Thursday, May 31, 2012

Top soil and manure

This last week saw the delivery of a further 3 tons of top soil. That makes 13 tons in total we have added to the vegetable beds. It sounds a lot but it doesn't go that far. We are trying to improve our heavy clay beds by adding a sandy top soil, well rotted manure and home-made compost from the bins. It is working but we could do with more manure.

Many of the small dairy farms with antiquated faciities have been closed down by the EU, so our local supply has dried up. There are no stables nearby or any that can readily supply an accessible supply of manure however we have found a huge mound of black gold. We walked past one day and Luis spotted a 3 meter high pile of around 25 sq m. It was overgrown with weeds but one corner had been dug so we could see the layers of extremely well rotted manure crumbling away. Luis asked the owner of the plot if we could have some. He just happened to be related to a lady in our village (so he already knew of us), he said we could take as much as we wanted at any time and was pleased to be making space to add yet more. We have bagged and transported a couple of estate cars worth and need to continue collecting over the coming months.

Spot the cat...

We have two large compost bins that take grass clippings, fruit and vegetable waste, cardboard, dried grass or straw and anything else that remains from vegetable growing, pruning or reduction. Two bins for leaf collection provides a source of nutrient rich leaf mould.

Preparations for young vegetable plants

Our two neighbouring houses are holiday homes and the gardens are mainly lawns. Both sets of neighbours are happy for us to have their grass clippings which will help increase the volumes. A third supply of grass clippings is delivered by some other neighbours from the village who visit their Asturian home regularly otherwise it would be binned as they have no use for it.

Since boarding the vegetable beds and adding sandy topsoil we have noticed less slug and snail activity and fewer problems from land voles.

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