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Horse manure

So I have piles of reasonably well rotted horse manure. It’s rich but crumbly.

We are on solid clay here that is like concrete. I have a corner of the garden on a slope that’s never been gardened. But we’ve just put in a gate there and so I want to plant it up. It’s very shady, so I was thinking of a fern area. 

Hubby has put a ton of the manure on top of the clay there to level off the slope and to create a bed. However the garden centre chap said that the manure would scale the ferns. 

I dont want to have to move all the manure and start again, or try to dig in the manure. Can I put a load of flattened out cardboard boxes to separate off the manure, and then create a new layer for the ferns using standard compost or top soil? 

Posts

  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 33,305
    Not ideal. I'd leave it there for the rest of this year, with maybe the cardboard on top to stop weeds. This will enable the worms to do their bit. You really do need to fork the two layers together before planting. 
    There's the easy way  , and there's the  right way to do things. They're rarely the same though, unfortunately.
    Devon.
  • Hampshire_HogHampshire_Hog Hampshire Coast 100m from the seaPosts: 1,089
    Rather than top soil I would use composted bark then lightly dig this in, when you say reasonably well rotted manure how old is it? If over a year and you add in the bark I would think it would be OK to plant into just try one or two plants first and see how they get on

    "You don't stop gardening because you get old, you get old because you stop gardening." - The Hampshire Hog
  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 20,406
    I've always dug the first load of manure into clay. After that I add it as a mulch.
    Dordogne and Norfolk
  • Rather than top soil I would use composted bark then lightly dig this in, when you say reasonably well rotted manure how old is it? If over a year and you add in the bark I would think it would be OK to plant into just try one or two plants first and see how they get on
    Yes it is over a year old. So it is black. It was manure with shredded paper rather than straw or shavings mixed in though, so it is quite pure 
  • Rather than top soil I would use composted bark then lightly dig this in, when you say reasonably well rotted manure how old is it? If over a year and you add in the bark I would think it would be OK to plant into just try one or two plants first and see how they get on
    I do have some Chippings from a large Norwegian maple that is in the process of breaking down. I have another pile that’s more rotted but that pile was from conifers which I think means it’s not hospitable/really usable? 
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