The Accidental Smallholder Forum

Growing => Vegetables => Topic started by: captainmark on November 21, 2019, 07:47:25 am

Title: manure in raised beds
Post by: captainmark on November 21, 2019, 07:47:25 am
Hi all, beginners question please!  We currently just use land for horses but planning on growing some veg next year. Will be building raised beds with logs we have plenty of (but no wood burner!). On a slope to avoid getting waterlogged as we are on clay. Question is can we just fill with rotted manure?? - which we have an awful lot of?!?!  If yes anything that won't like growing in it?  many thanks and look forward to thoughts on this please.
Title: Re: manure in raised beds
Post by: DavidandCollette on November 21, 2019, 09:05:40 am
Provided that it is well rotted, but I would top off with a layer of soil or compost
Title: Re: manure in raised beds
Post by: Possum on November 21, 2019, 09:09:20 am
You can definitely plant seedlings and young plants into well-rotted horse manure. I have done this for several years.  Charles Dowding's No Dig website gives lots of information.


https://charlesdowding.co.uk/start-here/ (https://charlesdowding.co.uk/start-here/)


You need very well rotted manure for direct seed sowing but apparently it still works.
Title: Re: manure in raised beds
Post by: Fleecewife on November 21, 2019, 12:25:06 pm
I don't have any horses so I can't tell you about horse manure, but I would think you would really need some soil, perhaps from mole hills if you have any, mixed in to provide some foundation, otherwise it could all rot away to nothing.  Some roots like carrots and parsnips don't like fresh manure but if yours is really well rotted then they won't object and your early crops will be magnificent!  Veg such as squashes and tatties will adore pure manure though.


I grew up on heavy clay soil, so my suggestion is that you don't just plonk your beds directly onto a compacted area.  You would need to do some work on the ground first. Break up the clay to at least one spit depth, and mix in a large volume of sharp gravel or hardcore for drainage, also allowing an escape drain for water. Otherwise your beds might as well be sitting on concrete.  It's amazing how quickly a lorry load of gravel can disappear!  Many plants need more than the depth of soil provided by a raised bed, so they will normally root down into the native soil, but if it's hard clay they may not be able to do so.
Watch out for slugs from your logs too.
Title: Re: manure in raised beds
Post by: doganjo on November 21, 2019, 07:33:19 pm
I make high raised beds - to me 6 inched inlt raised.  2 and ahalf to 3 feet, so I can perch on th edge.  :excited: Fill half with rubble, polystyrene foam etc, add your rottd manure, then a layer of soil/compost.  You can grow anything in it and less risk of slugs (or cheeky hens)  :eyelashes:  Ypou can put corner posts in if you want to net them round for added protection
Title: Re: manure in raised beds
Post by: cloddopper on November 21, 2019, 11:25:08 pm
Field grazed horse muck & hay fed horse muck  tends to be full of weed seeds so ensure you hot compost it to kill as many seeds as possible .
 I didn't , I used fairly fresh muck and as a result the 36 inch high raised flower beds  at the front of my property were half filled with straw & stable fed & field grazed horse muck & beddings .
 They have grown masses of columbine , couch grass , buttercup , wild strawberry and several other pernicious weeds .
  I thought I'd managed to hand weed them out over seven years but having  damaged my left shoulder joint yet a gain 6 months ago I didn't keep on top of things . The wet weather & quality material in the beds  gave me an absolute jungle of weeds & tall flowers 

 In late October this year I hit all the beds with two  doses of Round Up 14 days apart  , it seems to have sorted things , but I'm going to give them two more doses next year  then replant a month or so after the last treatment .
Title: Re: manure in raised beds
Post by: captainmark on November 22, 2019, 07:44:35 am
thank you all,  decision made. no dig on ground and beds will be to a good depth. We'll now decide on locations and cover over to kill the grass etc (assuming that works?) and get electric fencing up in the right place.  move logs in spring once anything hibernating has moved on...... then put the shovels to work!  may even start new muck heaps in appropriate locations to save some work.......and give it time and turn them.  little seems to grow on our heaps (except fungi which is good i believe?) and they rot well so plenty of heat inside I guess!  next purchase will need to be a muck spreader for paddocks!
Title: Re: manure in raised beds
Post by: Anke on November 22, 2019, 11:28:39 am
The Charles Dowding methods do work well, but make sure that your manure does not contain aminopyralid - there is Youtube video about how to deal with it on CD's channel. It can even surface if you feed your horses on bought in hay, readigrass, Alfa A or in the bedding if you use stuff like Hemcore or Bliss. I do not know if any of these contain it, but I have certainly got it in some batches and not in others ( I have goats and they do get fed all of the above).
Title: Re: manure in raised beds
Post by: Briggsy from Gower on November 23, 2019, 09:32:01 am
Thanks Anke for the mention of aminopyralid. I had not heard of it before, however having looked it up now know what went wrong with bought in compost several years ago.

It was what made me give up on shop bought compost all together and up my own production. Perfectly happy seedlings withered and died off after being transferred into this compost.
Title: Re: manure in raised beds
Post by: doganjo on November 23, 2019, 09:38:22 am
thank you all,  decision made. no dig on ground and beds will be to a good depth. We'll now decide on locations and cover over to kill the grass etc (assuming that works?)
Cover with cardboard - it rots away over time fairly quickly.  Carpet in the first instance will kill the grass off but if you want the raised beds on soil it'll retard that, and you might want to remove it once the grass is dead.  I'd stick with cardboard I think, that's what I'm going to do.
Title: Re: manure in raised beds
Post by: captainmark on December 15, 2019, 07:16:15 am
also aiming to use Hügelkultur.  We really do have lots of logs!  Any experiences / opions please?
Title: Re: manure in raised beds
Post by: Briggsy from Gower on December 15, 2019, 09:42:20 am
An interesting concept, if you do it you'll need to keep us posted on your success.

My first thoughts are that you will be making a rodent paradise so root veg and strawberries are out! Also, the first year or two will see a huge amount of nitrogen sapping activity so a top layer including compost or manure would be essential.

I use wood chippings that have spent a year in the duck enclosure as compost which gives turbo charged compost but does encourage a lot of woodlice. They only seem to be a problem with tomatoes and peppers as they like to burrow into the fruit and set up home (can you blame them?) I would expect this technique would result in a similar population explosion.

Definately looks interesting though, so good luck.
Title: Re: manure in raised beds
Post by: SallyintNorth on December 16, 2019, 08:53:10 am
I always found mixing woodchip in with other compostable material as you make the heap to be the best way to incorporate it.
Title: Re: manure in raised beds
Post by: cloddopper on December 18, 2019, 10:44:12 pm
Sheep " Dags " are a great form of long term fertilizer for your beds ,  any ruminant dung is good too .
Title: Re: manure in raised beds
Post by: Mad Goatwoman of Madeley on December 19, 2019, 11:37:13 pm
My first lot of raised beds were filled with half rotted manure with other green stuff mixed in. I left it for a while and then dug small holes which I filled with organic compost to plant into. Everything grew well, especially squashes. The level did go down but I've added more manure every autumn and soon as the bed became empty.


When I stopped keeping my goats, the goat yard and shed were replaced with three large raised beds which were filled with manure again. Now the level is quite low and I don't have the manure to add now so I plan on buying top soil and topping them up.


This, of course, is the royal I because I can't actually do the physical work so my gardener will have to do it.