Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Empty beds

This time last year we were scattering green manure seed in our empty beds. It was supposed to be a great way of keeping down the weeds and putting nutrients into the soil. Anyway, in our heavy clay soil and our typical rainy weather it was a nightmare crop! My goodness, trying to cut it back and dig it in well I wrote about my frustrations and at the time here, but it isn't very clear just how angry I was ~ I was mad, cold, sore backed and mad!

This year we have changed tack and are trying a new/old technique. I say 'we' of course, I mean Andrew. This year the beds were emptied (by me) and Andrew dug them over good and proper, then added a heck of a lot of the finest animal poo which we had been composting over the summer. If you like compost and manure you'll love this photo, if you don't look away now!

It's really squelchy... plus I think you could wave a seed over the top and it would germinate - powerful stuff is rotten poo.

Once mixed thoroughly into the soil the beds were ridged up. Yes, that's what I said, they were made into little mountain ridges. This way the rain (the lots and lots of it that makes Ireland the Emerald Isle I guess) will run off the bed and drain away better. We still need to get hold of some of that gorgeous seaweed from the beach to put on top - such a rich bounty, free from the ocean. Seriously if you don't live near the water (we live right on it) go on a day trip with some big bags and gather some up, yes it will stink out the car but it is worth it on the veggies.

We took Maggie for a walk last night along the promenade - poor Andrew it took so much self control not to go on to the shore line and lift it my the arm full. The storms are good for one thing I suppose - there's loads of it!

So, what are your thoughts on green manure? Personally I shall never have it near my plots again but that's just me. It's good old cow/horse crap for me!! Never thought I would be so passionate about poo, hahaha.
Note: The Conservation Volunteer project I spoke about last week is on TV tomorrow night between 6pm and 6.30pm UTV - they need your votes!!!


  1. You've given me a great idea! We live near the beach and I've never thought of gathering up some seaweed and putting it on my garden bed. I use seaweed fertilizer all the time - the kind that sold is in stores - but I never thought of gathering it from the beach myself. I'll definitely be doing this soon! Thanks so much for the tip! -Jackie

  2. I grew some Hungarian rye grass as green manure last year and it's still around and causing problems now - don't do it people!
    Poo is definitely the way to go.

  3. YES ~ poo and seaweed is 'in', green manure is 'out'.

    Thanks girls, hugs xxx

  4. I did try it once but found it a bit fiddly and couldn't find a spare piece of ground that wasn't being used when I was supposed to plant the seed. By the time I had a spare bit of ground it was too late. I prefer to spread my manure/compost on the ground this time of year, I don't dig it in.. I let the worms do it for me over Winter!

  5. My old-time plot neighbours clear the ground, dig it over using a spade then leave it for the winter. They spread and dig-in compost and/or manure late winter or early spring several weeks before they start sowing and planting. Both grow prize winning vegetables every year and when I asked them about green manures they said...Why bother? Flighty xx

  6. It's unanimous!! Green manure is useless. Highly sophisticated survey I know, but I like it when others feel the same

    Hugs to you all x


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