So as you might know we're based in Somerset. Frome to be precise. And that means that amongst many other glorious things we have at least 10 livery yards by us with an abundant supply of horse manure. There's also a local egg supplier from whom we've enjoyed some excellent poultry manure.
Now why is that important? Well that manure is an invaluable way of adding much needed organic content to your soil.
Last year we wrote a number of articles about soil. So you don't have to go back and look for them here are the links:
Now in short there are simply a few things you need to know about soil. It acts as:
a medium in which plants can grow,
a source of water and nutrients for those plants, &
as a home for worms and other beneficial organisms.
See? Far more to it than you might have first thought!
And more than that. Soil can be classified given it's type. There are loads of different types but as far as we're really concerned as gardeners we can break them down into the following:
Clay soil - where the particles are less than 0.002mm in size,
Silt soil - particles are between 0.002-0.05mm,
Sandy soil - particles are between 0.05-2mm, &
Stony soil - particles are bigger than 2mm in size.
And the reason that's important is that the type of soil you have can determine what you can grow. For instance if you have a clay soil then you'll struggle enormously to grow a successful Mediterranean garden unless you do something to improve and condition your soil. Likewise if you have a sandy soil then you'll probably spend an awful amount of time watering it as sand isn't well known for it's water retaining properties!
What we need to do is change the properties of our soil. What we do depends on the type of soil we have and what we want to grow. If you have a sandy soil and want to grow plants - like that Mediterranean garden - then you might be ok. If however you have a clay soil and want the type of garden you enjoyed last summer when you were in Spain then you might need to do something to change and improve your soil.
That's important as the type of soil you have influences how it behaves - clay soils tend to be heavy, take longer to warm up in the spring, are easily compacted and retain moisture whereas sandy soils with their bigger particles tend to behave in the opposite way.
So what we need to do is condition our soil by adding something to it. Now in the case of a clay soil that might mean adding some washed horticultural grit to increase the gaps between the particles of the soil.
In the case of sand - and clay - it could mean adding some organic matter. And this is where the horse's mouth comes in, as we're talking manure.
Manure - whether it's from a horse or chicken - can be great for your garden as long as it's well rotted, applied at the right time of year and in the right amounts and (preferably) as long as it's weed free. What the manure does is this:
It binds and changes the soil particles such that they can be more easily penetrated by roots,
It holds moisture better,
In enables nutrients to be held longer in our soil &
And as it decays it releases further nutrients to feed our plants.
Now there's loads more we could talk about when it comes to manure but there comes a point when, at least for now, enough is enough!
But the thing is, and as we cultivate our soil more and more and expect more and more from it, then we need to add something back. Compost that we buy from garden centres and DIY stores might help in the short term but it won't last beyond a few weeks and we need add something else to the mix. And that might well be manure!
Now we know you can also buy manure from those same garden centres and DIY stores but have you seen how much it is? We saw some this week for £6 a sack!
And that takes us back to what we said at the very beginning. We're in a lovely part of the world and where the local supply of manure is strong. In the past livery yards would have had reciprocal arrangements with local farmers who might have taken the dung heap away and spread it on their own land in return for some hay and straw. Nowadays however the liveries are being charged to have that "brown gold" taken away.
And as gardeners - and for the reasons that we've spoken about -
We want it!
Now very few of us will either have the time or the means to dig and fill sacks from the heap and then load it into the boot of our car ourselves. Have you ever tried managing a fully loaded shovel with one hand whilst holding open the sack with your other?
Needless to say some of the manure tends to go into the sack, the rest seems to find it's way all over your hands. And then when the sacks are in the boot and when the weather is warm there are no amount of air vent mounted air fresheners that will help...…….
So this is what we're offering on a small scale, local and trial basis.
We'll do all that hard work so you don't have to! You can have it by the sack load or trailer load, and for a small fee we'll dig it and deliver it to your door, garden or plot. If you like we'll even spread it for you.
There you go. We got there. Straight from the horse's mouth!
Get in touch if you would like to know more, either through my facebook page, at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 07734 365028.