How often does a garden writer get to use the words pee-pee, poopy and worms at the website of a respected on-line publication? Once. I promise. This will be my sole channeling of my inner third-grader, at least for a while.

But first some background.

I’ve just returned home from the Garden Writers Association (GWA) Symposium in Raleigh, North Carolina, were more than 650 garden communicators gathered for educational sessions, garden tours, networking, product displays and sweating in 90-degree, 4356% humidity. (Good thing I brought my 55-gallon drum of baby powder.)

cow pots package
Happy cow!

What a diverse group! GWA is comprised of professionals working in all media—the web, newspapers, magazines, television, radio and photography. During my five days in Raleigh I lapped up educational talks, ogled beautiful gardens and schmoozed with more people that I can process.

I also slogged through the ubiquitous green-industry trade show with the lovely and talented Kate Frank, my editor at Fine Gardening. Perhaps you’ve seen the first of our video efforts titled “What Did You Kill In Your Garden This Year?” There are more video blogs in the works, including interviews with the vendors at three of the booths that caught my eye.

This is the first in a three-article series. As they say in Raleigh, “Y’all come back, ya hear?”

Bovine Biscuits Get A New Lease On Life

“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” That is the essence of one of the exhibitors that Kate and I visited.

Darn, now I have to delicately bridge the thought of lemonade and cow manure. Well, there you go. I guess I just did!

Cow Pots are the brainchild of one Mr. Matt Freund, recently the subject of the sometimes-shocking Dirty Jobs television show. Matt and his brother, Ben, run a dairy farm in Connecticut. Embodied in their product are a few simple truths:

1.  If you want your diary cows to produce milk you have to feed them.

2.  If you feed them through the north-facing end, the cows produce an odiferously offensive by-product from the south-facing end.

3.  If you have a lot of dairy cows, you have a Herculean disposal challenge.

4.  There are only so many environmentally acceptable ways to get rid of said by-product.

But what if you could relieve yourself of this messy muck and make a few bucks at the same time?

Cow Pots to the rescue, in their colorfully cute cow-adorned packaging. You probably already know what peat pots are—high-fiber, low-fat containers made from compressed sphagnum moss. Now imagine the same idea using cow manure that’s been processed, pasteurized and pounded into odorless paper-like pulp. Then it’s formed into 3-inch and 4-inch square pots. The material looks something like an egg carton, only, um, how do we put this…browner.

You fill the containers with your own potting soil, plant seeds or cuttings, wait for them to root and when it’s time to set them out, you just slap the whole kit and caboodle into the soil. As the plant grows, the pot decomposes and the roots expand into the soil. What could be simpler?

How many times have you destroyed a promising eggplant seedling by mishandling the rootball, or snapped a snap pea stem coaxing it out of the pot? Tragic, I say! Cow Pots eliminate those problems.

Think of the possibilities if this waste reuse idea catches on: biodegradable baseball caps, piñatas, picnic baskets, and lampshades…the list goes on (at least until my meds kick in).

Perhaps I should team up with the Freund brothers and do a little brainstorming. I’ve been told I have a very fertile mind.

root emerging
      When roots begin to emerge from the side of the container, it's time to plant.

 

 

 

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