Sowing seeds in manure: what would Titchmarsh say?
You can’t sow seeds in manure. The experts say you can’t, so you can’t. Okay? Look, the likes of Titchmarsh, Fowler and Don didn’t just repeat what they’d heard, did they? They’re experts, so they’ve got to know what they’re talking about. Plus, go to any gardening forum, ask the question, and some Johnny Big Rake will quickly tell you – in no uncertain terms – that seeds don’t work in manure. Except potatoes.
One comment I read, from a rather condescending Johnny Flacid Hoe, told the asker (see, I’m not the only one who wondered about it) that it was akin to giving a baby Steak Diane. Now, when I was a baby I used to eat raw black pudding. Often the Mother would be confronted by an irate shop assistant, brandishing a black pudding sans one baby’s mouth sized bite. Steak Diane wasn’t common on the backstreets of Tottenham, but I’m pretty sure I would have had a go at the bastard if it was. While other babies sucked down mashed apple, I would have crawled over broken glass just to lick a pig.
So, why should I want to sow seeds in manure, anyway? Well, having decided that the Field would go no-dig this year, I acquired a large amount of compost. However, it turned out to be manure. This has led to a total rethink, with parsnips and carrots heading into the garden, and beans, peas, chard and brassicas heading to the Field.
What with the late start to the year making everything very manic right now, I don’t have time to scrap the no-dig approach and start digging. Therefore, anything that won’t start off in modules will have to be sown direct into manure.
They all said no. The experts said no. The self-proclaimed master gardeners said no. The self-proclaimed Johnny Limp Forks all said no. The lady with the matching wellington boots and gardening gloves who calls me Roger said no. They all said no. What could I do? I thought, ‘fuck it’, and did a trial!
As the picture shows, everything planted did germinate and has thus far grown in manure. There are a line of Autumn King carrots. They’ve started off very well. There are some Milan Purple Top turnips. They love the manure. There are French Breakfast radishes. They can’t get enough of it. Cardoons? Don’t mind if I do! Green Globe artichokes were slow, but they’ve living the manure life now. Finally, I chucked in a few Habanero seeds. I figured they’d certainly not germinate. They’re hard enough in Vermiculite. They germinated and grew. Yes they did, Alan, they did, and you and all your expert army were … what’s the word I’m looking for?