New plot mid-March - manuring/fertilizer before planting?

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lemonstar

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I noticed a lot of the other plots have already put manure down - a few months ago but is there anything I should do now before planting. I thought manure really needs time to rot down and that you shouldn't plant if it's a) not well rotted to start with or b) hasn't been down long. Talking to a couple of others it seems like people are waiting to plant (e.g seed potatoes) until the frosts and cold nights look unlikely. I've seen plenty of onion sets down. I just double dug and weeded about 2/3 of my smallish plot - approx 7m x 13m and wondered what if anything, at what feels like a bit late in the day, I should put back into the soil - I know one width had spuds in it as I dug enough up so I won't put mine in the same place. Others have used 6x concentrated chicken manure but again it was dug in a while back. At the moment I plant to put some 2nd early spuds in, some onion sets and a mix of beans - the beds have been weeded (there were various roots to pull up, fine roots and rubbery ones  - couch grass I think), dug and raked, flattened off. It's my first plot and I've only got interested in gardening about 18 months ago - shrubs and trees etc at home - the idea of growing food is quite recent - I'm reading around a lot but can't always find the answers I'm after - it's always in Jan - do this, in Feb - do this - well - I didn't have the plot then so those things weren't done. Can someone point me in the right direction on what to do now, knowing that planting time is near and I didn't have the plot as early as I would have liked. There is so much to read and absorb - I have a small 3m x 2m poly tunnel on order so I'm reading up about that atm - there just seems so much to do to get started and I have the time - just not enough know-how.

thanks
Neil
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Toosje

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Re: New plot mid-March - manuring/fertilizer before planting?
« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2018, 08:05 »
You can manure now Lemonstar. Just make sure you have properly covered it before you plant any plants, otherwise they will burn. Ideal is autumn, but in this case you can work around it.

If I were you, I would manure where the soil and plants require so (beans and onions don't need extra feeding) and start a good pile of compost for this years late autumn. Try to gather some leaf, save some manure, work it through and spread it on your plot.
What works well when you start is, just make a little list of veg you often buy (or really like but are quite expensive), see when they should be sown and what degree of 'richness' or Ph they need. You can group them: 'fruits' (pumpkins, cucumbers, pickles...), nightshades (potatoes, eggplant...), roots and bulbs (onions, beets, parsnips, carrots), leafy greens (spinach, lettuce, beet leaf), cabbages (kohlrabi, turnips, paksoy, cauliflower, broccoli...). Often the veg in these groups have the same needs, so you can adjust the whole bed, instead of adding chalk to one row, but not the next.

We have been manuring in spring last and this year, due to the date we got our plot and the time it takes to build the fitting amount of compost. Now we will wait until autumn (2019) because only then we will have enough compost to cover our garden after the season. Hopefully I will be able to cover the garden with leaves this year, because last winter we left it bare which is not ideal..

Enjoy :)

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mumofstig

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Re: New plot mid-March - manuring/fertilizer before planting?
« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2018, 08:17 »
The usage instructions for 6X Natural Manure Welcome to 6X Natural Fertilisers say it can be used in small amounts at sowing time or dug in more generously a couple of weeks before planting, so I think you still have time to use it.
Alternatively use Blood, Fish and Bone, an organic fertiliser through the season, meanwhile sourcing your manure for rotting down ready to use next winter.

Good luck
Lesley x
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Goosegirl

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Re: New plot mid-March - manuring/fertilizer before planting?
« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2018, 13:17 »
Congratulations on your new plot. Don't worry too much about getting everything right in one go - we are all still learning, make mistakes, have crop failures etc but it's such a joy when you succeed in harvesting your own home-grown veg and fruit. Sowing and planting times are just guidelines - it all depends on the climate where you live and the current weather. Things sown later on usually catch up as it gets warmer. Other basic things to consider are:-
1) where to put permanent things like your poly-tunnel, paths, compost bins, and shed.
2) Find out the type of soil you have and if it drains ok. Do this by digging a small trench and look at how much top-soil there is and what it's like further down.
3) You can use mushroom compost as a mulch or just dig it in. It has little nutrient value but will help condition your soil.
4) Keep on top of those rooted weeds, one of which sounds like either couch grass, bindweed or ground elder, but the leaves will give you the answer.
5) Give yourself time to sit back for a rest and to enjoy your labours.
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lemonstar

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Re: New plot mid-March - manuring/fertilizer before planting?
« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2018, 18:17 »
I feel like I should have replied a bit sooner but, like the rest of you, probably, an allotment is a good way to spend less of my precious life sat in front of a computer and, it seems to me, there is a lot to do at this time of year.

So I have combined all your thoughts and advice with a conversation I had with one of the long-time allotment holders I was directed to. In fact the day I got hold of him to ask if it was too late to put manure down he was in the act of barrowing some horse manure on to his plot and was  planning on putting his spuds in a couple of weeks after. I went up to a local equestrian centre (they have 35 horses there) and they were only too glad for someone to take some of the manure away - I was told they pay a 4 figure sum to a local farmer to take it away several times a year. There was a mountain of manure 15m wide, 3m high and 4m deep - I dug into the mound as low as a I could and went in a couple of feet to fork out the dark brown stuff - the heat and steam was unbelievable. I carted 8 large trugs of it to my plot and spread it on the 7m wide strip I'd earmarked for potatoes - that was last week and I'm going to wait another week or so to plant even though this weekend, because it was fine, there were a lot of people planting potatoes.

I have some FB&B and the 6x chicken manure pellets but until I decide what is going where (it's a small plot) I thought best not to just chuck it around brainlessly until I know what I am doing and why. I'm preoccupied with what to do with the last 1/3 of the plot atm. I started double digging and hit a problem - I'll post about that separately - it's very waterlogged after the rain we had last week - I read a lot about the problem but I'm still not sure what to do - the ground is too soft for putting raised bed on atm after I dug half of it over when it was just mildly damp. Anyway... another thread for that.

Also Goosegirl - I have to stop and heed your advice - I am trying to get everything done and I now realise there is too much - double digging and weeding a plot that was not touched for 12months is very time consuming and as much as I actually enjoy the work it is taking a toll on my back and hip (25 years of running have knackered my joints up tbh) - when the weather is fine it's great to have the time to listen to some music on my mp3 player and in the evening when the sun is going down to just listen to all the birds - a couple of times I've been down in the plot from 10am until 7.30pm - no drink, no food and just worked all day - I took an apple and a carton of juice but never thought of touching them - I'm enjoying it but frustrated at my lack of basic knowledge - I have so many questions in my head all day and have to make decisions in order to get anything done.

Anyway - thank-you for your replies.

Neil



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