fresh horse manure on garden

dunwaukin(Ontario 5b)April 4, 2008

Since we have lots of horse manure and straw, I was thinking about putting down a 6" layer of the manure/straw in my garden. I would just scrape a small trough in each row where I wanted to put seeds -- I wouldn't work in the straw.

My goal is to keep down the weeds, and hold in the moisture. Would fresh manure leach too much nitrogen. Would I attract too many flies (Southern Ontario)

I put just straight straw under the tomatoes last year, and it seemed to keep them cleaner and moister. But would I regret fresh manure?

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I'd go for aged manure. The fresh stuff can burn the plants. It wouldn't leach nitrogen -- it would just be too hot.

And yeah, the flies might end up being an issue too.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2008 at 4:13PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Most definitely not fresh in the vegetable garden. There is much research available on the net on the multiple hazards of using fresh manures in the garden.

Aged and/or composted only please.

keep down the weeds, and hold in the moisture Admirable goal, most definitely, and that is the role of mulches. But manure is not a mulch, once aged it is a high nitrogen soil amendment needing to be mixed in with the soil. Straw, hay, shredded leaves, compost, dried grass clippings, etc. are all effective mulches.


PS: check out the Soil & Mulch forum here for even more ideas and discussions on this question if you wish.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2008 at 4:49PM
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ruthieg__tx(z8 TX)

Be prepard to weed too if you use it as mulch cause there will be a ga-zillion seeds in that horsey poop and hay...I have lots and lots of experience at both and at weeding the hayfield that it produced...I would love to have it for my garden but I'd compost it first if I could...

    Bookmark   April 4, 2008 at 11:34PM
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I went to a talk giv ven by Paul Tumey or something and he is an expert on organic gardening. He told us how his family used "dung" from all iof their animals.
I will sum it up: They would take his grandmas olkd nylon stockings and fill with manure and put that in a bucket fill with water and his job was to stir that every day with a stick. After a few days he would pour the liquid on their plants, he suggested that we take that liquid after a few days and put it in a sprayer and spary our plants leaves and all then watch them grow. Never put fresh manure in your garden it will burn them, my brother found that out very fast. I just bought a sprayer and will do this with my chicken manure.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2008 at 8:24AM
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ruthieg__tx(z8 TX)

That's a very old gardening trick...It's called manure tea...It's good for most anything but lovely for your transplants.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2008 at 9:05AM
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barngod(Z7/ VA)

Not a good idea. I manage a horse farm so I have access to all the manure I want. Compost it for atleast 1 year, and be prepared to fight a battle with weeds. Also be prepared to lime heavily as even composted manure is still quite acidic.
what I do is pile the fresh manure, soak it down good with a hose and turn it frequently for the first year. then I lime it and soak it again and leave it coverd under thick black plastic for another couple of 3 years turning it every so often and watering it down occasionally and I still get hay and grain growing in my garden.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2008 at 11:12AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Yes, as ruthie says, manure tea has been around for ages and can be quite beneficial IF done correctly.

But it does have risks (including killing your plants) and hazards (one need only review the recent produce recalls for e. coli contamination) associated with it so it important not to over-simplify the process.

Rosewood513 do some research on it first. ;) It has to be diluted quite a bit before spraying - to the color of weak iced tea - it can only be sprayed early in the morning or late in the evening - NEVER in the heat of the day or direct sunlight, and using aged manures, not fresh, is required. Especially chicken manures as they are extremely hot (high nitrogen).


    Bookmark   April 6, 2008 at 12:08PM
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I reckon you are talking about mostly urine-soaked straw right out of the horse-stall? Of all manure to use fresh or as a mulch, that would be the one. Of course it's always better to compost first, but if the fresh is all you've got, then there are some plants that can benefit from it - notably the root crops. Leafy green crops will like it as well. Also, putting it out in April in a zone 5 is not like it's going to impact growing crops since you are weeks away from that still.

Once spread out between the rows it's really going to be more of a mulch with a slow-release of nitro. Just keep it well away from any potatoes.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2008 at 12:25PM
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dunwaukin(Ontario 5b)

As pmbrown says, we are still weeks away from planting. If I put the straw/manure on now, it will still get a couple of good rain falls to wash it and soak in.

Potatoes go into another garden, that is much healthier. This soil is 'muck' My DH bought it from a soil farm -- it's very silty, and I have to get some organic material into it. So I figured I would use it for mulch in the summer, and dig in into the garden next spring.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2008 at 1:10PM
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Funny story: I'm a "city boy" with a backyard garden so I don't have ready access to manures. But I did have a friend years ago, who had a weekend farm that he invited me to. He had a few horses and cows on the premises, and I took home with me in my hatchback several black-plastic bags half-filled with manure. (The ride back was aromatic, to be sure.) I set the bags aside until time to use the contents, and when I finally did I was shocked by the number of June Bug larvae I found crawling under the bags. Big, fat creatures, the size of one's little finger. They either came along with the manure, or the manure became a magnet for them . I destroyed as many of the larvae as I could, but it took a couple of summers before I could say I won the war of the June Bugs.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2008 at 3:18PM
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