SOIL KITCHEN: New Store Improves Iowa Soil With…Bat Guano?
For a few short months, we plant something other than our feet here in Iowa…
Even those who’ve long since left the farm can’t help but return to that which sprouted our state.
“One like’s to garden. I’ve been a gardener my whole life,” says Colleen Lees, of Mingo.
The black Iowa soil bears more than fruit, though…it germinates ideas.
“As I started digging, I realized that there are some problems with the soil.”
Lees understands that suggestion borders on blasphemy, but hear her out.
”A lot of times in all the new developments around the Metro, the soil gets turned over and you are left with stripped ground,” she says. ”You have clay, they throw sod on top of it, and if you want your soil back, you have to pay for it.”
When you’re ready to pay for soil, you’ll find no other place like The Soil Kitchen in Ankeny, where Colleen and her husband, Robert will guide you through the menu and then cook it up out back.
The list of amendments is staggering–glutens, and meals, and composts, and bat guano.
“Bat guano is…bat manure,” laughs Robert Lees. “We have lots of manures as a matter of fact.”
Robert knows manure (no offense). He’s a worm farmer who, for years, has sold worm castings over the internet.
“We needed a store,” he says, ”but we needed more product than just two different items: worms and worm castings. That’s where we started looking for additional organic items to add to soil.”
The castings and other amendments are tailored to the needs of each customer, but all are aimed at creating the most productive soil available.
“Plants need calcium, plants need iron, plants need magnesium, they need vitamins just like we need to to grow,” says Colleen. ”Without adding those things back into the soil, you just don’t get peak performance.”
Robert nods in agreement.
“A lot of the plants that we grow here are not native to here,” he says, ”and so they need to change their soil up to some degree in order to make it the best growing environment for that plant.”
Yep, a dirt store. One more innovation rooted in the earthy medium that bore us all.
Sun and water are great, but who could turn down a shot of bat guano?