Indiscriminate manuring is wasteful

If you are a gardener, then you might welcome these helpful tips for what you should be doing in the garden in November (yes, I know this is slightly belated – I could say that’s it because of climate change and the difference between the weather we have now in 2017, and the weather they had eighty or so years ago when this advice was written!)


Cold and misty, perhaps frosts, but usually not so severe that they last the day. Just right for pruning, tree and shrub planting and winter digging, unless an exceptionally cold spell occurs

November work

Sweep the leaves; these will have all fallen and the garden, including lawns and paths can this month be cleaned up thoroughly for the winter
dig and ridge all vacant land
Plant protection becomes an urgent matter. newspapers, mats, straw, mats made of the old broad bean stems, hessian, cloches, evergreen twigs, bracken – all these are useful protective material.
keep the bonfire going; woody waste matter and any seeding weeds or diseased plant waste that might cause future trouble should be burned.
Tree prunings should be burned and large wounds made by cutting out branches of forest trees should be painted over to keep out rains

Food plots (part 1)

Dig and trench vacant ground.. If no manure is available, and the compost pit does not provide sufficient humus. Use hop manure as a substitute.
Spread lime over dug soil, particularly over heavy soil; it helps to break down the lumps so that a fine tilth can be secured.
Soil infested with pests such as wire-worms should be treated now with soil fumigant, which must be dug in below the top spit.
Lift and store all root crops. Parsnips are best after a light frost has touched them, but if left in the ground too long there may be difficulties in digging.
Indiscriminate manuring is wasteful, and some fertilisers are quire expensive. Ground to take peas and beans should need little nitrogenous food and therefore will be sufficiently manured with the contents of the compost pit. Ground to take cabbages would benefit from a rich dressing of poultry manure.

Reading this practical guide gives an insight into people’s lives and not just their gardens. Where would we these days find hop manure? I guess even when this was written there would only be certain areas of the country where it was available, unless it was a product which could be bought from hardware shops or garden nurseries. Economy and not wasting anything was important, resources were valued – even manure – Indiscriminate manuring is wasteful, and even the waste and byproducts of something was recycled into use – broad bean stems and poultry manure for example.

Tomorrow I’ll share what else you should be doing when tending your food plots, and also what you should be doing in your fruit garden and flower patch, general maintenance and under glass.

This advice comes from Practical Gardening and Food Production in Pictures by Professor Richard Sudell.


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