The Hills are Alive…with the smell of…beneficial nematodes…

I have crap all over my yard…literally. But it’s not what you think (or maybe it is).

My dad was the original tree hugger, only without the politics or the VW van (and the weed). He grew up in the North Carolina mountains and from the time I was able to talk, he would point out trees and tell me what kind they are, and how to tell them apart. Then, of course, we had a garden growing up where I got to learn the joys of kneeling under five-feet-tall okra stalks as ants dropped onto my naked back, and how picking cucumbers and squash in a short-sleeved shirt is a HUGE mistake (it stings!).

So, I’ve always felt a kinship to the earth, but I’ve never really been a conservationist. I wanted to be, but like so many of us, it just hasn’t been convenient. Well, our new neighborhood is part of a recycling program, so I’ve become a lot more “green” than I ever was before. Even if you’re not especially green-oriented, the peer pressure of seeing stacks of recyclables next to your neighbor’s driveway is enough to motivate you to rinse and recycle.

Taking it one step further, I’m trying to go eco-friendly in my yard too. We live on a slope with a nice little creek at the bottom of the hill, so anything I put on my lawn eventually ends up in the creek. So rather than use the highly effective, yet economically disastrous nitrogen-based synthetic fertilizers in my yard, I’m using human waste.

Not my own of course, but that of the good people in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. See, the water treatment plant in Milwaukee also makes an organic fertilizer called “Milorganite” (Link complete with video goodness). This fertilizer is nothin’ but good old recycled and sterilized human waste. And it smells like it too.

The net benefit to nature is both in the runoff that won’t kill the fish, and in the fact that it actually promotes beneficial buggery in the soil, as opposed to killing off the beneficial buggery like synthetic fertilizer does.

The downside to this organic fertilizer includes the smell (ugh!), which supposedly fades in a few days, and in the fact that it takes a LOT more fertilizer per square foot, even though the price is similar.

Once again, doing the environmentally right thing, costs more money than doing the easy thing (electric cars, insulation, etc.) but it’s worth it right? Now, how to keep all the neighborhood dogs away from the yard until the smell dissipates is another thing entirely.

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