potatoes and manure

nightgardennightgarden SW ScotlandPosts: 112
Is it too late or can I put a layer of (home made) manure on the plot I plan to plant potatoes in? I'm in Scotland so it will be late March before they go into the ground.
Any advice welcome.
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  • raisingirlraisingirl East Devon, on the Edge of Exmoor.Posts: 2,906
    edited 9 January
     of (home made) manure 
    .... er.. no I'm not going to ask. I expect you have a horse, yes? Or some chickens, maybe? Please say yes.

    anyhoo - not too late. Perfect time, in fact. If it's rather fresh, don't dig it in, your hard frosts yet to come will help enormously to break it down between now and when you plant the spuds - you can mix it in as you plant them. I wouldn't use it on any other plants, but potatoes will be OK (and rhubarb would too, if you have/want any) - you may get more scab on the spuds than if the manure is broken down so chose the most scab resistant types you can find. On the upside, the soil in that bed will be lovely next year for beans or brassicas.

    It is better if manure is allowed to compost for at least 6 months, so if your, erm, source, is still available, get a heap together through spring and let it rot through the autumn so next winter it'll be fine for most veg (except root crops).
    "bandits and governments 'ave so much in common that they might be interchangeable anywhere in the world"
    Sir Terry Pratchett
  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Leicestershire, UKPosts: 7,113
    If you meant compost rather than manure then putting it down now will also be fine (unless the ground is frozen, in which case wait until it has thawed), so best do it this weekend if the weather forecasts are anything to go by!  ;)
    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • nightgardennightgarden SW ScotlandPosts: 112
    Thank you raisingirl - I put farmyard manure on the patch 3 years ago but this time its just garden compost and then come next winter I'll have more well rotted manure ready to go. And yes I do have chickens so they contribute too!
  • nightgardennightgarden SW ScotlandPosts: 112
    Thank you BobTheGardner - yes it is compost I was asking about. The ground is frozen at the moment but the weekend is looking good so I'll take your advice and get it done Saturday. 
  • raisingirlraisingirl East Devon, on the Edge of Exmoor.Posts: 2,906
    Ah. Well that's a huge relief. So to speak.

    If you're forecast to get any rain, add the compost while the ground is wet. It's probably not a big deal if not - there's plenty of moisture in the ground at the moment. Or there is here, anyway 
    "bandits and governments 'ave so much in common that they might be interchangeable anywhere in the world"
    Sir Terry Pratchett
  • NollieNollie Girona, Catalunya, Northen SpainPosts: 824
    Well my new neighbour’s are going to install a composting toilet, which will ‘contribute’ to their veg patch @raisingirl, so I’ll make your excuses when the invite to lunch comes around  ;)
  • wild edgeswild edges The north west of south east WalesPosts: 1,810
    Manured soil can attract more slugs which can damage your spuds. I've never found it to make a huge difference but I lose a lot of spuds to them anyway.
  • nightgardennightgarden SW ScotlandPosts: 112
    Manured soil can attract more slugs which can damage your spuds. I've never found it to make a huge difference but I lose a lot of spuds to them anyway.
    Thanks for your reply, I know what you mean about manure and slugs but I won't be adding any to the veg bed - it's my own well rotted compost. 
  • nightgardennightgarden SW ScotlandPosts: 112

    If you're forecast to get any rain, add the compost while the ground is wet. 
    Thanks for your reply - its been wet for the last few days so the ground is definitely wet. 
    It's forecast to be much colder so I'm trying to decide whether to let the low temps do their work on the newly turned soil and then put  the compost layer on or just add the compost now .... any thoughts welcome
  • raisingirlraisingirl East Devon, on the Edge of Exmoor.Posts: 2,906
    I have very heavy clay. When I'm making a new bed on 'unimproved' clay, I always leave mulching until the spring to let frost do the clay breaking work. Otherwise I usually try to mulch in autumn - the longer it's on there, the more time the worms have to give it a good mix around and for it to feed in to the soil's whole ecology.

    I don't think it matters hugely - do it when the weather is kind, the soil is reasonably damp and you're feeling up to it.
    "bandits and governments 'ave so much in common that they might be interchangeable anywhere in the world"
    Sir Terry Pratchett
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