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trenching ground to take horse manure


By Bowman

Middlesex, United Kingdom Gb

When is the best time to trench in manure ready for next spring. l have a new allotment and at present l have less than a quarter in use due to time of year that it was acquired (mid July)



I have recently got an allotment which was part of a field. Although a few things have grown, I am going to have a load of well rotted horse manure delivered in the autumn and just spread and leave it over the soil until next spring. As for a trench, if I go down that road with my runner beans, I won't do that until the spring either. It won't hurt to your manure until then - the more well rotted the better!!

6 Aug, 2009


There is a very strong argument against trenching in manure or compost, except to retain moisture in the ground as for runner beans etc. Even with these crops, I believe a surface mulch is just as effective if not more so at retaining moisture beneath the ground for the roots, if laid early enough while the ground is still wet from the winter! (and not disturbed too much and dried out when you plant)
In nature, things grow pretty well and soil is built by leaves and other vegetation falling on the ground, not being buried deep within it. Emulate nature by putting your mulch on the surface and drawing it back to plant or sow. Pull it back around the plants as they grow. Worms do the rest of the work, especially during winter, by pulling down the compost into the soil.
Just because all the old gardeners of the past talked about trenching and double digging, it doesn't mean they necessarily got it right!

6 Aug, 2009


Birtiefox - that's very interesting. My veggie patch is a lot of work with all the digging over, so I'm thinking just laying the manure on top would be a good skive lol I'm just wondering tho and would be interested in your thoughts - would a top mulch in the autumn protect the soil from the cold too much? I'm thinking in particular about pests being kept nice and snug and warm in the soil and also some plants needing the cold - like garlic.

6 Aug, 2009


I think you'd find the cold would penetrate pretty well unless you had an extremely deep mulch. Most of the really nasty pests overwinter on plant material and in nooks and corners around the garden. I'm sure garlic wouldn't be affected.
There's a good article about the whole mulch system on:

6 Aug, 2009


I've only ever 'dug' my garden once, and that was to take the turf off. I know I've had a bad year this year but thats got nothing to do with what we're talking about here. I always lay a good 3 - 4 inches of compost/manure over the top in autumn and leave it until spring. I hope this helps :~))

6 Aug, 2009

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