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New Muck Mountain & Real Recycling

A great start to 2022! My neighbour gave me the contents of his lambing shed – about 14 cubic metres of sheep muck. What better gift for the gardener?

large pile of sheep manure

A large pile of sheep manure – thanks to my neighbour.

It’s still a little fresh and I’m not going to get it shifted too quickly between my back and Welsh weather. A lot of the nutrients will wash into the field, which isn’t bad as it improves the land. However, I’d rather use it to grow fruit and veggies rather than grass.

So I’ve ordered a tarpaulin from Ebay to cover the pile and protect it from the rain. I’ve also a lot of cardboard and some ashes which will help hold and balance nutrients. They’ll also act as a “brown” in the composting process. These will be added and mixed in when we can get out and sort the pile prior to covering it.

I’d like to find a source of wood chips but every tree surgeon I speak to promises and that’s the last I hear from them. The bark peelings I get from local firm are used between the raised beds and in the chicken coop. They are slow to rot down but I may be able to get a load of them to add in to the muck.

Real Recycling

Nature is the great recycler. Nothing is wasted. Plant’s grow, feed animals that deposit their unneeded but processed material – their waste – onto the land which feeds more plants. Even the animals eventually return to the soil where they themselves feed the plants.

The massive exception to this is, of course, people. We consume but our waste gets flushed away rather than returned on the land. It wasn’t always so, people sustainably grew on land in a pretty closed cycle for thousands of years by returning their night soils to the earth via the compost heap. However, there are health risks associated with using human manure so that’s an observation – not a suggestion!

Human urine is basically safe to use on the compost heap and plot. It’s effectively sterile when produced. Human faeces, however, are not sterile and need proper handling and treatment to be safely used My preliminary research indicates that the bulk of the nutrients wasted down the toilet are in urine so that’s one to think about. More on that some other time.

Posted in Allotment Garden Diary

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