faithful followers? Anyways keep up the great job, I’ve watched every single
video thus far and am eager for more every day. Thank you. Darrell Cleavlinger, Indianapolis,
Indiana.” All right Darrell, I apologize, but I don’t have any specific area that
has all the discounts listed. Before I make videos, if I really like a product I’ll
talk to the manufacturers and let those guys know that “Hey man, I’ve got like 140,000
people that follow me, I’ve been viewed over 20 million times, I’m the most watched
Internet gardener online, I’m going to make a video about your product and would you like
to have a discount in there that’ll help get product out to people, but more importantly
provide a special service to my viewers? Because I really value you guys really, you know?
You don’t understand, I nail the manufacturers and people hard, I’ll scour the Internet
and see “Oh well this manufacturer gave a 30 percent discount once, and so then I’m
like, they’re like “Oh we’ll give your viewers only like 10 per cent.” I’m like
“No, I’m not going to do that. We need to get that to 30 percent so that my viewers
can have the best discount that I’ve ever seen,” because I want to get you guys, I
know gardening can be quite an expensive hobby, right? But it doesn’t have to be, you don’t
have to spend money to buy some of the products that I recommend. But you know, some of them
are good, and some of them are not so good, and my job is to simply share those with you
and share my experiences with them. If you choose to purchase them great, you know the
ones that I really like you guys definitely know if I really like it and some of these
ones that I recommend are ones I actually use all the time. In my garden I have a stash
of some of the different, Boogie Brew Compost Tea, I have the Boogie Blue Water Filter,
I have some of the John and Bob’s products, I use the rock dust religiously, so I mean
they are really good products, but once again when I say that you don’t need them, I have
a video that explains how to make some of these products for free or to get them for
cheaper. If you’re into that style gardening, my whole thinking is “Hey I’ve got some
extra money, people spend money on their Internet bill, on their hobbies they’re drinking
out at the bar,” and I mean whatever people’s hobbies are these days, on their car and fixing
it up, and that’s cool if you want to do all that I don’t care. But I’m telling
you my hobby is gardening, I’m putting the money into my garden, because once again as
I’ve said before in my show that the garden is the most important investment you can make
ever in your life, right? Like yeah, better than putting money in the bank is to grow
high-quality food that you could eat, that number one tastes better, number two is going
to yield more, but most importantly for me is that it’ll allow you to have the highest
level of nutrition so that you’ll be healthiest. The fact of the matter is clear, I’ve said
it many times – standard Americans eating junk food, processed foods, foods [inaudible]
traditional agriculture systems that are only adding three main minerals for the most part
back in the soil to grow the crops you’re eating. This makes nice large crops, but they’re
not so nutrient dense. For example, a green being picked out of my garden compared to
one bought from the store could number one taste better, but more importantly number
two, have 50 percent more protein. Same green bean, all that’s different is how it’s
grown, when it’s harvested, when it’s eaten, when it’s consumed. And that’s
just the protein. Other nutrients like the magnesium and some of the trace minerals could
be twice as much on certain nutrients as well. So when foods have more nutrition, they have
better taste profile, and this is why I recommend and encourage certain products that can get
higher quality food for you. And if that’s not your goal that’s cool, I understand
you don’t need to by nothing, right? Because I know some people “No, you put that on
John and you’re going to cheat your garden,” about products. You know, I understand, everybody
has their place, some people want to garden for free that’s great, just pick and choose
the stuff that you watch from me, don’t watch every video, I like to use some products
to my advantage. I’m soon going to actually have a video at the 2014 National Hardware
Show which is coupled with the National Lawn and Garden Show with about 20 booths that
have some amazing stuff, so you’re going to have to wait for that video man. Cool stuff
this year I found, probably the most exciting year for me of all the years I’ve been.
But yeah I don’t have a page that specifically says all the discounts because the discounts
are specifically for my viewers and if I had a page that said all those, some of the manufactures
are talking about even “John, we found that regular people not your viewers are using
the discount codes and stuff,” and they don’t want that to happen they just want
this for a special bonus for you guys, right? My viewers and stuff, they don’t want their
regular customers to use it. So at this point, you’ve just got to keep watching my videos
and you’ll find those videos where I have the discount in the links, and where I talk
about it in the video personally to get you the exclusive special discount prices that
I really, really negotiate hard with the retailers for you guys.
All right, next question made by Steve, “I have a question, I’m getting ready to do
a major dirt replacement in my garden, at least 15 yards of garden dirt. Right now it’s
hard clay and I was wondering if there’s something I need to look for. The suppliers
in my area have a few different three-part mixes, I’m in the Kansas City area. I also
have a short video of my garden and am renting a Bobcat and am going to do several tiers
on a hillside, and should end up with about 3,000 square feet of garden when finished.
So any advice on the dirt would help, thanks, Steve.” All right Steve, so instead of dirt
I want you to think of soil. Dirt is what you tracked into your house and you have to
vacuum up, right, that’s dirt right? Soil is something totally different to me. Soil
is something that’s alive, right? Dirt is something that’s not alive, right? So you’ve
already got clay, clay is actually a good medium, but the problem is we need to bring
in some organic matter and get some bacteria in there. So the main things that I’d encourage
you to look for, I don’t know if you’re going to mix this with your current soil or
you’re just going to grow in the soil that you’re bringing in, I have other videos
on buying soil and specifically what to look for. You want to see if they have food soil
web testing number one, you want to check out the profile, the assay or the testing
of the soil you’re considering to bring in. I would encourage you to try to get one
with a lot of compost. Many different soil places cut things with sand and all this kind
of stuff so that they can make more profit, which is quite sad. I will soon have a video
on the soil that I filled this bed with where I’ll go over a few talking points. But be
sure to check my past episodes, I have a really good episode where I went to, the video’s
titled like “The Best Compost or Soil in Texas,” and I went to a place down in Texas
and filmed a video, and if I lived down there that’s the soil I’d use hands down. And
check that because I share some tips and tricks on getting some of the best soils for you
if you’re going to yard or place. You know, a really easy thing to do if you don’t want
to compare all these charts and all this stuff is simply go to the place that you’re going
to buy the soil from right, and get samples before you buy truckloads, right? Say “Hey,
can I have like a five gallon bucketful of your soil,” and get five gallon bucketfuls
of soil from each of the places you’re considering, take it home, and try to grow some, I don’t
know arugula. Arugula is something that grows really fast, and sprout and germinate arugula
seeds in the pot with that soil and see what happens. See which soil the plant grows fastest
in right? This way you’ll know “Okay, this soil, even though they say it’s really
good, the arugula, it was like stunted growth and it didn’t grow as fast and this one
that was the lowest price the arugula took off.” This is known as a pot test. Don’t
smoke pot before you do your pot test because you might get messed up. This is just a common
sense approach to figuring out which is best when you don’t know because you don’t
know how to read all these assays and all this kind of stuff that I would know how to
read. Yeah, super simple do a pot test, figure it out once and for all, hope that answers
your question. Next question is from Isabel Wilanski – “Hi,
in one of my raised beds at home a bunch of sprouts have popped up, and me and my mom
don’t know what they are. There are two kinds and one kind looks like tomato seedlings.
There are only a couple of the tomato ones, and they are all scattered everywhere in the
bed. My grandma lives with us, is currently visiting home in the Philippines but she told
us that she planted something before she left. Asking her over the phone which bed she planted,
etc isn’t going to work since she is too old. If they are weeds I’d like to pull
them immediately but I’m afraid they’re something else, I don’t want to pull tomato
seedlings out. What should I do and how can I tell for the future reference?” All right
Isabel, so the only way you’re going to know what plants look like is by two ways,
one is definitely better than the other. Number one, you can try to research it. Take a picture
of it and then try to do a Google Image search to see if Google can compare the image you
took with some other images, that’s a really quick and easy way. You could pick up a book
and try to figure it out, but you’d probably be there forever. I mean the only other way
to know for sure is to grow them out. You know I love growing things out, I’ve got
some little mustard plants growing here that I actually didn’t plant, that I’m like,
I see it come up and like instantly I know, “Oh that’s mustard I’ve seen that before.”
And this is one of my joys of gardening, you get to learn so many new things. So grow them
out, don’t pop them too early, you know as long as they don’t go to flower and set
seed, it’s no real danger of growing a few extra weeds in your garden for a little bit
right? So I love to let some of my volunteers grow out until I can identify them, and if
I don’t know what they are I’ll let them grow out until they’re more mature and then
I can identify them. Then they get pulled if I don’t want them and sometimes actually
I’ll pull them up and then actually repot them in a little pot and then move them to
another bed so that I can plant them somewhere else. So yeah one of my joys of gardening
is to learn what new volunteers are coming up. But yeah, I’ve got some cool ones in
the back actually next to my tomatoes, and I’m like “What are these, these are in
the melon family, they’re like a cucumber, or a squash or some melons.” And I’m like,
I know that much, and I’m waiting. I’m pretty sure they’re honeydews, but now we’re
taking bets, right? I mean, here in Vegas we’re taking bets on whether it’s going
to be honeydews or not, because that’s what I think it’s going to be, and I’m only
going to know once it starts to get a little bit bigger, and then I’ll know for sure
when it puts on the fruit. Yeah so that’s probably my best recommendation for you is
grow them out and see what happens. All right so that brings us to the end of
today’s questions, hope this was helpful for you guys, you learned a few things along
the way as well, be sure to stay tuned for an upcoming episode hopefully real soon on
the one product that can increase your crop yields by up to 400 percent, it’s totally
amazing, something I never learned of before, and something quite natural, that if you don’t
want to buy you can even make yourself because I got the expert to tell and share some techniques
on how to do it. That’s probably coming up in the next or the next after the next
episode. So hopefully you guys enjoyed this episode, once again my name is John Kohler
with, we’ll see you next time, and remember keep on growing.

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