Friday, 27 February 2009

Loam

It's a beautiful thing.


My friends the moles love to weave their labyrinthine magic sous-terre in my neighbouring farmer's field. Their relentless subterranean hunt for worms and other Invertebrae inevitably results in the creation of little hillocks of top quality, sieved and aerated weed free loam.

This is good stuff. Whenever I need some quality topsoil my pulse quickens as I look across the field to the lunar landscape created as a result of the antics of these wee beasties.


Armed with shovel and wheel barrow, I've spent the last couple of mornings to and 'fro-ing' across the bridge over the little river to this rich pasture shovelling and transporting mole hill soil.



I'm never happier. The weather last couple of days has been just perfect, temperatures in the mid teens, unbroken sunshine and barely a breath of wind. I feel so earthy (literally), I mean this is proper 'green' stuff, n'est ce pas?

Now while I'm thinking about it, I should point out that potentially this soil could be quite fertile. Jean-luc, the farmer and one of life's nice people keeps some 30 bullocks on his land. Big animals with big appetites creating big manure. All this inevitably works it's way back into the ground so it's my assumption that this is quite rich loam.

That aside and on a more serious note, it seems you'll do well to take note of what an animal is fed and where manure is sourced. I say this simply because of the recent contaminated manure scare in the UK. Some UK pasture land has been treated with aminopyralid, a selective, hormone type herbicide which when subsequently grazed has left chemical traces in some 'farmyard' manure. Needless to say, the green fingered and the good have applied this manure with gusto which sadly has resulted in damaged and distorted crop growth both to vegetables and ornamentals. Recently the Pesticide Safety Directory after consultation with the Food Standards Agency have given assurance that where there is a harvestable crop produce is safe to eat. Yum, yum (NOT)!

So back to my 'loaming roving' and I guess I've shipped back about 30 barrows of the stuff and duly scattered it around where needed. I've been a bit frugal on the annuals bed as I don't want the ground to be too nourished. I mean, ever wondered why your Cosmos grew to 12 feet with abundant lush growth yet the seed packet stated maximum height 4 feet? I'll keep a a decent pile of it back to mix with leaf mulch and compost to create a potting medium. Yep, I did say a potting medium. I might even call it 'Le Banquet no. 3' or similar, John Innes has been doing it for decades.

Finally, here's a great pic of a Mole courtesy of Wikipedia



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mole

23 comments:

  1. Sounds like you are having a good time. Moles in a field are fine but I had them in the garden once and not so good. You are quite right about where the muck comes from. I had trouble with horse manure because of their feed and different manures need different times to brerak down or they are just too strong.

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  2. Now that's a lot of mole hills. Mine look tiny compared to that. I don't think I really knew how good the soil they pushed up was. Now I may thank them instead of being annoyed with them.

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  3. I LOVE this. I never thought about collecting the soil kicked up by those little buggers! What a great tip and the thought of you shuttling the earth to and fro was a nice one.

    That mole has some pretty long fingernails.

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  4. Hermes and Catherine, Moles are definitely better in a field. They are a pain in the backside when they pile up your lawn.

    Hi Diana, He certainly has got big nails. Simply born to dig!

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  5. A delightful adventure in your beautiful countryside! We have a huge mole issue up north at the lake ... you've shared interesting info. Thanks :

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  6. You are lucky to have such a great source of loam for your garden. I am envious!

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  7. I would never, ever have thought of carting mole hill soil back to my yard. But what a great idea! Here's hoping your plants agree and flower profusely this year. VW

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  8. Hi Philip and VW,

    As much as using the loam is a positive thing to do, we do have bl***y hundreds of 'em. I could send you some?

    Hi Joey, I won't send any to you as it sounds as if you're Mole 'rich' where you are.

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  9. Well, that's a great way to get a little help from the moles. Sounds like a lot of hauling, but the loam does look rich.

    I heard about the pasture/manure problems. I used to raise horses and I knew everything they ate. Had to let it compost a long time to prevent burn.

    Cameron

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  10. Well, I'm sure its mother thinks it's cute. LOL! That loam looks lovely. --Curmudgeon

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  11. hi Cameron

    Wasn't that a Beatles song, 'a little help from the Moles'?

    Hi Curmudgeon, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

    Rob

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  13. We have molehills all over our yard, too. They are sort of in a line across the yard. I have never lived anywhere with moles before--do they return to the hills, or is it just where they have piled excess dirt while digging their tunnels? I am contemplating just planting some squashes atop them. Do you think that would work?

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  14. I'm glad I've not got moles in my garden, but quite envious of all that gorgeous loam - and of your fantastic surroundings!

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  15. I am so very happy I found your warm blog today. Thank you for sharing a piece of your garden with us. It is winter in my garden and we are anxiously waiting the sun to warm it up. I am lookign forward to following you while things are in bloom. Happy Bloom Tuesday

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  16. What perfect gardening weather you are enjoying Rob.
    A great free source of garden goodness. I only have to see a picture of a mole and the song from my childhood ' I am a mole and I live in a hole' comes to mind :)

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  17. Hi Anna and Gnome,

    Moles are being sent to you as I write.

    Hi Bren and Susan, I appreciate your comments so thanks for stopping by.

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  18. Hi Rob, about the watering cans, I don't know if they are Zinc, or some other type of metal. They went from that lovely shade of green/yellow, to a dull grey as soon as they got wet.

    Love your header BTW, just absolutely gorgeous.

    Jen
    Muddy Boot Dreams

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  19. Hi Jen,

    Glad you like the header

    My wife took the pic and then played around with Picassa.

    Rob

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  20. I see the word loam, and I'm immediately jealous of such wonderful soil. Then I read on for a bit and come to "beautiful day...temperature in the mid teens, and suddenly I'm a little less jealous! Too many years in warm climates has thinned by blood.

    Rob,I finally went to your website and took the photo tour of your gite - what a beautiful place. If we manage to recover from "the stock market ate my bank account" my husband sees a vacation in his future!

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  21. Great idea. Why not turn a pest into something positive? They really do break up the soil quite well! I wish we had a farmer close enough for us to harvest manure from, great stuff.

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  22. I never thought about collecting the soil kicked up by those little buggers!
    You've shared interesting info. Thanks

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