As a point of interest, in late Victorian Britain there were 3.3 million horses, most of which were worked. Chemical fertilizers had not been invented and there was easy access to mountains of cheap, if not free organic horse manure.
Allotments became available from around circa 1800 and the then plentiful supply of aged horse manure was the natural choice of feed for the soil.
By the time Queen Victoria passed away in 1901 the industrial world was starting to overtake mother-nature on the transport stakes, our horse population declined to such a degree that rotted manure was not as easy to come by and people looked for alternatives. Thrifty plot-holders and gardeners made good use of their waste and together with leaf-mould made their own compost. However, this is time consuming and with the introduction of large scale mushroom farming and local amenity ‘green waste’ centres enterprising companies have now mixed spent mushroom compost with smashed green waste to produce a weak and cheap, non-nutritious soil conditioner.
Today, horse riding is a passion for many and together with the sporting fraternity there are just under a million horses throughout the UK. Many equestrian centres and stables offer fresh manure to passers-by for free or some even sell it to allotments. In this state it will harm your plants and will, without doubt, contain weed seeds.
Quality manure is a ‘product’, it’s collected, shredded and turned regularly for months until its black and odour free. The heat in the pile is sufficient to kill off the weed seeds and it encourages worm activity. This type of horse manure is still difficult to buy and with the passing of time and all the various options available on the market, using aged horse manure as a first and natural choice of fertilizer has been forgotten.
If you have access to a supply of quality manure consider using it as a food for your soil, its goodness and natural quality cannot be matched by composts or chemicals.
At Sussex Manures we are proud of our Puckamuck and offer it at great prices in 60Litre bags, bulk-builders bags, by the transit tipper truck or by the articulated lorry load. See our website www.puckamuck.co.uk or call George on 01903 877689 07899 676166. (Find 60L bags at Ferring Nurseries, Lansdowne Plants, Southwick Nursery, Camellia Botnar Nursery, The Vineries (Bookham) Gardner and Scardifield and leading hardware stores.