Woodchip and poo

Every year it comes to about now and I start pondering about where to get hold of cheap (free) compost to either use as a mulch or to dig in (depending on what mood I’m in). As if by magic an answer has always appeared. This time it was a one off post on Facebook market place from a local stables offering manure for anyone with bags and a shovel. It turned out to be the same place as last year that I lost contact with and so it was good to return. I intended to go last weekend but the weather was so bad that I postponed it until today, 9am when the owner of the horses would be about. I prefer it when I can just turn up anytime but in this instance I need to drive across the field to get to the pile at the other end. I suppose horses are worth money and so gates are normally locked and there is CCTV (I assume connected via a cellular network and powered by batteries (or maybe they are just dummies). A had a small chat with the owner as she opened up the gate and I drove over to the pile, got out with my bags and spade. It’s not the most composted manure but that’s not a problem as by the time I want to plant things it will be. 10 bags latter I was done, I left eight at home for the garden beds and took a couple up to the plot.

Getting to the plot I noticed a recent delivery of woodchip which is something I was hoping for following the making of new paths the other week when I moved the strawberries. I spent a while with a wheelbarrow walking up and down the hill to use five barrow loads of woodchip. This covered the new paths and while I could had done with more to re-cover some of the existing paths I thought I’d had enough this time round and it was fair to leave woodchip for others. If the pile is still there in a couple of weeks then I’ll reconsider.

I tidied up the sprouts and swede picking off lower leaves and those that didn’t look good. Some hoeing of small weeds and keeping an eye on the onion sets planted the other week and all starting to sprout. I planted three board bean seeds, a lot less than previous years. We are still very slowly eating broad beans and so it seemed wise to have a year off, although it would be a crime not to grow any broad beans at all hence the three plants. It would had been two, the third one is there just in case. I couldn’t think where best to sow them and they ended up behind the purple sprouting and in front of a rhubarb plant. I’ll find out if that was a good choice or not later next year.

I cleared up where the cabbages used to be and covered in one of the bags of manure. I picked some turnips and beetroot.

The sun was low, the sky was clear, and it was quite warm.

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