The Garden Guide

Book: Gardening Science - Soils, Manure and the Environment
Chapter: Chapter 2: Manure

Liquid manure

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1292. Liquid Manure. The cultivators of German Switzerland give the name of gulle, and the French that of lizier, to the liquid manure obtained from their stalls and stables, and collected into underground pits or reservoirs, in which it is allowed to ferment in a mucous or slimy state. The manner of collecting it, adopted by the cultivators of Zurich, is as follows: -The floor on which the cattle are stalled is formed of boards, with an inclination of four inches from the head to the hinder part of the animal, whose excrements fall into a gutter behind, in the manner usual in English cow-houses: the depth of this gutter is fifteen inches, its width ten inches. It is so formed us to be capable of receiving, at pleasure, water to be supplied by a reservoir near it; it communicates with five pits by holes, which are opened for the passage of the slime, or closed as occasion requires. The pits or reservoirs of manure are covered over with a floor of boarding, placed a little below that on which the animals stand. This covering is important as facilitating the fermentation. The pits or reservoirs are made in masonry, well cemented, and should be bottomed in clay, well beaten, in order to avoid infiltration. They should be five, in order that the liquid may not be disturbed during the fermentation, which lasts about four weeks. Their dimensions should be calculated according to the number of animals the stable holds, so that each may be filled in a week. But whether full or not, each pit must be closed at the week's end, in order to maintain the regularity of the system of emptying. The reservoirs are emptied by means of portable pumps. In the evening the keeper of the stables lets a proper quantity of water into the gutter; and on returning to the stable in the morning, he carefully mixes with the water the excrement that has fallen into it, breaking up the more compact parts, so as to form of the whole an equal and flowing liquid. On the perfect manner in which this process is performed the quality of the manure mainly depends. The liquid ought neither to be thick, for then the fermentation would be difficult; nor too thin, for in that case it would not contain sufficient nutritive matter. When the mixture is made, it is allowed to run off into the pit beneath, and the stable-keeper again lets water into the trench. During the day, whenever he comes into the stable, he sweeps whatever excrement may be found under the cattle into the trench, which may be emptied as often as the liquid it contains is found to be of a due thickness. The best proportion of the mixture is three fourths of water to one fourth of excrement, if the cattle be fed on corn; if in a course of fattening, one fifth of excrement to four fifths of water will be sufficient. (Bull. du Comite d'Agri. de la Soc. des Arts de Geneve.) This mode of increasing the manure produced by stalled cattle and cows is in general use in Holland and the Netherlands; and we have seen it practised in France at Trappe and Grignion near Versailles, at Roville near Nancy, at Ebersberg, and Schleissheim near Munich, and at Hohenheim and Weil near Stuttgard. We would strongly recommend the practice to the British cultivator, and more especially to every cottager who keeps a cow or a pig; nay, to the cottager who is without these comforts, but who has a garden, in which he could turn the great accession of manure so acquired to due account. Let him sink five tubs or large earthen vessels in the ground, and let the contents of the portable receiver of his water-closet, all the water used for washing in the house, soap-suds, slops, and fermentable offals of every description during a week be carried and poured into one of these tubs; and if not full on the Saturday night, let it be filled up with water of any kind, well stirred up, the lid replaced, and the whole left for a week. Begin on the Monday morning with another tub, and when, after five weeks, the whole five are filled, empty the first at the roots of a growing crop, and refill. Or use two larger tubs, and continue filling one for a month; then begin the other, and at the end of a month empty the first; and so on.