I have to confess, I wasn’t that keen on the idea of piling a heap of manure on the raised beds as I thought it would be unpleasantly smelly. About autumn last year (I think) my husband went and got a small trailer load of (free!) horse manure and dug most of it into two of our three raised beds. There was still something growing in the other bed so instead I sowed some green manure when everything was finished.
I’d forgotten all about it though until I was trying to work out why some crops
grew exceptionally well this year and others not so. My stand out plant this year has
been the cucumber plant I thought I’d killed, which ended up producing a huge number of
cucumbers throughout the summer. I have only just taken the last ones off the plant and
cleared the bed.
The poo fuelled bed has also been home to a triffid like butternut squash plant, the first time I’ve had any success with them, as well as some sweet corn so it has done very well.
But the bed without the heap of manure has been a disaster this year – peas came and went, several rows of carrots failed altogether and I ended up harvesting no more than 10 weird and knobbly specimens. The only plants that did produce anything were the broad beans but they got rust early on and that was the end of them.
So I think we’ll be digging in some of the smelly stuff again this year, but this time will make sure all three beds get some…