Derek

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  • in reply to: Mysteries of compost #70556

    Derek
    Participant

    Jan, you have entered a fascinating area. I also got interested in this and there is an awful lot more to compost than is generally talked about. From searching the web I have learnt that some plants, mainly trees and perennials, prefer fungal dominated compost whilst annuals prefer bacteriologically dominated compost. Another fascinating point I learnt is that plants exude substances from their roots to attract the right types of “microbe” to produce the plant food they require, right next to their roots. When you add artificial fertiliser the plant may stop attracting exuding this substance as it gets its nutrients delivered for free – briefly. Also, the fertiliser harms the microbes/fungus. I will never use fertiliser in the soil again!

    in reply to: The future of this forum #70457

    Derek
    Participant

    Refuse to have facebook, such a pointless time waster.

    I think the time of this forum declining coincides with what I perceive as the redevelopment of the site, and as a consequence the removal of the new post headers from the main site, and the start of the more intense Instagram activity. Just an observation, your call, I realise the Instagram activity probably benefits your commercial activity.

    Also, as people’s knowledge increases their personal need for the forum declines, I know mine has as I have started to understand more. So really, I think, as others have stated above, it is those of less experience who will suffer if it is decided to take it down.

    in reply to: Compost/Humus #52862

    Derek
    Participant

    Over winter I dug out to make a base for a greenhouse. 20+ years previously a previous owner had filled the edge of the field with rubble and compacted it down to make a hard passage for tractors to pass in all weathers. I should think the ground was 70% rubble, yet still in the remaining soil I found worm life. Worries about compaction are often unfounded.
    Have faith in nature.
    Derek

    in reply to: Composting fresh horse manure #52763

    Derek
    Participant

    CP, I have a row of 6 bins (thoughthe bottom one is currently used for leaf mould) each just over 5 feet square and 3 feet high, built out of close boarded 6*1 timber and on a slight slope. I have “trained” the family to put anything which can be composted into the top bin. It is used more as a holding bin than a composting bin. When it is full it is turned into the next bin at which point everything is mixed and wetted if necessary then covered with a plastic sheet and carpet.
    Thereafter they are turned down the bins as space need/conditions/time/energy permit. Sometimes 2 are combined as they have shrunk. In the summer they are turned more often as I have a lot more ingredients. I never fill a whole bin with just poo, though a friend of mine does as I deliver him some in a trailer and this seems to work fine.
    You may be right on the ambient temperature front, I don’t know.

    in reply to: Composting fresh horse manure #52737

    Derek
    Participant

    In the summer the bins regularly get into the mid/high 70sC, at which point I am trying to cool them down a bit, but I think that is more to do with the amount of grass available to add than anything else. During the non grass cutting season it is a lot cooler, don’t measure that often but I think it was somewhere close to the 50C mark. Must make a mental note to measure better next year!

    Derek

    in reply to: Composting fresh horse manure #52723

    Derek
    Participant

    Hi CP,

    Over the last year our horses have lived out over the whole year as it has been so mild. Hence, most of the manure I get is from field pickings; pure manure. I do 2 things with it:

    Over the winter some goes into the compost bin with the other ingredients which includes the straw from the chicken coop weekly clean. This makes normal, fairly weed free compost.
    The rest, and vast majority is left in a heap (which gets to a cone about 6 feet high) to do its own thing. After some months I have been spreading this 6 inches deep to make new beds. I know many seeds germinate from this so either these get hoed as soon as they can be seen, or if feasible I cover the new beds with black plastic (not weed fabric) for a few months. This kills off the weed seedlings plus whenever it is uncovered there are a lot of fugal fruiting bodies visible so I believe it is helping fungus formation and final breakdown into compost.

    Hope that gives you a perspective.

    Good luck,
    Derek

    in reply to: Clay Soil – Ground Zero Allotment #51745

    Derek
    Participant

    Eventually I will fence it, at the moment I just use a lot of netting to keep the rabbits out of the vulnerable areas.
    I sort of fell into this method when I met a man from the next village who was using the system. I had never heard of it before. He told me about the books and I bought the “Organic Gardening” one and got a lot off the internet as well. Have a look around the website, on the old website there were some good articles though where they are on this one I haven’t looked, presumably still here somewhere. I also bought Jeff Lowenfels books which I found fascinating.

    On the subject of compacted clay. My patch was previously a horse paddock but along one side sometime over 20 years ago lots of rubble had been added to allow tractors to pass through. So for 20 years this area had been driven over by tractors with heavy trailers and trodden on by horses. I have been erecting a greenhouse here (cold work at this time of year!) and as it is on a slight slope have had to dig out so make flat foundations. It is at least 50% rubble yet the worm life I found there was unbelievable. I no longer worry about compacted soil and hapily walk on my beds if necessary.

    in reply to: Clay Soil – Ground Zero Allotment #51740

    Derek
    Participant

    Morning Mike,

    I started in summer 2017. When finished my plot will be just under 4000 sq ft, I am doing it in phases over 3 years. I didn’t have any “woody weeds” (brambles,etc) but had a wonderful crop of couch, dandelion, buttercup, thistle and bindweed. I started off by mowing it all down. In June/July I created the first beds using horse manure 6 inches deep which had been stacked between 3 and 6 months. Too fresh really but impatience got the better of me! Immediately covered with black polythene.
    In October I started to roll back the polythene and planted spring cabbage, garlic and overwintering onions. Thereafter spring planting as normal.
    I had some couch and bindweed come through and just kept pulling it out as it will eventually disappear (I hope!). Certainly seemed to be getting less as the year progressed.
    This is now the first winter where I am applying the top-up layer of compost to the first beds.
    I am basically following the same pattern with the rest of the patch as time and resources allow.
    I have attached a couple of pictures to show last summer, you can see the next beds under polythene at the back, and one of the new beds re composted.

    All I can say is, it works for me.

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    in reply to: Clay Soil – Ground Zero Allotment #51730

    Derek
    Participant

    Yes, just go for it. I did exactly that on a really heavy clay weed infested paddock last year, basically following the methods expounded in this website with 6inches manure/compost on the beds and 2 inches over cardboard for the paths (using beds without wooden sides) and everything worked out just fine. Never had such good crops. In fact the biggest problem I have had all year was getting the pasnips out without breaking them off too high up!

    Best of luck!

    Derek

    in reply to: Seen this before? #51265

    Derek
    Participant

    Thanks Charles. I thought that was what I had done, except I don’t use any social media sites so used a dedicated free hosting platform to get the URL link. Clearly i failed!

    Have a good Christmas one and all.

    Derek

    in reply to: Seen this before? #51258

    Derek
    Participant

    sorry, having problems uploading via link. I’ll wait till the attachments are back.

    Derek

    in reply to: Seen this before? #51257

    Derek
    Participant

    in reply to: Garlic #51250

    Derek
    Participant

    I think you should get it in as soon as possible.
    If you mean you want to keep until the normal autumn planting time, by then it will probably have sprouted and maybe rotted.
    Didn’t bother netting mine this year and it has been fine (so far!)
    Good luck.
    Derek

    in reply to: Horse Manure #50731

    Derek
    Participant

    Mulch – you need to be careful just asking about 1 product as there are many products sold containing the active ingredients aminopyralid and closely related products like clopryalid, all of which may produce the same symptoms.

    The only way to know if you are bringing in manure is to test.

    in reply to: Couple of questions, nets, wonky plants and aphids #49345

    Derek
    Participant

    Try soap solution, seemed to have some success for me.

    Derek

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