It’s surprising how tired you can get, hefting shovel-loads of horse poo around, isn’t it? I spent a few hours this afternoon spreading the lovely piles of rotted-down horse manure that Richard the farmer had plopped on the field for me with his front-load bucket (stop sniggering at the back) on the tractor. He also managed to spread it around quite a bit, using the back of the bucket and tractor tyres; but there were still a few piles of it that needed to be spread a bit more, to give a more even manuring to the patch, and also to try and dry it out as much as possible before I attempt to go through with the rotovator.
This patch is 1 and 1/2 of the patches from last year; where the carrots, parsnips and fennel were, and also where the leeks were. This year I am taking on a bit more land near the polytunnels – this new bit will be divided into 2 patches (brassicas & leeks/legumes); so the old field will be divided into 3 rather than 5 sections, to fit my 5-year rotation. The manured patch will be home to squashes, pumpkins, courgettes and beets this year; then go down to green manure in the autumn for next year. The other patches will be green manure (mostly established last year), and then where the brassicas where, I’ll put in the carrots, parsnips & fennel.
Talking of poo, the hot bed made of fresh manure has been doing well – I recorded on 63C just below the surface on 5/3/15 (air temperature around 10-18C); 28C on 11/3/15; 40C on 13/3/15 (when it was pretty cold outside and not sunny, around 5C); and now seems to have settled at around 20C. The tomato seedlings and potted-on peppers are now nestled inside the hot bed, on a mini pallet, now that the tempature has settled down; so hopefully this will protect the seedlings even more from any chilly drafts coming through the polytunnel doors.