A load of manure for the allotment: and time for some friendly little worms to get to work, too.
It’s manure time on the allotment. Oh, the glamour. As we do each year, we drove to a local stables and filled our boot with bags of fresh horse manure, and a couple of bags of well-rotted stuff from the centre of the heap. In fact, we had so much fun shovelling poo that we went back for a second load.
Here’s what we do with the glorious poo. The fresh, steamy stuff either goes onto the pumpkin patch and lasagna bed, or into the compost (the perfect conditions for growing pumpkins are essentially compost heaps). And the well-rotted stuff goes around the fruit bushes and canes.
This stuff is packed full of brandling worms, the clever little wiggly characters who chomp away at organic matter and make the soil so happy and fertile as a result. Here they are, having a jolly good meal:
We don’t bother forking the manure into the soil at this point for this reason: the worms do it for us. They’ll pull the nutrients down into the beds as they chomp away. On the lasagna bed, we cover the manure so that it doesn’t dry out (and because it’s time to do what we call ‘baking’: more on this soon).
At the start of April, we’ll then fork over the pumpkin patch and sow a green manure on top, which will stay there until a couple of weeks before the pumpkins are due to go in, at which point we’ll cut it down, chop it up, add armfuls of comfrey leaves, dig it all in, add some kitchen waste compost trenches and spread the top with another two car bootfulls of horse manure. Then we’ll plant the pumpkin and squash plants into this fertile mix, and hope for a fruitful season.