What I end up using might not make any difference whatsoever, but I guess therein lies my dilemma. I don’t know whether this is the case or not.
A History with Manure
I’ve been brought up to use manure. I just kind of presumed this was the way forward. We’ve always manured the plot, and my mum can sniff out a good pile of the well-rotted stuff from miles away. She’s been using it in her garden for 30 odd years. Up until recently, when I experimented with a few bags of seaweed on a couple of patches at the allotment, it had never occurred to me to even try anything else. Manure was what everyone traditionally used.
I’ve used it with success too. I’ve mostly had good crops at my allotment. I’ve no reason to change it.
Except that I’ve now got some gorgeous compost from my bins. Really good stuff, and it seems a waste to just leave the compost sitting there bagged up. So, I’m thinking of spreading compost on my patch at home rather than the usual manure.
The trouble is, I’m nervous. The soil in the garden, although good, hasn’t had any nutrients for some time by the looks of things. Having been brought up on manure, I’m scared to try compost. Last year on the plot was different from the seaweed, as I knew the soil was in top nick and had been manured every year. The risk was much smaller.
An Irrational Fear of Compost
I’m nervous that the compost will have enough nutrients to liven up my soil. It lovely through the fingers and every so slightly sticky, but just doesn’t have that substantial feel that good old fashioned manure does.
This fear is entirely irrational. I know compost is great for the soil, and I know exactly what’s gone into it. I know all the ingredients in the compost is good stuff. All the experts say compost is brilliant too. The fear is based purely on aesthetics and a historic faith in manure.
The reason I want to use the compost is that it’s been made on my plot. Creating your own fertiliser and knowing you’re not reliant on the outside is a fulfilling feeling. I also feel the passing of the compost from allotment plot to kitchen garden is somewhat symbolic of the next step, like the strawberry plants I’ve been potting up.
I’m keen to make my Patch from Scratch as independent as possible, and the idea of turning the food and plants I grow into compost to go back in the very ground they came from is something really want to strive for.
So, manure or compost? Am I stuck in my ways, or if it ain’t broke, I shouldn’t fix it? I’m looking for some reassurances folks!