When best to manure

General tips / questions on seeding & planting

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Primrose
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When best to manure

Postby Primrose » Tue Oct 03, 2006 3:52 pm

I've now cleared a lot of my growing area and have bags of commercially bought composted stable manure ready to spread. I'm never sure when is the best time to spread it on the soil and dig it in. Do I do it now and risk heavy rains throughout winter leaching out much of the goodness, or wait until around February and do it just before sowing seed. What do you all do?
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Postby oldherbaceous » Tue Oct 03, 2006 4:54 pm

Dear Primrose, i suppose at lot depends on whether you are treating the commercially bought composted stable manure as a soil conditioner or just a feed.
If you are treating it as a soil conditioner, you can dig it in now, but if it's more of a feed you might be better off waiting.
I know you really want the best of both worlds, but sometimes you can't have everything. :shock: :wink:

Kind regards Old Herbaceous.

Theres no fool like an old fool.
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Postby Beryl » Tue Oct 03, 2006 6:59 pm

I'm putting mine on now - all vacant ground and round the tree and soft fruit; but then I didn't get round to mulching very much this summer and as I've ordered a trailer load of fresh manure I need to empty the compost bins to make room for it.

Spring is always a busy time so do it when it is convenient to you.

Beryl.
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Postby richard p » Tue Oct 03, 2006 9:00 pm

i would spread it now, then let the worms pull it in, if you germinate all your seeds in pots and plant out later a bit left on the surfacein the spring wont matter and it will all dissapeer eventually,
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Postby Weed » Wed Oct 04, 2006 6:47 am

This year I applied FYM too late and it caused me some growth problems...lessons learnt and I will be adding my FYM manure within the next few weeks.

As has already been said the well composted manure I will use in the spring if and when required.
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Postby Allan » Thu Oct 05, 2006 6:55 am

In all this spreading of manure, even compost and fertiliser one must spare a thought for the environment. Bear in mind that the manure is typically spread over the ground during the winter rains and much is leached out, of the nutrients I believe that only a small percentage actually goes into the crops, the rest must go somewhere and much must be finding its way into the rivers and I suppose the aquafers. I know it is not on the grand scale associated with big farms which these days is subject to strict limits by the river authorities, nevertheless it is adding up especially where there are numbers of allotments together. One sees horrendous pictures of the effect of phosphate, for instance, causing foaming in rivers and fish dying. My personal practice is not to put fertiliser generally over an area to be used, but to confine the application to the crop row, even individual plant positions.
Allan
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Postby Beryl » Thu Oct 05, 2006 3:43 pm

I am not technically minded enough to understand Alan's point of view. However, surely properly made compost such as mine which is horse manure, layered well with grass cuttings, vegetable material, spent flowers etc. left in the bin for at least 9 months, it is beautifullly dark and crumbly (could even sow seeds in it) can do nothing but good for the soil whatever time it is spread.
A vegetable plot needs the bulk put back as each time you take out veggies a little soil goes to.

Artificial fertilizers I would not use.

Beryl.
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Postby Johnboy » Thu Oct 05, 2006 7:27 pm

Hi Beryl,
What you have said makes perfect sense and your course of action is certainly the way to proceed.
The dire warning from Allan is again hot air and decidedly against what his thoughts were a very short while back. The cause of the vast majority of the problems he refers to are caused by man made substances and not good honest manure.
Man made fertilizers are know as quick in and quick out substances and Allan is a user of these substances. Quick to apply and act and quick to leach away. I use them in certain circumstances myself but as the years go by less and less and I rely on building the fertility of the soil by incorporating FYM. To the greater degree I have always used this way with my vegetables and the man made Fertilizers were used when my nursery was up and running. Occasionally I use a little National Growmore or Vitax Q4 and of course Agriculturally I still use them.
I feel in the great run of things Allans comments are to be disregarded as they really are not intended for Gardeners or Allotmenteers because by comparison the amounts involved are but a spit in an ocean. I hear his point of view and discount it.
JB.
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Postby Beryl » Thu Oct 05, 2006 7:42 pm

Thank you Johnboy. It does rather annoy me when here we are tending our plots as nature intended and trying to encourage the use of natural resources which we have in abundance and usually for free to the average gardener.

Regards
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Postby Allan » Thu Oct 05, 2006 10:38 pm

If you don't believe that such things can happen with good old farmyard manure, or muck, here is an example text where the matter is discussed in a sensible way. There are plenty more.


http://www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/regul ... 0runoff%22
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Postby Johnboy » Fri Oct 06, 2006 7:08 am

Allan,
I do not need to go through a 25 page document that is not dealing with the subject in hand. The last three words of the web title Farmyard-Manure-Runoff
tells me that it is nothing to do with the incorporation of a comparatively small quantity of manure used on the average Garden Patch or Allotment.
Just down the road to me is a very large Dairy Farm
and during the winter months there are upwards of 1000 cattle kept under cover. The buildings have all been rebuilt in the last 5 years and whereas prior to the rebuilding they represented one very large source of pollution but not now. None of the run off of this unit ever gets anywhere near a water course. As you would imagine these cattle produce, whilst under cover, an absolute mountain of manure and every time it rains there is an enormous run off and that run off is contained. Now I am the first to agree that without the precautions taken this would represent one enormous hazard and there are many farms that do not have such up to date methods of treatment and do represent hazards. This being said can you now correlate this into terms as to the hazard that the normal vegetable grower represents to the enviroment?
As I said before what you are dealing with is a spit in a very large ocean. To my mind the average gardener represents such a minute percentage of the pollution produced as to be totally disregarded.
You can split as many hairs as you care to but I still maintain that what you are saying should be disregarded for the purposes of the original posting.
JB.
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Postby richard p » Fri Oct 06, 2006 10:00 am

ive just skimmed the document referred to by allen, as an ex cattle farmer i will comment as follows, stock farms have to deal with a range of wastes not just the solid manures we as gardeners are concerned with, probably the biggest problem for farms is dirty water, mainly rain that has washed accross dirty concrete yards which now should be contained and not diverted down the nearest drain. next comes slurry which is pure crap mixed with water and as such can flow over the surface into water courses. solid manure (crap mixed with bedding, usually straw)by and large stays where it is put.
as gardeners we have to consider the effect of rain on soil. light rain will wash soluble nutrients from the surface down into the soil profile, eventually into the underlying water table, this is the mechanism for the leaching of nitrates fron highly soluble artificial fertilisers into springs and boreholes. soil type has an effect water flows through sand quicker than through clay. the nutrients in compost and farm yard manure are in a different form, less soluble and to a degree bound to the soil particles , so are less mobile through the soil profile. which is part of the reason plants grow better in topsoil than dug up subsoil.
in heavy rain the soil cannot absorb the quantity of water (field capacity is exceeded) so runoff over the surface occurs, leading to the surface drainage system of ditches , streams and rivers. it is only in rare cases (eg if sluury or artificial fertiliser has recently been spread) that this runoff water from soil is of high enough concentration to cause environmental problems.
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Postby Johnboy » Fri Oct 06, 2006 1:15 pm

Hi Richard,
Although not a Cattleman I grew up on a very large stock rearing unit of Pedigree Herefords and am familiar with the conditions to which you refer.
The farm to which I refer contains all that you mentioned and on the Lagoon overflow there is a treatment process very similar to that of Sewerage Farm and the water discharged from this treatment is said to be of drinking quality. Eventually all dairy and stock rearing units will be up to this standard and even today if serious pollution can be traced to a particular unit heavy fines can be imposed.
But all this is a million miles from the very simple question that was asked by poor Primrose who must wondering what has happened to her so simple question.
I do apologise to you Primrose but please note that it was neither Richard or myself who added the complications.
Sincerely, JB.
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Primrose
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Postby Primrose » Fri Oct 06, 2006 1:56 pm

Don't apologise. It was quite an interesting argument. And sitting here typing this and watching a rainstorm hail down on my freshly dug borders I think I've probably got the answer to my own question. i.e. that if I spread my manure now, the rain will leach much of the goodness away by the time spring comes But as we're in a hosepipe ban area which will probably continue into next summer, courtesy of Thames Water, I shouldn't be complaining about the amount of rain that falls. At least the water butts are now full and the rain will help rot all the chopped up bean and tomato vines I've just dug into the trenches.
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Postby Johnboy » Fri Oct 06, 2006 3:10 pm

Hi Primrose,
Stable manure is not quite as nutritious as FYM but never the less it will be fine. If you can lay your hands on some heavy duty Black Polythene and spread your manure and allow it to get well wetted then cover the bed with HDBP and forget it until next spring and you will find that the worms will have done most of the work for you. Next spring you will only need to give the surface a tickle with a Ladies Fork and the soil will be ready to do anything you ask of it. No leaching will have occurred.
JB.
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