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I grow vegetables, but don't as yet have a compost heap. Can my soil survive on an autumn and winter dig of composted cow manure alone, or do I need to get my compost heap in order and dig that in addition. Any advice is much appreciated.

fidgetbones

My soil gets FYM on a three year cycle. 

 Ist year potatoes and FYM

2nd year peas, beans, courgettes, with blood fish and bone.

3rd year brassicas with nettle feed, or carrots parsnips, beetroot (no feed)

My compost is usually a bit chunk, so I use it for mulch around shrubs etc. You can put it in a trench for peas and beans , but its not necessary. I dont trench or double dig for anything. 

Your compost heap will build up in time.  Don't fret, just give it a go.

Italophile

Rob, composted cow manure is as good as garden compost. Arguably better as a soil conditioner if the manure comes with plenty of worms. Your garden compost, when it turns up, will be a bonus.

Dovefromabove

Absolutely agree with all of the above - get on with the compost heat when you can, but don't fret about it - gardening is supposed to help us relax 

Woodgreen wonderboy

I used to visit my local greengrocer to collect the various leaves, stalks and bits and pieces he discarded. These were added to my lawn mowings to get the right combination of nitrogen and carbon.  If you can turn the heap to introduce air you will get bacterial action, lots of heat and nice compost. And happy plants.

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Great, thanks to all. I moved to Sweden a few years back and my local council here has a scheme where they collect all our compostable waste in paper sacks. It then goes to the production of bio-gas to fuel the local bus network and home-help vehicles. That's why I asked - it feels good if I can continue contributing to my local community, rather than my local carrot patch

fidgetbones

Of course it costs fuel and manpower for the council to collect and process. Saving your own , composting and using it on your own land uses less fuel miles than it going to the council,and buying in manure.

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