Yesterday Richard and I went to the local stables and dug lots of manure from their pile. We'll probably go and dig some more next weekend. I'm always amazed by the ability of horses to produce the stuff faster than gardeners grab it.
Manure is a fantastic soil conditioner. It's a good fertiliser, but if you use it for several years, you get this wonderfully fine, crumbly soil that is pure delight to work. It lightens clay soils and makes sandy ones retain water better. (Just like compost in fact, but with less twiggy bits)
Today, I took a half moon edger round the rhubarb plot to neaten it up, dug up a lot of nettles and a few other perennial weeds and removed a few annuals. Another advantage of manure is that it's pretty much weed free.
Once I'd got all the weeds removed and the edges neat, I surrounded each rhubarb plant with a couple of inches of manure. Rhubarb is greedy, and it tastes good. Two excellent reasons to feed it well.
Tomorrow, if I have the energy, I'll plant a half row of broad beans and weed the survivors from the autumn sown ones - the late, hard frost, killed quite few of them. I also need to finish weeding round the raspberries and cut down a few more of last year's stems from the summer fruiting ones. I'll probably manure the raspberries in the next week or two, as soon as I've got the bed neat and tidy.
We've got a sheet of clear plastic over the soil where the broad beans will go. This will help warm the soil and bring them forward a little.
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