Manure questions

Discussion in 'Soils, Fertilizers and Composting' started by hungry hippo, Nov 9, 2004.

  1. hungry hippo

    hungry hippo Active Member 10 Years

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    Hi,

    I am happy to say that I have just discovered a source of free horse manure locally. I don't have room in my compost boxes for the kind of quantity that I am hoping to bring in. I have read that digging uncomposted manure into beds (even if they are not going to be planted until spring) isn't a good idea. Has anyone tried this and had serious weed problems? My other alternative would be to just pile it up and cover it with plastic for the winter. Has anyone tried this and found it to be sufficient time for the manure to break down? Any other suggestions? Thanks in advance!
     
  2. Douglas Justice

    Douglas Justice Well-Known Member UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society 10 Years

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    horse manure

    The way that fodder is processed through the equine digestive system leaves many weed, grass, and clover seeds undigested and these can be a problem in garden beds if raw manure is applied. (In larger scale agriculture sheet composting may be done by spreading the manure directly on the fields; however, this can cause pollution by run-off with spring snowmelt or rains.) If you choose to pile up the manure, why not make the extra effort and mix it with dry leaves so as to create a free form compost heap? The carbon from the leaves provides a balance to the high nitrogen content of the manure. Hopefully this will help the pile to heat up sufficiently to kill any weed seeds. Other major functions of composting are to make phosphates more soluable (and thus more available to plant roots for uptake) and to make the nitrogen less soluable so that plants are not overstimulated and the nitrogen isn't easily washed away by rains. After about six weeks the heap should be turned to aerate it and to rotate the outside layer to the middle so that it is heated enough to kill weed seeds. Sometimes horse manure is combined with different sorts of bedding like straw or wood shavings. If this is the case, less leaves are needed for a source of carbon in the composting reaction.
     
  3. Thanks Douglas,

    There is no shortage of leaves around here. I will layer some into the pile and continue to add my regular contribution of kitchen scraps etc. that I normally put in composting bins.
     
  4. douglas

    douglas Active Member 10 Years

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    Hi

    When using horse manure check on what their main feed is
    IE open grazing or store bought grain and oats.

    if it is the latter, I use it as mulch around roses and peonies directly at this time of year and also in the spring.If it is very moist you can make a tea out of the drainage for use in the spring and summer much like you would use liquid fish fertilizer.

    Another trick that works well in a new veggie bed (in the spring)
    is to put a 6 to 12 inch layer in the bottom of the bed (mixed with straw) and cover with 4 to 6 inches of topsoil. It will warm the soil faster and helps to retain moisture during the season along with promoting early planting and better crops (in my opinion).

    Be carefull when composting Horse manure as it has a tendincy to
    cook hotter than cow/ steer manure.

    Haveing used horse manure for the past 15 years I find that there are a lot less weeds .(about 70% less weeds that when using steer). I have done this in Chilliwack and in Prince George and have had very good results.

    Best of luck Doug
     
  5. fourd

    fourd Active Member 10 Years

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    To answer the original question, depends on how much and soon before planting. Problem with tilling in green manure is it can create excessive heat and burn roots (and not just manure). If done in the fall for a spring planing you're likely OK as it has composted. I have put plastic over it and recommend it as it also seems to keep the smell down especially if mixed with other non-green compost.
     
  6. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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  7. fourd

    fourd Active Member 10 Years

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    Yes, not too much = sparingly = which is hard to admit for one that severly overmulches (I even have plants growing in pure mulch). I, however very rarely use pure horse manure! I add it to wide mixture of mulch from hardwood logs (that is biger then chips) down to leaf, manure, and grass clipings. Some plants I add plenty of pine neadles and oak leaves (acid mix) and others I have a quite diferent mix (neutral). I like horse manure above other manures for several reason but it does seem to be weedy! But all said sparingly is wise word.
     
  8. Terry T

    Terry T Member

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    aged horse manure?

    I just had the opportunity to collect some free aged horse manure. I do not know specifically how old it is, but it was loaded with worms. Can I use this directly in my vegetable garden this Spring?
     
  9. Worms indicate that it is safe. In fact, they have already 'composted' it in their castings. I have acces to very fresh stuff, and must compost it well in my managed piles. When worms show up, I know it is more than ready.

    James in CO
     
  10. hi


    I'm doing research about getting a mini horse.The problem is that i cant find out where to put the manure.I found out that you can use if for your garden, but i need somewhere to put it.Can you help me?
     
  11. Eric La Fountaine

    Eric La Fountaine Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    The manure will have to be composted before it can be applied to a garden. This would require you to pile it up or put it into a partial box while it decomposes. You would need two piles, one to use while the other composts. I would guess that you could do that in a few square metres.

    I am not sure if I understand your question. Do you not have a garden to use up the compost? If not you could probably find a gardener in the neighborhood who would take it. Do you not have the space to stage the composting? I don't know if you would find someone to take fresh manure, but if that is the case, once again I would look for gardeners in the neighborhood.

    As part of your research you may want to ask just how much manure a mini horse might generate.
     
  12. malligator

    malligator Member

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    I've noticed that several people emphasize not using "too much" horse manure. I tend to live by the rule that if a little as good, a lot is better. I have access to a horse stable' s supply of manure so I look forward to composting quite a bit of it. However it would be very helpful if someone could give a more specific idea of how much is enough et cetera. Most of the manure that I have right now is what I would call partially composted. It still has identifiable straw and sawdust in some parts. On the other hand material primarily consists of a dry black powdery material. I presume that this manure is safer than the fresh out of the horse/stall compost. Correct? Just to confirm what I have been reading, I understand that one can compost piles of manure under a tarp, that it is helpful to mix in dried leaves and other organic material, and that would be best to turn and rotate the material every 6 weeks or so if possible. Is it at all helpful to introduce worms oneself? Or does one simply wait for them to arrive on their own?

    Finally, I understand that it is not recommended to put meat scraps in one's compost. However I've never seen a decent explanation as to why this is undesirable. Is it because it may tract rodents? Or is there a biochemical reason?
     
  13. natnkat

    natnkat Member

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    meat in the compost?

    re:
    "Finally, I understand that it is not recommended to put meat scraps in one's compost. However I've never seen a decent explanation as to why this is undesirable. Is it because it may tract rodents? Or is there a biochemical reason?"

    I've been doing some research lately, but am a newbie gardener, so I can only pass on the info I've gleaned from other sources.
    From what I've read, adding meat, dairy, etc, to a compost pile is mainly discouraged because it might possibly attract rodents. Of course, I think how many pets you have might be a factor - I can't see many mice successfully invading my small yard with its 2 dogs and 2 cats who are ever looking for a good time!

    On the other hand, one guy I read, the "Humanure Handbook" author:
    http://weblife.org/humanure/default.html
    uses human wastes and I believe all kitchen scraps, including meat, in his compost (although I could be wrong about the meat, it's been a while since I read the book). I think that he runs a pretty hot, well-tended compost pile, which may deter rodents. You'd have to read his book for details.
     
  14. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    You can use the composting boxes in the corner of your field (s) and spread it back onto the fields once it has composted. OR if you have enough room to split your fields up you can rotate the mini through and spread and clean the manure piles from the one he has just been moved out of. I used to spread my manure and the dung beetles would clean it up. This helped keep the grass healthy and fresh. It also saves you having to get fertilizer in to keep your grass going. It is important to maintain yr mini's health by keeping it worm free if you are going to use the composted manure back on the fields.

    Liz
     
  15. Kim-o

    Kim-o Member

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    I, too, have a horse manure question! We've just bought a piece of property that has three horses grazing and "manuring" on it. While doing research to find out how safe and useful horse manure would be for my gardens, I came across an article on the Mother Earth News website by a woman who uses it in her gardens as a deer repellent. I wonder if anyone else has information about this -- there are lots of deer in the area. And I am getting the feeling that the composting process cuts down on the manure's fragrance -- would that cause the manure to be less effective at repelling those hungry creatures?
     
  16. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    I don't know about the deer repellent properties but be careful you don't end up with a paddock of weeds on your garden. I did the alpaca poo direct to garden trick and regretted it the very next time weeds grew. I would pile it first if you are going to use it so you can weed and turn the stuff before using it. Stable manure is ok to use direct as they are normally on straw and the animals eat feed that is not laced with weeds. Re horses in paddock would be a good idea if you can run a goat or two or a couple of sheep as they also help keep the pasture weed free. Horses are grass only eaters and leave a lot of uneaten areas that is why it is also important to spread manure every so often. In recent threads there has been mention of using human urine in a spray bottle as a successful deer repellent.

    Liz
     

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