Gardener’s gold or not? Checking manure for aminopyralid

Thanks to everyone who took the time to read my first blog over on this site and I’m so pleased to hear that you are excited to be part of the next chapter too.

Since my last blog, all it seems to have done is…. rain! Yes, I can hear you telling me… “well, you did move to Wales” and “it is Winter in Wales, what do you expect?!”. It’s seems to be raining everywhere in the UK currently though and whilst I’m a huge fan of those water droplets, I also wouldn’t mind a few dry spells to get outside. Doing some seed sowing, weeding, mulching and gravel shoveling.

So today, rain or no rain, I thought, enough is enough, I’m going out anyway. There is only a certain amount of time I can stay inside without getting irritable and needing to move, play and grow things!

I lasted around 3 hours and got thoroughly soaked and covered in manure, it felt great. The hot shower afterwards felt even more satisfying and rewarding too.

My main priority was to carry out a little experiment which would help me test the giant inherited manure and horse bedding pile for aminopyralid and clopyralid contamination. I’m pretty sure it’s the size of our old narrowboat home! These chemicals are used as herbicides aka weedkillers, within farming in particular. Meaning that the chemicals can be found in hay and grass from sprayed fields, which then can be digested and passed through animals into their manure.

I know the fields on our smallholding haven’t been treated with any chemicals, the previous owners luckily shared my vision for organic farming and gardening. But, I don’t know if the horses hay that the owners bought in was chemically treated.

I really wanted to just start using the giant manure pile to make all my no-dig vegetable beds, but if I do this without testing the soil first, the potential chemicals could cause disastrous effects on my hard work and vegetables. Aminopyralid is particularly damaging to tomatoes, beans, potatoes, peas and some ornamental flowers, causing cupped leaves and fern-like growth. Like pictured below. The shoot tips can become pale, narrow and distorted and their overall growth generally is stunted. Resulting in most plants being unsuccessful and needing to be bagged up, then put out with your household waste.

Putting the contaminated plants in your compost bin or green waste bin could cause further contamination.

The Test

Following advice I have chosen to test the manure heap in two ways…

Firstly… digging down a foot or two, then filling 7cm pots with the manure and sowing two broad bean seeds per pot. These I have put under cover in one of outbuildings, next to a window.

Secondly… creating a rough dig bed to one side of the heap. Placing a layer of cardboard down, followed by a layer of the manure on top. I then sowed broad bean seeds across the surface and finished by covering them with more manure mix.

Now, I wait for the results… eeek! I really hope this mountain of manure and bedding is gardeners gold and can be used all over my vegetable and fruit garden. It would save a fortune and be so nourishing for the plants! Keep every crossed that soon I will share sights of healthy broad bean plants please.

Published by Life at No.27

Gardener, wellbeing practitioner, author, writer and public speaker sharing my passion for Grow your Own.

2 thoughts on “Gardener’s gold or not? Checking manure for aminopyralid

  1. You have enough horse poo to set you up for life Annabelle. Let’s hope it is usable. Looking forward to seeing the results. Love the blog – very informative. I didn’t know any of that x


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