Saturday, March 12, 2016


...and plenty of it. I got to the plots yesterday to find that the delivery was imminent. Good job I'd decided to have an allotment Friday and a University Saturday.  And here it is, in excess of 10 tons of it. There were 7 of us to barrow it between 5 allotments. The methodology was, each of us 7 would take 2 barrows to each of the 5 plots in turn, and then start again. One of the lads calculated we'd each have 3 trips, that is 6 barrow-fulls, to each of the 5 plots, and by jingo, he was almost spot on, with about 5 or 6 left over at the end for the community garden.

It took us several hours, but it passed quickly enough with some blokish humour and swear words. The whole load cost us £80, so £16 per plot. Which, to put in context, I was contemplating forking out £100 to hire a truck to get a few tons from the stables outside Cumbernauld. We can make this a regular thing, now that contact has been made, at least every Spring.

And here's my share, at least 2 tons.I'm going to have to re-arrange the SE corner, to fit in the woodpile with this. And move that compost heap back to the NW corner, with a barrow-full of the new oomska to get it going.

It was The Younger Neighbour, who seems, like his father, The Older Neighbour, to be a nice enough bloke, (leaving aside their penchant for wood-chip and raised beds), who organised it all, for which he earns my sincere gratitude. The stable-person he dealt with originally assured him the oomska was rotted, and then that it was "mixed", but it seems to be a mixture of fresh and partly rotted.

A lot of it is in kind-of mats, which have presumably been compacted on the stable floor, and there a white patches which look like urine-ammonia. All of the other plot holders had their shares dumped straight onto beds, but I've had mine dumped into the nearest free spot by the shed.

I got home late yesterday afternoon, put every stitch of gardening clothes into the wash, and then had a very long bath listening to a downloaded episode of Late Junction. My iPhone tells me I walked 7.2 miles, almost half of which was spent pushing a barrow. But I had the satisfaction of having all the oomska I need to get me started.

So here's what I lay in the bath and planned, listening, inter alia, to Nico singing No One is There. The stuff is definitely not rotted, though not entirely fresh either, it has a vaguely unpleasant smell, ammonia and something else. So I'm going to be civilized and delay gratification by piling it up into a heap and partially covering it until, at least, the autumn. There were bloodworms in it, (which my fellow plot-holders call "brandlings" and swear by as good bait for freshwater fishing, "everything but pike"). I hope they will multiply and invade the rest of the plot.

And 2 tons of oomska composting down over the summer can only have positive benefits on the local bacteria and invertebrates, I expect. And then I can spread it on the beds as I clear them of produce in September and October, maybe laying some of it over winter field beans which should grow through it.

All of which means Spring 2017 I'll have well fed beds ready to go, and by then another load of oomska to rot down over that year, and so on... Voila.