Adding Horse Manure

exmarOctober 16, 2011

Hi Folks,

Due to the totally ridiculous amount of rain we've had this year the two loads of composted horse manure I had delivered in the spring, just got moved to the garden. I spread it around and then tilled it in to over winter. A neighbor wandered by and commented that if it was him, he'd just let it lay on top of the soil, tilling it in next spring.

Seems wrong to me, get it down in the soil so it can work it's magic has always been what I've done.

Opinions?

Ev

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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Either works. Letting the worms and other soil micro-herd members do it for you is easier. Pros and cons to both approaches.

Dave

    Bookmark   October 16, 2011 at 4:27PM
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glib(5.5)

bout the same. If you want surface microtilling, for best seed germination, lay it on top. If you want optimal nitrogen absorption and hard clay breaking, till it in. Till it in also if you suspect there will be weed seeds.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2011 at 9:37PM
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nygardener(z6 New York)

glib, what do you mean by "surface microtilling"? And how does it affect seed germination?

    Bookmark   October 16, 2011 at 10:04PM
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suburbangreen(8)

I am also going to spread some horse manure in my garden in the next week or so. What about putting horse manure on the surface and putting a 1 or 2 inch layer of shredded leaves on top?

    Bookmark   October 18, 2011 at 2:50PM
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exmar

Suburban, I think I'd reverse it, and put the leaves under the manure just in case the fall is dry and you don't want the leaves to blow away.

Thanks for the responses, I think I'll continue to till it in as the sooner the worms and other critters can get to it, the faster the soil improves.

Thanks again,

Ev

    Bookmark   October 18, 2011 at 3:11PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

What about putting horse manure on the surface and putting a 1 or 2 inch layer of shredded leaves on top?

Good. Better with the manure on top of the leaves. You get faster decomp. If it is fresh manure rather than well-aged you'll need to wait 90 days before planting.

Dave

PS: surface micro-tilling just means light surface tilling as opposed to deep tilling. I usually do deep tilling in the fall and then just light surface tilling to break up any surface clumps that have formed over the winter, imporves the surface soil tilth and results in better and faster seed planting and germination in the spring.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2011 at 3:17PM
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glib(5.5)

By surface microtilling I mean getting a thin layer of worm castings on top of your soil (eventually) in which things germinate readily. Advisable if you have heavy soil and you seed directly a lot. I noticed that when I bury things in clay the top of the soil gets no benefit.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2011 at 6:34PM
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exmar

Glib, please expand (expound? gotta love what we've done to the language) "the surface gets no benefit." ?? Confused here, the surface is only useful in holding mulch for water conservation or to keep weeds down. The roots are "down" and manure, etc. on top of the soil isn't available to them. Am I having a "senior moment?" :-)

Ev

    Bookmark   October 18, 2011 at 7:11PM
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