Friday, 9 April 2010

fresh manure

An organic garden needs a constant supply of natural fertility if it is to produce food without chemical fertilisers.

I believe that it is possible to garden effectively without animal manures, but when manure is available, it makes sense to get some and store it away.

For the majority of plants, fresh manure would be a hazard. The ammonia within the manure would scorch leaves and retard growth. It is best to store manure for at least a year so that it is well rotted before being used.

I may use some to layer up the compost because fresh manure is said to act as an 'activator' speeding the process of break down. I will dig our large holes in the manure pile early summer, fill these with reused potting compost and plant squashes into the holes. Each hole must be big enough to let the squash roots grow unhindered. If they penetrate into the fresh manure, their growth will be affected.

The advantage of planting into the fresh manure in this way is that the warmth from the decaying manure will encourage the plants to grow.

Here we have a fresh delivery of horse manure from a local stable. It will be left inside my straw bale wall until next spring.

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