Using Manure to amend soil

texasgal2(8)September 1, 2008

I bought some bags of steer manure from Walmart and hope it can help amend the soil a bit in a flower bed. My plan is to just mix it in with other amendments such as rose soil and then wait until next spring to plant. Will this be a good idea. At the moment soil is so poor nothing seems to do well there.


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Yes, it is a good idea to amend your soil in fall. That gives the soil's ecosystem time to establish. You can go ahead and plant some perennials, too, if you have that in mind. Manure doesn't have to be dug in really deep, but you do want to dig that manure in. Manure loses nitrogen if it is left exposed to air.

I am not sure what you mean by rose soil. If it is expensive you might want to put that solely in places you will be planting roses. Mark the places with sticks or something so you remember where you put it, if you aren't going to plant your roses this fall!


    Bookmark   September 1, 2008 at 6:50PM
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Texasgal, No doubt the manure is a product that goes by the name 'composted cattle manure' and is widely available at any garden center or nursery for the explicit reason to amend soil to invite plants to grow better in.
It is not to be considered a fertilizer. While compost has some nutrition values, it can work longer with the addional use of fertilizers.
Compost like what you bought, will aid the plants to grow stronger and help in advancing flowers and seed production.

You can add compost anytime of the year and need not be held back until a growing season is about. Some nutrition might take time to work through the soil. Water may hold such nutrition in the soil and make it available right away to plants.
Farmers sometimes plant a crop...legume...for the explicit reason to plow it under before winter and so make available the nitrogen it contains for a good spring start up.

You adding organic material, makes available microbial activity to make the soil more fertile. This can help your soil avoid compaction which causes rain to be not held. Anytime you can give to your soil organic material it will pay dividends.

Have you considered starting a compost pile of your own.
Without going into why or how, you can read for yourself...
"about compost" and decide whether you wish to try to make your own. It makes good "green" sense to not throw away what can help our soils grow better plants.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2008 at 6:52PM
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If manure is to be added directly to garden soil fall is the time to do that, but you also need to add 3 times as much other organic matter along with that manure. Contrary to what one poster here may tell you manure is considered a fertilizer with an NPK of about 0.7 - 0.3- 0.4, depending on the source of that manure.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2008 at 7:45AM
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Since you've gotten some conflicting advice, I thought I'd try to help clarify a bit. Manure is a fertilizer, but since you bought the manure in bags at Wal Mart, it may be composted manure, which is more of an amendment than a fertilizer. Check the bag to see whether is is composted or dehydrated. If it's already composted, it has already had the other materials mixed in with it and it can be used as is.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2008 at 10:33AM
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gnomey(7b SC zip296)

Proof that manure is a fertilizer:

I got a load of horse manure and dropped it off at my mom's house where we are preparing a new bed for the spring. After using most of it by layering it with cardboard, leaves, straw and coffee grounds, a small amount remained where the pile had been. Then it rained, we got about 10 inches over a couple of days. We were out there yesterday and noticed that the grass surrounding where the pile had been is much greener and 6" taller than the rest. This rapid, green growth radiates out for about 6-8 inches from where the pile was.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2008 at 2:44AM
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So...the grass is always greener on the other side of the pile?


    Bookmark   September 3, 2008 at 7:39AM
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gnomey(7b SC zip296)

Les, it looks that way from here. :)

    Bookmark   September 3, 2008 at 11:21AM
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Thanks everyone. I appreciate your comments and advice. bpgreen, the bag fron Walmart was very generic looking and just said Steer Manure, nothing else, so I don't know if it is dehydrated or composted.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2008 at 8:01PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

I can't speak to what goes in the bags of composted manure in cattle country, but around here, the bags are generally labeled .05-.05-.05 NPK and are not much more than black sand. Note the position of the decimal point - that's 5/100 of 1%.


    Bookmark   September 4, 2008 at 10:23PM
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