Advice for a newbie

Hi There,
My first post so be gentle with me..
I live in Surrey, near an area called Claygate and as such with quite a clay soil. Last year I moved to a new house with lots of space so threw a few seeds down and had good results with
courgettes runner beans parsnips carrotts
the only crop that remains for me to pick are my Leeks which have been growing since April last year and I am hoping I can pick this spring..
this year I plan to branch out further to broad beans, sweetcorn and more of the above
my question is re. compose and manure. All advice I can see for most of the veg I want to grow suggests mixing manure into the soil. I have already used bags of compost to fill trenches I have dug in order to plant the crops I have listed above, but am wondering if I am missing a trick by not using actual manure....or will compost do?
To be honest I am not mad keen on the idea of laying horse poo in the garden and think the missus might not approve either!
Any advice welcome..
Thanks,
Owen
--
OwenD


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OwenD wrote:

There is no reason to pick leeks at any given time, they go on for some time, unlike courgettes :-).

Both are good. Just be careful with fresh compost, particularly from birds, as it may be too strong and burn your plants. OTOH don't leave it in a heap for ages as all the nutrients will leach out and run into the area down hill. Bagged compost is usually aged already but still be more spareing with chicken than horse for example.

It really isn't a health problem unless you use your own - not recommended. Sure it smells a bit but that's life. Horse manure is relatively inoffensive when fresh and will soon be quite harmless and odour free when exposed to the air and sun. However, check the provenance of your horse manure. If the horses have been on grain feed or some types of hay and it hasn't been sterilized by heat or composting, there may be lots of viable grain mixed in whcih will promptly give you a weed problem.
Manure from herbivores has been making gardens grow for millenia you are not going somewhere new.
David
David
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I agree with everything that David says about horse manure (lovely stuff), however there is one additional thing to be concerned about in the case of the UK and that is the possibility that the manure may have been contaminated with herbicide (specifically Aminopyralid)

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Thanks very much for your opinions.
The compost I have been using is all from garden centres in bags..I don't know it's source. Presumably if using this I don't also need manure?
Re. the leeks, I have been told that they should be pulled up very soon as they will start to flower? Is this correct? They seem a little thin currently..
thanks in advance,
--
OwenD


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OwenD wrote:

It's not an either-or. Whether you need manures also depends on the quality of the compost and how it is made. The purpose of compost and manure is to supply organic matter (which improves texture and water properties as well as supporting microflora) and nutrients, the proportion of the two depends on the origin. Bagged commercial compost and manure ought to be free of viable seeds but is the most expensive way to buy it. If possible find a cheap source that is available in bulk locally and then add whatever is missing. If you are going to stick with gardening you will need a constant source of compost/manure as both the organic matter and nutrients get used up.

Flowering will mean the end of eating them but so will pulling them up unless you can store them or eat them all now. If you leave some they will flower and produce seed but also produce sets which you can leave to grow in situ or plant out elsewhere. This way you are not buying more all the time.
David
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Yeah, what they said. (I'm also a newb). As I have been researching all this jazz, most of the studies I have read suggest adding the new poo at the end of the harvest for next years spring planting, but as you lead up to the season, use composted poo because new poo is just too strong.
In the words of Dave Ramsey on not putting all of your financial eggs in one basket and the diversification of your finances: "Money is like manuer. If you pile it up in one place it starts to stink and does no good, but if you spread it around, it can grow stuff that provides for you and your family." Pretty funny given the topic.
--
RayZorback

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You can't have enough compost on a clay soil!
I recommend you consider making your own, since then you'll know what has gone into making it, if you have the space. The Indore method has you turning the pile a couple times a week (it's a 'hot' method) and you can have garden-ready material, albeit a bit rough, in a month or two. Cold piles can take years to break down.
I've heard that purchased manure from garden centers isn't really a great way to go, but you can augment things by including a variety of materials where possible: mushroom compost, small amounts of peat, straw if you can get it, layered with the purchased manure. I have found that a 3-5" layer of straw on the surface of the soil with some compost and/or manure and a couple shovels of soil sprinkled over disintegrates after a growing season. In a year you won't be able to tell where you put it. If you want to have more amazing results, build your compost pile in next years garden. Whenever you think you have enough compost material - you don't have enough!
Good luck with growing your own veg! Try to restrain yourself when the seed catalogs start flying in :)
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wrote:

<snip>
I'm a great believer in using compost in my garden but I have always had dogs, usually a dog and a bitch. I have learned that dogs often love manure so I can't spread manure throughout my garden. Also a compost heap isn't viable for me because the dogs are sure to dig it up to investigate the contents. I use compost bins and I gradually add animal manure as it becomes available, my dog's droppings go straight into the garbage bin and not the compost bins.
If you have sufficient space a compost bin is useful for composting. It will take all of your kitchen's vegetable & fruit peelings plus leaves and lawn clippings etc.
I have added compost worms to the compost bin where I deposit the above items although only 50% of the lawn clippings because I have a second compost bin. A bin containing compost worms needs to be kept moist and the compost worms certainly shorten the time period before you can start using the compost on your garden.
I use a second compost bin where I deposit some of the cuttings from trees and shrubs etc. plus 50% of my grass clippings, but it takes much longer before I can use the contents on my garden.
--

John


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