Oh where art thou manure!

Hi all,

I am seeking lovely manure and struggling to find a supplier which will deliver smaller quantities. All seem to deliver half ton bags, which would be far too much for my needs.. I think? Does anyone know of any larger stores which do good, well rotted manure in bags?

I am in the South of England near Brighton with a front and back garden made of heavy clay soil (with some big chunks of white chalk thrown in). 

I have done a lot of work pulling up patio and creating two beds in my back garden. Over two years I dug deep, dug in bags of grit, piles and piles of homemade compost and mulches bark. My plants have been very happy, despite my steep learning curve.

I have now decided to remove more patio and create more and more gardening potential. Having done so next to one of my beds I can see that my hard work has created a foot or more of rich, happy, dark, wormy soil, which next to my new orangey clay soil bed is a stark contrast! 

I want these new beds to be home for vegetables and so am planning to dig in my current full compost bin into two and then create one central bed as a hot bed with raw veg peels etc ready for pumpkins and beans. I think adding a hefty amount of manure to these three beds will help the vegetables and to help with the clay. I'm hoping it will also be what my rhubarb, soon to be planted raspberries etc will want.

I also don't want to over do the manure. My old beds and front garden I was going to add just a mulch of it as I ultimately aim to be no dig.

Am I on the right track? Any tips with how much manure? Or alternatives if it isn't the right idea (I've never bought in soil to my garden, just made my own through composting!)

Thank you all so much!

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Posts

  • Allotment BoyAllotment Boy North London Posts: 1,838

    Hi  sounds like you have done a lot & are on the right track. You may have seen from spreading your own compost it is surprising how much you need to cover even a quite small area to any reasonable depth. The small bags of manure you can buy don't go far & it's an expensive way to do it, try to think of it a a volume rather than weight & work out the area you need to cover, Aim for around 10cm -(4in) depth. You don't have to be too exact but it will give you an idea. A 1 ton  size skip bag is 1 cubic metre. If you spread as a mulch  it looks like too much when you first put it on but within 6 months or so you will wonder where it has all gone! If you dig it in as you have with your other materials it will disappear. 

    AB Still learning

  • RedwingRedwing Posts: 875

    A half ton bag won't go far. I think you will be surprised at how little ground that covers when spread.

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 23,933

    I agree - half a ton is nothing. I've already laid around a ton on the garden (before Christmas) and it's covered very little - the foot of most of the boundary hedge - about 70 feet in total.  I still have most of the borders in the back to do, and one in the front. I don't have a very big garden either. 

    I have a permanent free supply of it, as I work in an equestrian centre. Have you a local stable you could approach?

    And somewhere on the hill
    Inside the past we hear the bells
    Catching only parts of thoughts
    And fragments of ourselves
    Till we begin
    Again


  • Pete.8Pete.8 Billericay, EssexPosts: 4,549

    I would also agree with the above.

    I've used Levington Farmyard manure before and another online supplier and been disappointed with the quality.

    I ordered from 
    http://www.cpa-horticulture.co.uk/well-rotted-horse-manure

    I got the 36 x 75 litre bags and it's good stuff. Recognisable dollops of the real thing, well-rotted and the bags are stuffed full.

    Having realised how little it actually covered I subsequently ordered another 2 loads of the 36 bags and that's covered most of my garden in a 4" layer.
    I suspect I'll need another 36 bag load when the weather improves a bit to finish off.

    Moving that lot 200ft down the garden was quite a work out! but I'm sure the plants (and no doubt weeds) will appreciate it

    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • Mark56Mark56 Windsor, BerkshirePosts: 1,653

    There should be well rotted manure available at your local Garden Centre, ours has a fair few brands to choose from. Failing that, do you have any stables near you? The one nearest me has it by the trailer load and is more than willing to offer it to passers by for free. You're doing the right thing with Clay though, it just takes years of improving the consistency

  • NatbatNatbat Posts: 62

    Wow, thanks all. 

    I am really proud of what I've done so far. My soil is very heavy clay. In retrospect I would have made raised beds and then in other areas worked with the clay and planted compatible plants. You live, you learn. No doubt when I sell and move I will be greeted with the same soil type and can improve my technique. I'm just thrilled to have found so many happy worms today chilling out in my composter. I think next on my list is a DIY wormary :)

    Based on your advice I'm going to go for a half ton bag. I did the maths on a cubic meter (Thanks Iain!) and you're right it wont go far. I'm going to go for the same size bag of wood chip as it is cheaper and work that into the new beds too, as well as adding to mulching the borders. 

    Fairygirl, there's a farm up the road I could drop into an ask. I'm not able to pick up myself, so would be dependent on paying delivery so fingers crossed they're able to tractor it down.

    I want to prep the beds fully before ordering so have a week ahead of heavy slab lifting. Really looking forward to sharing images of it when done. 

    I've attached before and after photos. Winter 2015 and I think mid summer 2016. The area I'm sorting now is the bottom patio, when previously I had just planted in the gaps I left between the patio slabs. I will be imageimagelengthening both beds and then creating a v shape bottom bed. I will be able to get rid of a lot of my pots by moving goodberry bushes etc into the boarders, so hopefully less watering!

  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 20,540

    WOW, what a wonderful transformation. Well done you .

    Devon.
  • LG_LG_ gardens in SE LondonPosts: 2,300

    That's fantastic!

    I've no further information to add, though initially I clicked on the thread because I too need manure delivered rather than being able to collect it. I could easily use a tonne though, probably more.

    Love what you've done with that space.

    'If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.'
    - Cicero
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 23,933

    Really fantastic- well done on all your hard graft.   I've had to do plenty of changes in many gardens so I know how much effort is needed. image

    If you can get someone to bring the manure to you, and you can make a compost bin/container of some kind for it in a corner, you can leave fresh manure in it to rot down. It will reduce pretty quickly and you'll have a nice supply to use. It takes around six months for fresh stuff to be usable - maybe a bit longer over winter, but it depends on your conditions etc.

    Mixed with home made compost (if you're doing that too)  it will be superb, continuous resource  for your garden.  image

    And somewhere on the hill
    Inside the past we hear the bells
    Catching only parts of thoughts
    And fragments of ourselves
    Till we begin
    Again


  • lisabjlisabj Posts: 15

    Love your garden transformation - well done!

    Re. manure - I usually put an ad in freecycle for the stuff and always get  replies.  You have to specify the fact that it needs to be mixed in with straw - and that it should be fairly accessible.  I then tootle along in my small car armed with an old builders bag, which should hold about half a ton. People generally oblige with the loan of a wheelbarrow, but take a fork.  so all you have to do is make several trips back and forth and fill up the bag to your car.  Involves a bit of hard graft, but I find it is worth it!  You can always repeat the exercise if you need more.

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