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Adding manure to garden

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by bjorn773, Nov 6, 2008.

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  1. bjorn773

    bjorn773 Member

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    Last fall we added 5 cans containing 30 gallons each of horse manure to the garden. I tilled this spring and the garden went nuts this summer. I'm inclined to add more this year, but am concerned about overfertilizing. I don't want to burn the plants with too much. We also add ground leaves from the trees in our yard(no oak leaves though). So, should I add the same amount again? Would there still be some present from last year or would the nutrients be used/dissipated by now.

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  2. jqgs214

    jqgs214 Minister of Fire

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    Organic fertilizers, ie manure are any other organic fertilizer should not burn your plants. Usually only chemically based fertilizers when applied to the foliage will burn plants. You want a nice healthy soil, but to much manure is not a good thing either, it can weigh down soil adding to poor drainage.
  3. Burn-1

    Burn-1 Feeling the Heat

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    New horse or chicken manures can burn out plants but given that you have put some leaves in that should stabilize the carbon/nitrogen ratio plus some time for composting over the winter. It's a balance. Too much carbon will result in the soil having nitrogen poor conditions. Too little carbon will cause instability in the nitrogen leading to gaseous release and also low nitrogen conditions.

    You should be OK unless you were starting out with composted manure and added lots of leaves.
  4. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    Ya, if adding manure, add a similar amount or more of shredded leaves. It'll mellow over the winter. No real need to till if the soil is good- just add more shredded leaves as a mulch after planting to keep weeds down and reduce watering needs. I never till, and grow too much! You probably don't need near as much manure as the first application that you had to get it kick started.
  5. Dix

    Dix Minister of Fire

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    Yep. Hot fresh manure can burn plants. You should be fine this time of year by layering with leaves, grass clippings, etc.


    The fresh manure also needs to sit and "cook" so as to kill any hay seeds, etc that might not have been digested by Ole Dobbin. You'll notice the pile being the first to thaw from a snow fall, etc. You can also throw compostable kitchen scraps, etc in there, or use some of the manure to start a different compost pile to use next year, as well.

    I know alot about horse manure ;-P
  6. Tom Pencil

    Tom Pencil Member

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    I would only use aged manure and till it in (if it smells like soil it is ok, if it smells like....... well you know then let it age). I always tried to get my organic material 15-20% of the soil for I use to raise those Atlantic Giant Pumpkins. Grew one to 659 pounds and another to 554 lbs. My patch now has some disease in the soil that only effects my pumpkins. Now it is a hayfield and the area that had most of the manure/compost in is as green and thick just like early summer when the grass grows the fastest.
  7. bjorn773

    bjorn773 Member

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    I guess I should have specified the manure was pretty well composted before I picked it up. It looks like black dirt, not fresh at all. I would say it was about equal amounts of shredded leaves and manure last year. I have added leaves and tilled every year because I started with pretty much solid clay for soil. It is now pretty nice stuff, but I still like to aerate it each spring before planting. Perhaps a wasted step, but it makes me feel better.
  8. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    Oh, then no biggie- composted is good to go.

    I'm sure it'll grow great if you till or not- but tilling generally does not aerate, at least according to most modern data. It disrupts soil structure, collapses worm holes, kills worms (who aerate all year) and sets back beneficial fungi (which are a key to keeping nutrients available). Except when you're ammending maybe hardpan or heavy clay the first year- after that the worms will do all the work for ya. Plug aerating a lawn is different than tilling, and is a good way to get organic matter in the soil with minimal disruption.

    The fact that you're using a lot of compost- it won't much matter either way if you till I guess. It is the key, IMO!
  9. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    Anyone know if sheep poo is any good as a fertilizer? My brother has taken up sheep farming so I might be able to go around and collect the little round sheep poos and till them into my garden . . . if it is worth doing so.
  10. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    Sheep manure is lower in N than many others, so it is less likely to burn plants, if it would at all. Rabbit and llama manure, I think, are 2 others (I have litter trained house rabbits, so I use it directly).

    Rabbit food in bulk is also a great fertilizer. Buy it in 50# bags- no rabbits sitting bored in a cage (the house rabbits agree- this is the way to go).
  11. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    My bee supply lady raises llamas and says that llamadoo is supposedly better for gardens than cow or horse product, and requires no composting - just spread it around. (She is always willing to give her customers a load of chit...)

    I've done a couple loads on my garden patch, and it seems to be doing OK but not great. Trouble is, everytime I get a load, the GF complains about the "air" it leaves in the van... I think I'm going to be doing a lot more with composting, and am currently working on building my own freebie compost pile - i.e. clear a space for it, then contact the local lawn services and tell them you have a free place for them to dump their leaves... (much easier than raking up your own - those I either leave in the woods or mulch into the lawn...) The soil in the patch right now I'd say has a great deal of clay in it, not to mention a fine collection of New England's finest rocks...

    I may get another load of manure to put on it this fall, and I figure by spring I'll have a nice pile of ready to spread compost / rotted leaves. Till it in along with the rotted leaves in the spring, then just keep spreading more compost on it from that point on... (I can make a couple of leaf dumping spots to get rotating piles going...

    I know that I need to get my soil looser somehow - I just harvested my horse-radish, and it didn't give me anywhere near the yield I was expecting (though it was potent) only about 1/2 cup from 5 plants...

    Gooserider
  12. EatenByLimestone

    EatenByLimestone Minister of Fire

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    Most of my garden is 10 inch raised beds filled with cow manure. It came in fresh and aged over the winter. Manure is a great fertilizer. I didn't have time to get any this year.

    Matt
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