We’ve got mountains of muck! Our friendly sheep breeding neighbour has cleaned out his lambing shed in preparation of this year’s lambing. And we’ve won the muck.
He’d got a friend with a tractor and large tipping trailer who brought the heaped loads of muck over. These were tipped by the entrance to the small field where the polytunnel and walled vegetable garden are. 10 or maybe 12 loads! I reckon around 60 cubic metres.
Most of the manure is already well rotted, but some is still pretty ‘strawy’ – most likely the top layer when the shed was scraped out. This will benefit from being turned and left to rot down a bit further before use.
Value of Manure
Looking up the NPK value of manures, sheep manure is roughly equivalent to cow or horse manure for nitrogen and phosphorus except for being higher in potassium (potash). This makes sheep manure the best base manure for tomatoes and potatoes etc. It also makes a great “muck tea” feed for any potash loving plant, although comfrey liquid is as good as any commercial feed.
The real value for manure is two fold. I think it is far superior to a fertiliser like blood, fish & bone or Growmore for a number of reasons.
Manure adds humus and organic matter to the soil. Unlike a fertiliser that just feeds the plants, manure feeds the soil as well increasing microbe levels etc. Microbes work in partnership with plants to provide nutrients. Organic matter keeps soil friable and helps retain and absorb water, ameliorating drought and flood.
Rotted manure will not burn plants and it’s very difficult to over-dose the ground with manure.
Of course, fertiliser does have some advantages – it’s a lot less effort to spread for starters – but I’m really made up to have this job on the list.