Discussion in 'Gardening and Agriculture' started by sgtrunningfool, Jul 31, 2013.

  1. sgtrunningfool

    sgtrunningfool Well-Known Member

    How long do you have to age horse or cow manure before u mix it in your bed so it doesn't burn plants
  2. camo2460

    camo2460 Supporting Member

    If you put it on your garden after the season is over, by spring you can then turn it into the ground.

  3. cowboyhermit

    cowboyhermit Supporting Member

    Cow and horse (that are eating grass) manure really aren't very "hot", they can be applied fresh in reasonable quantities with no burning in most soils. Think of how grass grows right around a cow patty, in a healthy pasture none of the grass will even die directly underneath. If it is not well composted there can be multiple problems though; smell, nutrients not being available, weeds, etc. So in most cases the safest way is to use well "rotted" manure which doesn't depend on the calendar as much as a whole host of factors. Basically if you look at it and smell it and can tell it was manure then it is not truly composted, usually takes several years to be complete (essentially organic matter has been eaten and turned into dead microorganisms and minerals).

    How is that for a non-answer :D
    Let me try again, "how long to compost to avoid burning?" None if using small enough concentrations, longer is better though.
  4. HomegrownGal

    HomegrownGal Well-Known Member

    I burned up my veggies and herbs with 5-6 month old horse manure. A year is best unless you spread it over the soil and till in for winter. I usually work in some free wood chips from the tree cutting companies too or leaves. Ground leaves are great!

    I like horse manure because horses digestive systems don't rob the manure of most of its nutrients like cows do. The downside is the weed seeds!! It's a wonderful addition to sheet composting or lasagna gardening. Cardboard laid down first will suppress the weeds. Then layer on all kinds of organic matter! Leaves, manures, wood chips, wood ash, produce waste, sand if heavy clay soil, crushed egg shells, ... You get the idea! Do this in raised beds--incorporate hugelkulture. Careful to monitor ph and use a healthy balance of green and brown waste.
  5. Davarm

    Davarm Texan

    I agree with cowboyhermit.

    When I was a teenager I worked for an old farmer and we would clean his feed lots in the spring and spread the manure directly to the bean(soy) fields and when we were finished he'd turn it under and plant.

    He had some of the best yields in the area. Just remember that "a little is good - A lot may not be better".
  6. Wellrounded

    Wellrounded Supporting Member

    The only manure I don't use fresh is pig. I break all the rules and will use everything else straight on the vege garden. Not in contact with plants but as a side dressing and I usually put a layer of straw over and under it. The 'windrows' of straw and manure will have broken down enough by the time the crop is finished (10 -12 weeks) and I'll plant the next crop INTO this straw and manure. Then pile straw and manure where the just finished crop was. The only plants I don't do this with are root crops as I plant them at 12 inch row spacing. This is the base for most of my vege patch which is 'no dig'. We have no soil here, none at all, just granite muck and we build on top of that.
    If I want to use it on more delicate plants (ornamentals and some herbs etc) I'll pile it up with a bit of straw and let it heat through, turn it, add a little more nitrogen (urine usually), let it heat again, then shovel it straight on the garden. It looks a lot like mushroom compost and smells nothing like manure at this stage.... This takes under two weeks.... If it's doesn't heat up quickly it's too dry/wet, not enough nitrogen or needs some air holes through the pile.
  7. ZoomZoom

    ZoomZoom Rookie Prepper

    I use a lot of manure. By all accounts, probably too much. I've put in approx 16 tons in a 1500 sq/ft garden over the last 2 years.

    The one thing I can add is manure holds and retains a lot of water. I find it hard to work with in the spring as it's so wet and slimy, it cakes over the tractor tires so it's hard to rototill.

    If you're putting in a lot, I'd add some, mix with soil, add more and repeat.
  8. LincTex

    LincTex Jack of all trades?


    Holy cow! Yes, that's a lot.
    21 pounds per square foot!!!!
  9. *Andi

    *Andi Supporting Member



  10. ZoomZoom

    ZoomZoom Rookie Prepper

    Pun intended?

    Yea, it got so deep that I needed to a couple ton aside. I run a 4' tiller off the back of the tractor and even digging down 10" inches with it, I still didn't reach the bottom of the manure. Pushed a bit aside then I was reaching the dirt so it would be pulled into the tiller.

    The stuff set aside will be pulled back in next year.
  11. crabapple

    crabapple I sold my soul to the internet

    My brother has side dressed with fresh, raw horse manure.
    My concern was not burning, but micro's that could get on the food.
    Gov. says 90-120 days.
    So I turn it into my beds & wait 120 days or compost for 120 days.
    No one in my brother house got sick, but I have plenty of compost,so what is the rush.
  12. cowboyhermit

    cowboyhermit Supporting Member

    crabapple makes a good point about potential bacteria etc. I don't worry about it for myself and family so it is easy to forget (I probably unintentionally ingest more animal "bugs" in a year than people would from food in a lifetime and never get sick so it doesn't worry me). But on any commercial garden we always used well composted (as in years) old manure, this is as much out of practicality as anything (there is a LOT less to haul once it has rotted) plus the weed and other issues. With some plants there is almost no chance of contamination but others like lettuce apparently can be a problem.
  13. libprepper

    libprepper ExCommunicated

    I also mix manure with sawdust, and then mix with soil. The sawdust seems to adsorb stabilize the more moist components of the manure and increase the overall volume. In my case the concern is the high nitrogen and ph in the uric acid in the manure leeching directly onto the plants/roots as well as pathogens. I mix manure with the saw dust and turn into a compost of grass clippings, leaves and previously used up garden soil / top soil. I use this compost directly onto the garden and fruit trees after six to nine months of aging. Never had anything but good results with this mixture and method.