Picture from the collection

"Competing Colours By My Apple Tree" by Mary Hossain

Manure suppliers

You can buy bags of farm manure from Trap Trading. There are also local farmers who can provide trailer loads. If you have to organise a delivery - via the Walton Well Rd entrance to Port Meadow - remember:

  • you need to organise the keys from a committee member;
  • it's better to organise deliveries before the wet winter weather sets in, since both access to their farms for manure, and access to the allotment site, can be adversely affected if the ground is wet.

Here is one local farmer who has been used by members, and knows where the Trap Ground allotments are located.

Haynes farmers
Tel. (01865) 242728 or 07961 925952
Note: if you find either of these numbers doesn't work please let me know.

Good practice guidelines for the use of farmyard manure, compost and other fertilisers

The Trap Ground Allotment site (and much of SE England) lies in what the EU defines as a Nitrate Vulnerable Zone (NVZ) because of high nitrate levels in rivers and groundwater. To minimise nitrate leaching and river pollution, famers in a NVZ are subject to regulation on when manures and fertiliser may be spread. Allotments are not subject to such regulation, but we have been advised by the Environment Agency that we should aim to follow good-practice guidelines when using manure, compost and other fertilisers on the allotment site such as:

  1. spreading and digging in farmyard manure – whether delivered in a pile or in bags from the shop - in spring rather than spreading it in the autumn and leaving it un-dug over the winter;
  2. avoiding manure deliveries between the 1st of August and 31st of December and making sure that any stored manure is under cover during that period to reduce nitrate leaching;
  3. however deliveries are not possible when the water table is high, usually between about October and March, so you may need to get a delivery before the ground goes soft and leave it covered over until you use it in spring, to minimise leaching meanwhile;
  4. quickly digging in compost after applying even though the compost is likely to be low in nitrates;
  5. applying chemical fertilizers such as Growmore in the growing season only and avoiding applications of such fertilisers between the 1st of September and the 15th of January;
  6. reducing nitrate leaching by sowing green manure seeds in the autumn – which can also control weeds and improve soil structure - and digging in the plant matter in spring.

    Packets of green manure seeds – including clovers, rye, vetch, mustards, Phacelia and lupins – are widely available from all good seed merchants.