I have some bags of well rotted manure. Is now the right time to dig it into my vegetable beds in preparation or should I wait for a little longer?
Thanks in advance
So long as the ground isn't frozen, the sooner the better. It then gives the worms and bacteria/fungi time to start breaking it down to provide goodness for your plants in Spring.
You may already be aware, but manure dug into a bed for carrots will cause them to fork
Last edited: 14 January 2018 09:31:08
Yes fresh organic matter will tend to promote forking & fibrous roots in all root crops. This is why most crop rotations will show a root crop following on from previous crops without the addition of any more fresh compost or manure. Remember you can just spread manure on the top & let the worms do the work for you if you do not want to dig at the moment.
Iain R says:Yes fresh organic matter will tend to promote forking & fibrous roots in all root crops. This is why most crop rotations will show a root crop following on from previous crops without the addition of any more fresh compost or manure. Remember you can just spread manure on the top & let the worms do the work for you if you do not want to dig at the moment.
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| would just spread the manure and leave it ... as Ian says the worms do the job for you ... you shouldn't go on the soil and work it until it's dry enough not to stick to your boots ... most gardens in the UK will be too claggy to work at the moment. Save your back
Thank you all, we had a dry spell so I managed to dig half of 1 raised bed!! Every little helps!!
I didn't know that carrots didn't like manure or fresh compost - should I also avoid adding Q4 fertiliser to their soil and avoid giving them a liquid feed?
I take it potatoes, garlic, spring onion, cabbage, climbing French beans, Strawberries and salad crops do like manure though???
Thank you all for your advice ?
I don't dig raised beds ... a gentle ' light forking over of the surface' if needed in the spring, but the best bit about raised beds is that you leave the structure alone as much as possible.
Not sure how extensive the studies have been, but I remember reading one piece, where beds were compared - dug and no dig. And the no dig cropped better. So throwing muck on the top of the bed sounds like a good idea.
You can grow carrots in beds that have had manure or compost put on top as a mulch. It is the forking/digging in that will create air pockets for the roots to fork into.
Jonesk Q4 & liquid fertiliser should not promote forking but if the ground has been well manured/ fertilised for a previous crop you should not need more unless your soil is very light & sandy as these soils do not hold nutrients as well as loam or clay soils. There are many rotation plans but a good start is https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?pid=124#section-4
Wayside -yes the Beechgrove garden among others have done trials & no dig beds often crop better especially early in the season. Charles Dowding one of the leading practitioners of no dig has done extensive trials. However even he admits one disadvantage of no dig are the considerable amounts of manure / compost required. Some of us "townies" have problems obtaining the large amounts required at a reasonable cost, & without large amounts added every year for several years no dig beds on clay end up compacted & solid. I know I have tried, hence I still dig.
@Iain R, could a green manure help there?
Wayside- I have used green manures & you are right grazing rye is particularly good for ground prone to compaction. All green manures need digging in, ideally thrashed in with a rotary cultivator so as Charles Dowding says in his books not really compatible with "no dig".