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Thread: Cow manure delivery

  1. #1
    Forage420's Avatar
    Forage420 is offline Seedling
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    Default Cow manure delivery

    Hi everyone, I've had a delivery of cow manure which is sitting outside in a heap waiting to be spread. Do I need to cover the pile while it sits ? Theres been heavy rain for the past few days and I've noticed the pile seems to have shrunk. It's become very difficult to shift being so wet but besides this I was wondering whether there's any other reason to cover the heap while it sits ?

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    Small pumpkin's Avatar
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    The only reason I cover mine is to prevent weeds growing.

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    Chestnut is offline Tuber
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    I have no proof, just what fellow allotmenters have told me....

    I am sometimes told that rain can ‘wash the nutrients out’, but in my view that’s not necessarily a reason to worry, particularly if you plan to grow stuff in the soil underneath at some point. I would also comment that I grew courgettes, squash and cucumbers this year in a pile of well rotted manure which had been left in the rain all winter. They grew brilliantly- but having never tried growing them in a muck heap which has been protected from rain, I do not know if they might have done even better. We certainly couldn’t have eaten any more!

    As for keeping the rain off, I agree a dry heap is much easier on your back. Covering to let it dry out a bit before you need to shift it seems sensible to me, but you could also just wait until the weather improves!

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    rary's Avatar
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    Depends where it has been dumped, if it is on an area where the run off can enter a drain or stream cover it till the rain is off then get it onto the garden as soon as possible, if it is sitting in the garden with no potential of contaminating streams or drains, spread it at your leisure
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    nickdub is offline Early Fruiter
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    Personally I'd always cover a manure pile, as long as I had something handy to use - apart from other considerations soggy manure is much heavier to move around.
    veggiechicken likes this.

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    4Shoes's Avatar
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    Agree, most important reason to cover is to protect the environment / water ways.

  7. #7
    Aberdeenplotter is offline Gardening Guru
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    Farmers chuck it outside in huge heaps and leave it open to the weather. If it wasn't totally rotted when you got it, having been disturbed will have introduced air which will have encouraged the composting process and it will shrink in size as a result.

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    nickdub is offline Early Fruiter
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    The thing with going by what farmers do is that they very often are working on a different scale - a huge heap of manure won't get that wet because of the ratio between the surface area and volume, also farmers usually have machines to move stuff round, so if it weighs 30% more it makes v little difference to them.

    I read a lot of gardening books, and very often the advice given would puzzle me. Then when I thought it over it seemed that writers had based what they did on the days when a decent veg garden was about 2 acres with a staff of 5 or 6 people to work it ie they were written from the perspective of an old head gardener - hence things like double-digging and crop rotation. That's not to say that these old practices are bad - they aren't, they worked well given the conditions they were developed for, but most people aren't able to "rotate" their cabbage bed 400 yards to another place in their garden yearly and so leave some pests behind that way - what will work well on one scale doesn't translate down to the pocket handkerchief size plots most people have.
    veggiechicken likes this.

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