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Shovelling The Smelly Stuff!

Well the weather has hardly been flaming June, which I must admit is getting me down. It’s all very well getting some rain in the drought stricken east but here in the wet west.. Oh well, weather is one thing we do well in Britain. The rest of the world get a climate!

Behind the house we’ve a path and then a raised border before a fairly high stone wall. I need to dig it over and re-build the retaining wall on the path side which is collapsing. So the other day I thought I’d make a start. Being as it is a raised bed, it should be easy to turn over and dig out where needed to fix the wall.

How wrong can you be? Two large boulders and two barrow loads of fist or bigger sized rocks from the first couple of square yards! What was it? Did they run out of soil and decide rocks were the answer? Oh well, another job that’s going to take a lot longer than I thought.

Actually it’s getting interesting. Today I dug out a bit more and discovered a sort of slate sill at the base of the wall under a couple of inches of soil. I’m looking forward to carrying on and seeing what else I turn up.

So, onto shovelling the smelly stuff!

I actually thought of a more alliterative title but this is less scatalogical. My neighbours called by with their trailer and asked if I wanted any horse manure. Of course I said yes, grabbed my fork and jumped into their car.

Off we went until we met the donor who led us down a track and across a field. There in the corner was a huge pile of horse manure, steaming slightly and blurred by clouds of brown flies. Now I don’t like to look a gift horse in the mouth, but I had to ask the donor if the land the horses grazed on had been weedkilled using aminopyralid.

He told us that his land was organically managed and the horses were fed that way but I can’t help feeling he was a little miffed with me. I did explain what it was and why I was asking but still, I questioned a generous gift. Better than the nightmare of a polluted plot though.

Between the three of us we loaded the trailer and returned home Unloading was dead easy though, the trailer is a tipper type and has a hydraulic lift that pushes it up. Now they, the neighbours offered me half but I said a third was fair so they tipped the lot and we’ll be going back for more next week. We’re so lucky to have good neighbours.

From the way the car was acting, we judged that we had well over tonne. Even so, it looks a fairly small pile sitting on its own in the field. It’s pretty fresh dung so I’ll leave it to rot down for a while before using it. Hot or fresh manure tends to burn the roots if you plant in it.

I want it to remain damp but not too wet. Too dry and the microbes can’t do their rotting job and too wet will wash out nutrients. I need to find a cheap tarpaulin to cover it with, maybe ebay or maybe our local(ish) hardware store that seems to sell nearly everything.

Funny how a bit of sunshine and a ton of dung puts a smile on the day!


Posted in Allotment Garden Diary
3 comments on “Shovelling The Smelly Stuff!
  1. michael says:

    B & Q do tarpaulins pretty cheap, would be ok for your needs.

  2. Richard Mulcahy says:

    I was thinking about sourcing some manure recently – but I read all of the aminopyralid stuff and now I am scared to!

    It is horrible to think how many unknown chemicals have built up in our soil over the years….

  3. John says:

    Saved a couple of pounds on the tarp. via Ebay – B&Q is 15 miles away from us, but thanks michael for the suggestion.
    Richard M – if you search this web site for aminopyralid you’ll find out how to test for it if in doubt and what to do if you have it. Luckily for me the farmer giving the manure away knew exactly what had gone on his land – nothing.

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