Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Ready for beds

A nice dry period, blue skies and fresh air - it's got to be time for manure.

Four and a half tonnes of it approximately, from my neighbour's dairy herd. It cost £50, but it's priceless.

I get it every year, mainly for the veg patch and some for the orchard too, but usually in November. However, the wet autumn turned to the snowy winter and this is the first opportunity the farmer's had to deliver it without making an awful mess.

The dry weather is essential for me to shift it too, as 50 or more wheelbarrow loads up the hill through the orchard to the veg patch in wet weather will churn the ground up and leave me slipping all over the place.

Good exercise but always daunting. This year, however, we've had such a prolonged dry spell I've been able to shift it a bit at a time - 5-6 barrow loads a day aftter coming home from work.

The veg patch is ready now. It goes largely on to the beds that will take the potataoes and the sqaushes - the root veg have home produced compost from our veg peelings and the brassicas never have anything.

The manure itsef is different this year. While well rotted (essential), it has a bit of wood chip mixed in rather than straw- an alternative bedding material the farmer was trying. Shouldn't make much difference - you can hardly see it by now.

However, you do need to be careful to know what the farmer's been using in the way of antibiotics. The RHS will tell you to steer clear of some that will kill plants.

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