Donkey manure tea

Discussion in 'Organic Gardening' started by Harry32, Feb 26, 2009.

  1. Harry32

    Harry32 Member

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    I have several donkeys and would like to make manure tea. Can someone tell me how to use and is it safe to spray on folage?
     
  2. greengarden bev

    greengarden bev Active Member

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    To get the most benefit from "manure" tea, the manure should be composted first. The composting process will breed the varieties of beneficial micro-organisms that will build soil health for the long term. Composting will also heat-kill most of the weed seeds in the manure, as well as the pathogens.

    Regarding using uncomposted manure for tea, you might want to read the USA Organic Standard's board report here: http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/getfile?dDocName=STELPRDC5058470 . It cautions against using raw manure. Sometimes the words "manure" and "compost" are used interchangeably, so don't assume assume that "manure tea" is made with raw manure.

    If you do a google search on "compost tea" you'll find a ton of resources on how to make compost tea and how to use it. With the growing popularity of compost tea, for both gardeners and organic farmers, businesses are starting up or expanding into this new area, mostly providing equipment (aeration devices etc) but also consulting services for turf operations such as golf courses who already have irrigation setups and want to "go green".

    Much research is being done by Dr. Elaine Ingham and the Soil Foodweb people. They have a book on compost tea which is probably the industry standard: http://www.soilfoodweb.com/02_resources/c_tea_manual.html They also have shorter and less expensive "field guide" to compost tea.

    Fine Gardening magazine did an article on Dr. Ingham's compost tea method:
    http://www.finegardening.com/how-to/articles/brewing-compost-tea.aspx This is a really excellent article.

    There are various opinions on foliar feeding. Some see it as a fast-and-dirty shortcut that thwarts the more "natural" processes of plant growth through mineralization and soil processes. Others see it as an easy alternative, especially for stressed or ailing plants that need a quick fix. One of the maxims of organic growing is to "feed the soil, not the plant" (I'm quoting from: http://www.organicagcentre.ca/Courses/wc_horticulture.asp) so you might want to do more research and consider carefully the benefits and drawbacks of foliar feeding.

    Good luck with the donkey compost tea.
     
  3. Harry32

    Harry32 Member

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    Thanks for the information. It was very helpful.
    Harry32
     
  4. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    I have used raw donk poo, horse poo, and alpaca as manure tea and it seem to be fine. I must admit I left the tea bag dunked for a couple of months in the barrell before I used it. It was to make it really strong so I could dilute. So probably by the time I used it it was well composted.

    Liz
     
  5. bob 2

    bob 2 Active Member

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    It seems an unnecessary risk to expose yourself or your family to human pathogens often found in in animal manures.

    I feel quite strongly that they should be properly composted prior to use on food crops.
    And agian I suggest that a soil test could be beneficial prior to adding materials to your soil that are perhaps not needed at the time.
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2009
  6. greengarden bev

    greengarden bev Active Member

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    Soil test? For compost tea???? You bin' smokin' something, Bob?

    Compost tea is even milder than compost, fer cripes sakes. It's basically a way to get most, but not all, the benefits of compost without having to heave a shovel or wait for rain.

    Besides it's not about NPK-- it's about the microherd. People who think of compost in terms of its "nutritional content" are stuck in the chemical paradigm and should pry themselves loose asap.

    Check out the specs on the bag the next time you visit the garden center. Notice that all types of compost are roughly balanced in the NPK anaylsis the regulators require for labeling. The strongest compost would probably be no more than about 2% N. The average compost, from non-manure feedstock, tests at about .5% N. Tea made from this anemic stuff will do NO DAMAGE to your soil and there is absolutely no need for a soil test.

    "adding materials to you soil that are perhaps not needed at the time." I am shocked at the naivety.

    Tell me, WHEN would compost ever "not be needed"? Is it even possible to create, or imagine, a garden that has too much compost? You'd have to be a foot deep in the beautiful stuff before there'd be too much compost! (FYI for the scientist- wannabes and literalists: that last comment was a deliberate exaggeration.)

    Okay okay. All the rock gardeners and xeriscapers and prairie plant enthusiasts out there are saying "But wait-- I want my soil lean and mean, not rich and moist". I concede. For these types of gardens it would be possible to have too much compost.

    But for goodness sake, no one should be afraid to put compost or compost tea on a garden for fear of creating a chemical imbalance. It just won't happen. Take the money you save on a soil test and buy (or make) some compost!
     
  7. bob 2

    bob 2 Active Member

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    Actually a soil test is for the soil Bev.

    This is often done by experienced gardeners to find out if making concoctions is necessary or the gardening time could be better spent on something else.

    In spite of the potential of compost and manure teas, until research can show that a particular "type of tea" will work reliably and dosen't contain human pathogens I would caution new gardeners from experimenting with them.
    There's lots of anecdotal advice regarding teas but many conflict with each other and provide no sound reasons for their use.

    Composting will kill off most pathogenic bacteria but it's when the mix hits the conditions in a compost tea brewer that these nasty organsims will bounce back and reach potentially harmful levels.

    I am thinking of Escherica Coli and Salmonella as examples here.(part of the microherd)

    FWIW Bev I don't believe I mentioned anything about creating a chemical imbalance using compost or tea did I?

    Bob
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2009
  8. JanR

    JanR Active Member

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    Compost is a good addition to your soil at any time and you really don't need to do a soil test first. I think you are being a little paranoid Bob. Just wash your veggies before your eat them.
     
  9. bob 2

    bob 2 Active Member

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    Jan: You may be missing the point here.

    I am an avid composter and have been for more than 30 years.
    What I am aversed to is the use of "animal poop" as a source of nutrient in making compost.(or teas)
    I believe that manure should be thoroughly composted and subsequently tested for pathogens before it is introduced to the garden.
    Some suggest that it be sterilized but that kills the microflora entirely.

    We have seen giant recalls in the last few years involving pathogens in lettuce, strawberries, blueberries etc.

    I'm sure if you think of it you can remember some just recently.

    Our forefathers let manures sit for upwards of 20 years before using them in their gardens. That is not the case today and consequently the cases of food contamination are on the increase rather than decreasing.

    If you care to google the internet on this subject you will find that I am not alone in my position and have the support of many distiguished groups of horticulturists including the USDA.

    Here are two such documents and there are dozens more:

    http://www.puyallup.wsu.edu/~Linda ...al Myths_files/Myths/Compost tea 3rd time.pdf

    http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/getfile?dDocName=STELPRDC5058470

    Regards

    Bob
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2009
  10. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    I seem to remember stable manure pits (fell in one) as a child in Switzerland. Not absolutley sure here but I think it was mixed with water then pumped out onto the grass fields. I know somethig like that was happening to the fresh mowen field when I was there 3 yrs ago. They don't tell you about the glorious summer perfumes in the travel guides. As i understand it this has been done for a very long time and it seems to work. My father always used manures and every winter we would barrow it onto the area spread it and later rotary hoe it in. The stable stuff was pretty fresh but the chicken manure was aged. We were never sick and I think that is probably because we ate home grown at least the vegetables and eggs.

    Liz
     
  11. greengarden bev

    greengarden bev Active Member

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    Bob, you've provoked another one of my long-winded responses. Thanks-- refuting your arguments is an excellent brain exercise-- you should try it!

    Regarding what soil tests are for... I see I must spell everything out literally for you, leave no straws to grasp at. "For compost tea???" should have read "For using compost tea???"

    I suggest that the "time and money better spent elsewhere" argument applies equally to the time and money spent on soil tests. A soil test that measures organic matter must be done by a lab. The cost is between $15 and $20, and the wait time is several weeks. The time spent collecting, mixing, packing and mailing the sample is, say, 1 hour. On the other hand, the cost of making compost tea is pretty much nil. Okay, maybe you have to buy a bucket. Or a bag of quality compost. Five bucks max. Plus your labour cost of having the stir the stuff a couple of times. The tea takes a day to brew. The math is clearly on the "tea" side of the equation, don't you agree?

    Re: whether garden "concoctions" are necessary... of course they are not necessary. One can garden quite effectively without compost tea. The point is that compost tea, when properly made, is GOOD because it multiplies the beneficial micro-organisms that are indispensable to healthy soil. Organic gardeners generally want to do what's good for the soil, the garden (and usually the planet), not just bare minimum required to generate a unit of production.

    The idea that we should do the least to get the most is, to me, part of what got our species into the planetary mess we're in. We want to reduce work, cost, and complexity yet maximize output, profit and uniformity. Our species takes from the earth but does not give. So, IMO, we should be very skeptical of advice that sees gardening in such purely economic terms. As an organic gardener the last thing on my mind is the "opportunity cost" of compost tea.

    The Chalker-Scott report does not support your argument, Bob. It is about plant disease suppression, not human pathogens. A red herring.

    It's curious that Chalker-Scott's rather disingenuous literature review does not look at the many studies done by researchers outside of university settings. And she conflates regular compost tea with actively aerated compost tea (ACT). The former HAS been shown to suppress disease; the latter has not. Yet.

    Regarding the Compost Tea Task Force Report by the National Organics Standards Board. This is an interesting report. I happen to think the NOSB is a joke (take a look at the politics it has played and the dumb decisions it has made http://www.truthinlabeling.org/OrganicIndustry-12-06.html ) but still the report gives a good overview of the big "tea" picture. The report does not support your claim that the tea-brewing environment causes the nasty stuff to "bounce back" to harmful levels: "All data brought to the Task Force support the notion that compost tea made from compost and vermicompost, as defined by the NOSB Compost Task Force (NOSB, 2002), does not represent a risk if compost tea additives are not used." So it is not the tea but the additives (molasses, yeasts, sugars, etc) that are the problem.

    Bob you've changed your tune regarding soil tests. In your first post you argued that soil tests should be done on the soil before using compost tea. Now you are advocating testing compost to make sure it is free of pathogens before using it. The first idea is just silly. The second idea, compost testing, has some merit, and is absolutely necessary for commercial compost operations. Compost quality standards (in Canada called CQA) have been developed over the past few years and the industry is finally starting to regulate itself. Still, the motive, I think, is not the need for safe compost, but rather the desire to "de-commoditize" the industry, which wants brand recognition and product differentiation. But that's another topic altogether.

    For the home gardener, compost testing is time consuming and expensive. A better solution would be to learn how to make manure-based compost properly. Gardeners who are worried about pathogens in their compost should get a thermometer and do some research. Or use plants as feedstock. Or use their compost on plants they don't eat.
     
  12. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    I think manures from grass eaters is safe [have no scientific evidence except actualy doing] However I would never use meat eating animal manure such as dog dropings going into a compost that is meant for food production , that is vegetables. I am fairly sure that human waste compost is used in Asia on food crops. I wonder if that has pathogenes that are recycled? If I have my facts wrong please correct. I am just going on something that was in the news here about a year ago of vegetable imports being grown this way.

    Liz
     
  13. bob 2

    bob 2 Active Member

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    I have finally figured you out Bev.
    You can't read and are so zealous about making points on this forum that you are willing to leap to conclusions that simply dont exist.
    I would remind you of what the original thread was but it's obvious you are on yet another one of your crusades to be right at any cost.
    I am glad you are posting here as it serves the forum well to see how far off the mainstream some folks are.
    There have always been people willing to stand on street corners and predict the end of the world or claiming a direct link to the dieties or the millenium curse etc.

    For what it's worth Bev, I did not say the things you are accusing me of above in your latest rant. Somehow you took them out of context or deliberately misquoted me in order to continue your diatribe.


    Bob
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2009
  14. greengarden bev

    greengarden bev Active Member

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    Continuing Liz' thoughts on pathogens in compost and meat-eater manure vs. herbivores. I became interested in this also, after encountering contradictory statements by a couple of experts on whether composting destroyed pharmaceuticals that are routinely given to animals, such as tetracycline. There is at least one study that composting of pretty much any type results in 99% reduction in chlortetracycline, and a 54%-76% reduction in monensin and tylosin. Sulfamethazine concentrations were not reduced at all.

    http://jeq.scijournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/37/3/1245

    What was really interesting was the fact that just letting the poop sit is just as good as doing a controlled, managed compost.

    I don't know about E. Coli counts in the manure of carnivores vs. herbivores. It's present in both, but I don't know if one is less "toxic" than the other.

    There's a guy who self-published a book called "Humanure" and he advocates the composting/recycling of human poop. I haven't read it, but its out there. Pretty far out there, by western sensibilities.

    Basically, E. Coli in -- E. Coli out. If there's no E. Coli in the feedstock, then the compost cannot possibly contain it.

    Bob, why don't you argue with me instead of just calling me names? I look forward to a good, rational argument with you, should you ever attempt one. Why don't you try? I love debating with the mainstream.
     
  15. bob 2

    bob 2 Active Member

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    "Bob, why don't you argue with me instead of just calling me names? I look forward to a good, rational argument with you, should you ever attempt one. Why don't you try? I love debating with the mainstream. "

    Bev,
    It's painfully obvious at this point that you do not understand what I have been trying to convey.
    I want you to take the time, if you will, to carefully read this thread from the beginning sentence to it's end.
    I want you to take a few minutes to examine what has been said and perhaps what you have envisioned.

    Please get back to me after and I may acquiesce to debate the topic with you.

    I will not, however, argue it for the benefit of an audience.

    Arguments are for lawyers and the like with little regard for the truth.

    Debates are for scholars to uncover the truth.


    Regards

    Bob
     
  16. Millet

    Millet Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Harry, can certainly do what ever he wishes with his own garden. I would use compost, manure tea, and composted manure as a soil applied nutrient. Personally, I would never spay a liquid manure mixture directly onto the surface of any leafy vegetable that I was going to put into my mouth, even if washed before use. - NOT EVER, much too gross. - Millet (1,413-)
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2009
  17. bob 2

    bob 2 Active Member

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    I'm going to be a little bit leary passing one of those roadside signs from now on advertising

    "Organically grown vegetables".

    It seems our standards of "hygeine" are miles apart.

    Bob
     
  18. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Neither would I I just apply it as a watering substitute

    Liz
     
  19. bob 2

    bob 2 Active Member

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    Compost Tea: A Growing Concern
    What is Compost Tea

    The term “Compost Tea” specifically describes the watery solution obtained by soaking compost in water in the presence of nutrients such as molasses, kelp, and rock dust. The term “Compost Tea” is sometimes used to include the following products:

    Compost leachate - leachate from the compost pile
    Compost extract - soaking compost in water
    Manure tea - soaking manure in water
    Herbal tea - soaking fresh green plant material in water
    Liquid manure - fermented plant and marine animal material
    Compost teas are used as a foliar spray to suppress plant disease and/or a liquid fertilizer.

    Compost Teas and Food Safety

    Compost teas that are improperly prepared may contain pathogens, such as Salmonella and E. coli 0157:H7. Growers using compost tea must be certain that the compost tea does not contaminate food plants with organisms that may cause human illness. To this end, growers should discuss their use of compost tea products with knowledgeable professionals*, and should test the compost tea products to make sure that they are pathogen free.

    http://www.agf.gov.bc.ca/foodsafety/factsheets/compost_tea.htm
    I hope you don't think I'm being too forceful but I hate taking the time to inform folks if they simply ingore what I am trying to explain.

    Regards

    Bob
     
  20. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Ahh ok manure tea it is at my end .
    Thankyou
    Liz
     
  21. Millet

    Millet Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    I must say that Bob2 seem to be a person who exhibits good common sense, when it comes to a healthful form of organic gardening. Hopefully his common sense can be contagious to other members of the organic forum. - Millet (1,413-)
     
  22. bob 2

    bob 2 Active Member

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    I am humbled Millet.
    We are all here to learn from each other.
    I hope each of us can use the means at their disposal to make gardening a rewarding experience without leaving a foot print on the planet.
    There is much to learn and so little time.

    Bob
     
  23. Ralph Walton

    Ralph Walton Active Member 10 Years

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    Maybe I'm missing the point here, but why use manure or compost tea when you can just use manure (composted of course) or other composts directly?

    I have a fairly large manure/compost pile (it's about 25 to 40 feet across, depending on the season). On one side it is brown/green with visible veggie and fruit residues, hay, horse and cow poop, and on the other side it's black. It takes about 2 years to get from one side to the other. I just took a truckload down to the garden a couple of months ago to be added to and dug into the soil of our veggie garden and the ornamental section (though I admit the two sections are getting a bit blurred).

    There is no question that this will add some nutrients to the soil, but also will condition the soil with some bulk organic matter, something that no tea can accomplish.

    I also add un-composted manure to the pastures by the simplest method of all: it drops out of the animals and Voila!

    I've never tested it, but I would be very surprised if there wasn't some E-coli in with the other inhabitants of the composted manure. This stuff is getting dug in months before the veggies are planted, never mind harvested so I don't have any fears about the various bugs possibly present in my salad. Tea on the other hand can be applied any time so it could present a problem. Maybe.

    OK, sometimes I top dress with it (it's a lot easier and these bones aren't as young as they used to be). So if I spread it on the carrots that could be bad, but I don't. Use your head I think.

    Ralph
     
  24. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    My reason for using it in soluable form (manure) was for pots. My dogs are fond of nosing blood and bone and similar goodies out of the pots along with the plants. It's cheaper than buying soluable stuff to fertilise from the shop. I also like using it for fine vegetables such as young plants, carrots and onions. Its probably easier for me as I have the ingrediants laid on and inherited the barrel to do it in. Re the manure in the open paddock I spend an enjoyable time most autumn evenings breaking up horse manure piles. It's exercise and there is a certain sense of satisfation. I do seem to have manure beetles as well. Horses however are very fussy about where they eat once it has been piled up. Alpaca were much cleaner animals they did it in long lines like a latrine.

    Liz
     
  25. bob 2

    bob 2 Active Member

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    Are we talking about Manure or Compost?
    They are very separate and distinct things for the garden and should be handled differently as far as I am concerned.

    Manure can become compost but not all compost contains manure.
    Solutions of water +X can be extracted from either or both.(teas)

    Bob



    Bob
     

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