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5 messages
04/08/2013 at 09:00

Had our garden for almost a year now so still getting used to bits and pieces but one thing for sure is that it is going to need tonnes of organic matter/compost this winter.

Although we have four compost bins, the amount we have in them at present is not even going to scratch the surface.  Does anyone have any advice on sourcing decent compost/manure for enriching the soil?  Also, when we moved in the veg patches were covered with black polythene which was brilliant for suppressing the weeds and keeping the soil warm which was a massive help at the start of the season.  The question is if we put a good covering of manure or compost over the surfaces in the autumn for overwintering, presumably we would be best not to cover it with polythene again.  

Sourcing the manure is a particularly worry since we heard about the RHS having serious problems with some of their manure  which contained a awful herbicide which wrecked their crops last year.  How can you be sure that your manure is good old fashioned stuff with no chemical nasties?   Any advice gratefully received.

04/08/2013 at 10:27

Hi teenrbee

Yes, compost looks like a lot but goes nowhere. If you live in a rural or semi rural area you can augment it with fallen leaves in autumn. put them in black bin bags with a couple of worms from your compost heap. Old newspapers, crumpled up and put on the compost heap help a lot as long as they are kept moist as do all the old bits of letters and things with your name and address on that you don't want to put in the normal refuse.

There's no reason why you shouldn't cover your newly spread compost or manure. It will help to kill off the few weed seeds that have survived and also prevent rain from leaching out the nutrients in it.

I get manure from a stables where the horses live out in the open and the owner swears that they don't eat any nasty dry food at other times.

04/08/2013 at 11:05

Thanks waterbutts for you helpful response.  As far as the 'tainted' manure goes, apparently it was a herbiside that had been sprayed on pasture that the animals had eaten and then it had passed through them and into the manure.  It's coming to something when you can't even trust the manure you are using.  As you say its best to source it from someone you know and trust.  We live in a very rural location so I think I'll try to get on talking terms with the many horsemen and women who pass our door.

04/08/2013 at 14:30

The herbicide you are talking about was used to control perenial weeds on pasture land. It is called aminopyralid but comes under many different names. It affected many vegetable crops especially tomatoes but also roses and some perennials were badly affected too.

Since then I have only used bagged composted horse and cow manure just so I know I can get back at the big suppliers.

Here is the RHS info on it....

http://apps.rhs.org.uk/advicesearch/Profile.aspx?PID=477

04/08/2013 at 17:27

Teenrbee, it's not the horsemen and women you need to get on talking terms with, it's their nags.  .I live beside a bridleway and can often be seen following them up a particularly steep part of it with a bucket and trowel.  Something about the sight of a big push coming on puts a horse in mind of a good push of its own

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