Sunday, 17 February 2013

A Load of Poo

I am just slightly worried about how excited I felt when, in snowy weather this week, I stumbled upon this sign in the lovely Epping Forest (just on the outskirts of London)
It was right down the road from here:

Before long I had 15 sacks of manure in my little car destined for the allotment! I needed help  to shift them, but after the effort how satisfying it was knowing that after rotting down they will be excellent food for the soil.  It's fresh poo, mixed with some wood shavings, some straw, mmm.
The allotment holders' may also have a bulk delivery of rotted manure from some police stables in Central London, arriving directly at the site- hope it comes soon! Wonder if it'll be all nice and crumbly and dark and smelling all fresh, and full of worms! Ah how the mind of an allotment holder differs form a non-plottie. Never before have I spent sleepless nights dwelling on the merits of animal ordure.... 
I guess we'll always be on the lookout for free soil improvers from now on, somewhere I read that we should add 2 barrows of manure per square metre, on a third of the plot each year. Is this a realistic amount I wonder? Whatever the case,  no longer will I look a gift horse in 

In my excitement I'd completely forgotten about the threat of weedkiller contaminated manure- it has been a big problem in the last few years with hay and other feed containing weedkillers applied to farming land.  This is processed by the animals and isn't broken down in their waste. If then applied to plants it can cause them to curl and distort, rendering them useless.  It is suggested that it may break down if the manure is left to rot for long enough.
You can try testing your stuff by planting something- a broad bean or tomato  say- and see if it is affected.  I'll definitely be doing this.   I'm hoping that, as this muck comes from a small riding school, I might be ok.  But I suppose they still buy in hay etc, that doesn't mean it will be safe.   I'm definitely happy with my supply of well-rotted manure from a nearby stables but at £1.20 a bag that'll have to remain just an occasional treat.   Thanks Sue for drawing my attention to this important issue. 
I wonder what affect  these weedkillers has on the animals? ...... And the wider food chain....
Try the Royal Horticultural Society's advice for more information, or any other sites recommended by readers:


  1. We don't get excited by manure any more - not since our contamination problem - our manure is green now.

  2. Oh no, in my excitement I'd completely forgotten about that. A very good point indeed. I'll add something to the post about it in case people are not aware. I really hope it hasn't got it. Thanks Sue.