Two tomato plants, in the small bed by the back door, decided to make their move sometime during the autumn. They’d been spindly little things all summer, then suddenly they were bushes, flowered and started to grow fruit in late October. Sadly, the plants also started to die in November.
Just as well, as I wanted to use this bed for the remainder of the garlic cloves left from planting on the other side of the patio in the lasagne bed. I still have not, however, got round to doing more than cut the tomato plants down, which turns out to have been fortuitous laziness.
Whilst I was at the local organic farm, collecting the latest provisions, the farmer was around, so we got talking. This included the topic of horse manure, which she urged me not to use because of the vermicide given to to deworm horses.
Years ago, I had decided not to use horse manure but relented when I saw the stables en route to the raw milk farm we go to once a fortnight. Throwing caution to the wind, there are now approx forty 50l bags of manure from these stables strewn around the garden and stuffed in the three compost bins. There is also a dearth of worms in the bins, which I had already been puzzled by.
Now, without doing a controlled experiment, it is hard to know if the manure is the cause of this phenomenon. Besides, it is a bit late to remove most of it, so all I can do, moving forward, is take up the farmer’s offer of cow, sheep and pig manure, free if I am prepared to bag it myself.
In the meantime, the garlic in the lasagne bed continues to shoot (eleven I counted today) and it will be interesting to see the results next summer. Whether or not there will be any worms to incorporate the manure into the soil remains to be seen as well.