How much manure per cubic yard of soil?

Reach_For_The_Sun(6)May 17, 2012

I plan to mix some manure in with my soil for my containers. The question I have is home much per cubic yard of soil. I read a lot regarding per square foot but not by volume.

I do not know from what the manure is from but probably horse or cow it is ages 1-3 years and not sure if it has straw or saw dust in it. The soil composition is pretty much, clay, sand, some peat, some vermiculite, small gravel, my towns compost which seems mainly of grass, leaves and ground up twigs and branches.

I probably have about 4-5 yards of soil, and I would like to put in an appropriate amount of manure but can't seem to get an accurate assessment.

If you have any thoughts I would really appreciate it.


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Just got some more info. It horse with some goat mixed in bedded in straw nice and fine texture I was told.

Don't know if that makes a difference as to the amount but thought I would give the additional info.


    Bookmark   May 17, 2012 at 9:19AM
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Regardless of your unit of measurement, you can always go with a % / ratio measurement.

Example: 25% manure to 75% existing soil
or: 1 scoop of manure to 3 scoops of existing soil
or: half n half

My first thought is to go slow and spend this year experimenting. There are sooooo many variables, that I'd probably just start mixing in the manure until it looked n felt "right."

An off the cuff guess would be to add 1 yard of manure to your 4-5 yards of soil.

Considering you can fill about 7 of those half-barrel whiskey planters with 1 yard, I hope you have a whole bunch of containers :-)

    Bookmark   May 17, 2012 at 9:45AM
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Thanks. I was thinking that I didn't want to put too much in and see everything die.

Yep got a lot of containers, about 40 - 5 gallon buckets, 17 - 10 gallon containers and 6 - 55 gallon planters plus some random others.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2012 at 9:51AM
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Beware -- composted manure is good for the inground gardens, but not containers. Container soil is different and needs better drainage. It compresses & the plant roots suffer. Sometimes compost is part of potting soil, but not much of it.

Someone may explain it better than I can.

You can still get that manure and bedding to build a big pile and turn it often until it smells and looks like dirt. Screen it so you have fine particles then you could use it as a mulch in the container. Then when you water it will trickle nutrients down to your plant roots.

To feed the containers you could still make tea with the partially composted manures as long as the food is going to be cooked before eating. Don't use it on salad greens until you've fully composted it to look crumbly, dark, and smell like dirt.

There is more information on other GW forums for container soils like container or the square foot gardening forums.

Happy gardening~ Corrine

    Bookmark   May 18, 2012 at 3:29PM
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blazeaglory(10 SZ22/24 OC Ca)

There is a thread at the top of this forum titled "Creating a perfect blend of potting soil" or something. That is the thread you will want to read.

They say manure gives way to compaction in pots due to its quick composting nature. I use it in my pots but it depends on what Im growing. And after reading the thread I mentioned I am highly rethinking using manure in pots. I am still going to use it but much less than before. There are many other ways to get nutrients in your pots other than manure. Good luck:-)

    Bookmark   May 18, 2012 at 11:43PM
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How much manure to add to soil depends on what that soil needs. There is no specified quantity although I have seen much about being careful to not add too much because of pollution concerns. The second consideration is what is the amount of nutrients in the manure, so a soil test as well as a test of the manure is needed to determine how much. If your soil is low in available Nitrogen more manure, with more available N, can be added while if your soil has good levels of available N you would want to add less manure.
There are no hard and fast measures to determine the answer to your question.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2012 at 6:31AM
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this a question that cannot be answered by information supplied.

compost is not a defined term. size? texture? water holding capacity? ability to drain? fertility?

do the same for the (now composted) manure. and the original soil you are adding to.

personally i use about 50% composted manure, 25% pine bark, 10% lava rock crushed under 1/2", and the balance a peat blend under the promix label. that's what i use now given the materials i have available to me.

it also changes over time. one year i substituted shredded coconut for the pine bark. results comparable to favorable. one year i had a devil of a time finding an acceptable manure compost...things would be so much easier if i lowered my standards

in part, this is an ongoing process and one that has no formula. you know want as a finished product and find the ingredients.and the ratios that meet that end. one year, after moving eight hundred miles i had to find new sources and when i made the container mix, i didn't like it so i added a lot of peat amd a little more manure til i was satisfied.

as you do this more you'll understand more about how these things blend and how they hold up to your use. and sometimes you'll use what's cheap and love it and other times you won't. and all the best learming in the world can never substitute for your own experience.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2012 at 7:50AM
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Someone please explain why you would add any kind of manure to a potted plant.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2012 at 3:36AM
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Why not add manure to a potted plant?

    Bookmark   May 20, 2012 at 6:25AM
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As they say if it were simple everyone would be doing it. Yes experience is the best teacher, now if only I were a good student.

Thanks all for the additional info. I will seek out that thread.

The manure I obtained was not fine and did not look like dirt per se but did not smell. I probably got less than a yard and mixed with around 3-4 yds of dirt. Tilled it in so it was broken up so I don't see compaction as a problem with my finished product. Perhaps it won't help but I guess I will see what happens.

I tried a better draining coarser mix last year for half of my containers and, not that I kept the most extensive of notes, it did not seem to have any positive effect. The only thing it did was dry out quicker which made me water more. So I just mixed everything together this year and will see how that goes and if too coarse still I guess I will have so sift some of the stuff out next year, I don't look forward to that prospect.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2012 at 9:13AM
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