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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Black Valley Gold

 Tualco Valley

I’m out in the Valley early this morning on a soil emendation errand. I have always wanted an asparagus bed of my own here on our one slim acre in the Valley and have twenty asparagus crowns ready for planting, with twenty-five more on order. I called Andy Werkhoven yesterday evening, asking for permission to take a load of digester compost for my asparagus bed. The Werkhoven farm has installed an anaerobic digester at the old Honor Farm at the south end of the Valley. The digester processes all the organic effluence from the cows in their dairy herd and produces methane gas which in turn provides fuel to run a generator that sends electricity to Snohomish County PUD’s power grid. The end products are the compost, which is why I am here,   and the waste water, which is returned to Werkhovens’ cornfields.Draggin' the mud  

Andy said to come around 9:00 a.m., and I am already a half hour late arriving at the old farm outbuildings where I find a large pile of Black Gold just waiting to be loaded. The asparagus bed awaits, and I scoop shovelful after shovelful into the truck. Pile of compost black gold

A half hour’s effort yields a load of steaming compost, and I’m all set to transport. The morning is cool and the compost smokes in the bed of the truck. I hope all this fussing will pay off in an abundance of tasty green spears next summer.

truckload of compost

I return home where I immediately unload a half dozen liberal shovelsful of compost around my rhubarb plant. The short  raspberry row receives the same treatment.

Then to the asparagus bed. A three or four inch layer in bottom of the 8’ x 5’ raised bed should do the trick. The rest I spread on my tomato/pepper patch.

Thanks to the Werkhovens’ generosity, the family garden plot should yield a bounty of produce this summer. And when the asparagus patch is in full production, Andy and family better have their hollandaise and white sauce recipes handy when I drop by with a big mess of compost-powered stalks.

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