Manure and bulbs: was Re: amarcrinum

Jim McKenney
Wed, 20 Feb 2013 16:44:16 PST
Manure from large herbivorous quadrupeds, deposited on the surface of the soil, can produce excellent growth in bulbs. Where did I read about the huge snowdrops seen at the edges of the manure piles thrown up by shepherds?

Manure, after it is past heating, in a layer well under the bulbs and separated from them by a layer of soil, can also produce good results. 

Years ago I collected stable bedding (a mixture of horse manure and wood chips) from a local stable and used it fill a shallow depression in the ground. In it were planted some bulbs of Iris histrio aintabensis. When I dug down to check the irises after they died down for the year, the results were amazing: not only were there nice big fat bulbs but also an amazing profusion of bulblets. 

I've never known anyone with experience to recommend mixing manure into the soil in such a way that it will come in contact with the bulbs - my irises evidently did not read that part. In fact, irises might be an exception to the usual manure rules: didn't Sir Michael Foster grow his oncos in road scrapings?  

Jim McKenney
Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, USDA zone 7. 

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