Discing … and Manure!

Tractors are a great instrument to use on your farm but they won’t provide you with the same satisfaction, love, and entertainment like a team of draft horses will. And if you’re ever lucky enough to work with our school’s Canadian draft horse team, Lady and Fee, this holds especially true. These two girls have provided Paul Smith’s College with many years of work and fun. This year, at Osgood Farm, Lady and Fee were used to disc our small garden plot for the second year in a row. This process, although once very commonly done with horses, is more often done with machinery in today’s agricultural practices. For our small scale gardening, these two horses are worth their weight in gold! To this day, Lady and Fee have been used to help prepare our garden beds by plowing, harrowing, and discing.

At Osgood Farm we are striving to limit our fossil fuel consumption. The use of tractors, tillers, and other machines that run on petroleum products pollute the air we breathe, are expensive, and loud. We appreciate the work that tractors do… just not the impact they have on our bodies and the earth. The school’s horses are self-repairing, are powered by the sun, and bring us great joy when working with them; a wonderful alternative to the norm of today’s farmers! Lady and Fee are the new face of Paul Smith’s sustainability and are helping make Osgood Farm a greener, safer place to grow food. Using Paul Smith’s draft horse team, helps Osgood Farm stick to our mantra, “Powered by the sun, people, and horse power!

Oh, the joys of poop!

Specifically, horse poop! Here at Osgood Farm we are putting our team of Canadian Draft Horses to work. We refer to our manure as not only the solid waste that Lady and Fee release, but their liquid waste, and the bedding we use to capture it too. This lovely concoction consists of our sawdust bedding from the school’s woodworking shop, spoiled hay, and other sources of carbon-rich materials which we use to help fertilize our gardens. This “waste,” as many would call it, is far from wasted here at Osgood Farm. The horse manure is not only full of carbon but it is also very nitrogen-rich which helps provide our plants with the nutrient base they need to successfully grow.

After composting, this manure turns into a beautiful, odor-free soil additive that we often refer to as “black-gold.” Manure composts very easily and since last fall we’ve been stock piling our compost bins full of it! When taking an in depth look at horse manure, we find that it tends to be lower in nutrients like phosphorus and potassium. Although this may not be suitable for growing some types of plants, horse manure is great for helping us start our nitrogen-hungry crops like the potatoes, garlic, tomatoes, and peppers. We also like to put it down on our strawberries but I’ve heard through the grape vine that whipped cream and sugar taste better!

Happy gardening!

Hey-Hi-Hello! My name is Sara Dougherty. I’m a recent graduate of Paul Smith’s College and this summer I am working as an Osgood Farm Staff member and as the Assistant Horse Barn Manager. I’m a red-tick coonhound enthusiast, bagpiper, and recoverer of lost things. Often times you can find me around campus harvesting mushrooms, driving the school’s draft horse team, or tending to our school gardens!