Why I’m A Fan Of Poop

Bizarre as it sounds, I’m a big fan of poop. No, not the kind you’re thinking of, but manure, and especially composted horse manure. It’s rich in nitrogen and not as “hot” as chicken manure so there’s much less chance of burning your plants while you’re trying to feed them.

I’m fortunate that the property next to ours is owned by a lovely retired couple who have two horses and two miniature donkeys. The horses and donkeys have a sweet life munching grass all day. And they poop. Copiously.

I am the beneficiary of their generous and fertilizing leavings. When neighbor Susan cleans their stalls every day, she faithfully pushes a wheelbarrow full of their offerings to the end of the pasture and dumps it in a pile, which cooks up into a beautifully composted, rich gift teeming with worms, ready to be hauled, one wheelbarrow at a time, to till into our vegetable garden and top-dress onto the herbs, flowers and even the lawn.

One of the reasons I am a fan of manure is because it doesn’t scare me the way chemical fertilizers do. Part of my regular running route is through a suburban neighborhood housing development. On Sunday the street was littered with scary little white pellets. Are they fertilizer? Weedkiller? Some ungodly combination? When they end up in the street are they on a fast track to waterways to poison fish or our water supply?

And worse than those worries, these are neighborhoods with young families. Babies are crawling in the gazebo, dropping toys, picking them up to pop them back into their drooly little mouths. What baby or toddler can resist a fascinating, round morsel to explore in their favorite way—by mouth? Even if the pellets don’t go indirectly, the residue sticks around or walks into your house on your shoes or doggie paws and can end up in those precious little bodies. We’re so careful about the chemicals we expose our children to, I vote we make do with a less perfect lawn. Or if you have to have the perfect green, buy some well-composed poo and get exercise pulling weeds. Or embrace the clover and eat the dandelions (more on that, and recipes next time). Just make sure you wash them well. I’m a fan of poop, but not in my salad.

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