Sunday, March 21, 2010

You Know You're A Gardening Nerd When...

You get really excited about free zoo poo!!

That's right folks, one of the big highlights of my week was picking up three truck loads of zoo poo. I work for a small nonprofit in North Portland called Village Gardens. We work in two low-income neighborhoods to empower leaders in the community through gardening and other programming. We've been trying to find an affordable way to get some fertilizer on our gardens, so I was really excited when my Master Gardener class announced that the zoo would be giving away free poo!

We drove down to the zoo on a rainy day, and there were huge piles of hot composted poo. As the front end loader shoveled into it, the piles steamed into the cold gray air. It was a good consistency - looked like it had been composted with straw and wood chips - and didn't smell bad at all.

That afternoon, I had the garden club kids help unload it into the garden. They actually got really into it, and had so much fun mixing it into the soil in our raised beds. Occasionally they would yell out, "I just found a big chunk of lion poo!" Or "Here's some elephant!!" It was awesome. I loved it because it was free, because we were reusing some unexpected materials, and because it will help make our gardens fertile and productive this year. Win win win. We also got on the zoo's list to be contacted in summer when they have more zoo poo ready. Perfect for a little side dressing on our corn.

I should note that we've been really enjoying this whole "zoo poo" thing. We've been keeping a tally of how many times we say "zoo poo" in a single meeting. A tradition at Village Gardens is to start all of our community meetings with a check-in question that everyone answers. Last week, our check-in question was "If you could be any kind of zoo poo, what kind would you be?" hehe. I love my job.

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