When is the best time to apply the aged horse manure

sara_in_phillyNovember 24, 2010

I read a lot about horse manure in this forum and found aged horse manure in the nearby horse farm.

The aged horse manure looks more like black dirt and I can have as much as I want, I am only limited by how much I can transport to my garden and already got a few bags of it put into my veggie bed.

When is the best time to put the horse manure into vegetable bed?

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tgary(5)

I use a lot of horse manure-tilled into garden, compost bins, creating raised ridges to plant rows of berries.

For health and safety reasons I put my manure in the vegetable garden areas only in the fall or early winter plus that gives it more time to finish decomposing.
Gary

    Bookmark   November 24, 2010 at 9:25PM
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goren

"To give it more time to finish composting".
Gads, that is an invite to use manure when it should be left where it is and not foul up a foodstuff garden.
If you are going to use such for a vegetable garden surely you will advise guests before they eat their greens where it came from.

Horse manure should be well aged before being given to a garden growing foodstuffs. Into a flower garden, fine...there it has time to finish composting. But, even there, put around the roots of tender new plants, you might kiss them good-bye for the manure can surely burn them.
If there is no hurry, then let the manure stay where it is, decomposing for at least a year....two if you can.
Manure should be well dug in and watered in. If not, then layer it on top in the fall and let it have the time over winter, into spring to come to something.

There's manure, and then, there's manure. Farmers are often putting out at their roadside entrances, signs advertising their manure for sale...usually sheep manure.
This has been well-aged. Such manure has much value in its richness for adding to gardens and for enriching compost of your own. And its quite safe to use as is.
Just because someone has a horse that provides much in the way of back-end-disposing, is no reason to think it isn't too hot for plants.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2010 at 9:59PM
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Lloyd

Hi Sara

tgary has it correct.

From the U.S. National Organic Program

205.203 Soil fertility and crop nutrient management practice standard.

(1) Raw animal manure, which must be composted unless it is:

(i) Applied to land used for a crop not intended for human consumption;

(ii) Incorporated into the soil not less than 120 days prior to the harvest of a product whose edible portion has direct contact with the soil surface or soil particles; or

(iii) Incorporated into the soil not less than 90 days prior to the harvest of a product whose edible portion does not have direct contact with the soil surface or soil particles

These are the standards for non-composted materials (if the materials haven't been composted to NOP standards then they are to be considered non-composted). From what I've read there are no other standards that are more stringent than them. I can't find a definition of "incorporated" in the standards but IMO it means worked into the soil, not applied as a mulch.

Lloyd

P.S. goren, if you are going to quote somebody, quote them correctly, it makes you look stupid.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2010 at 10:32PM
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sara_in_philly

Thank you both for your reply.

I am posting a picture of the manure here. What do you think, is this well aged manure?

My question is, assuming this is well aged manure, do I used it as compost (put into veggie bed as soon as I can) or use it like fertilizer (put into veggie bed during growing season)?

    Bookmark   November 24, 2010 at 10:37PM
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sara_in_philly

Lloyd, didn't see your reply before I post my picture. Does this looks like well aged to you? Should I put it into garden now or wait for next spring?

    Bookmark   November 24, 2010 at 10:45PM
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Lloyd

Hi Sara

Just so you know, I am not a gardener so take what I say with a grain of salt. Having said, that I work with a lot of elderly lady gardeners from time to time.

You won't go wrong by following the NOP guidelines.

If it was me (and my soil wasn't frozen!), I'd work some in now and cover with a nice leaf mulch. I'd uses about 1-2 inches of the manure worked into the top 4-6 inches of the garden. I'm going to guess that you will get some weed seeds from that product so be prepared.

Good luck

Lloyd

    Bookmark   November 24, 2010 at 10:52PM
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Lloyd

Having said that (comma), I work with a lot of elderly lady gardeners from time to time.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2010 at 10:53PM
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tgary(5)

Sara,
Your h. manure certainly looks like it has some age to it. I would till it in as soon as convenient.

Goren and I have two widely different opinions.The procedure I use has given me good results over more years than I care to mention. Goren probably can say he gets good results doing just the opposite. Life is great.

I would stockpile more of that material.
Good luck, Gary

    Bookmark   November 25, 2010 at 4:10AM
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alphonse(6)

"I am posting a picture of the manure here. What do you think, is this well aged manure?"

It is now compost. Best to use soon, before weeds move in.
I don't apply raw manure to plantings, but never worry about "burning" plants with HORSE manure, especially if it has been outside several days. The nitrogen, primarily in the urine, outgasses quickly.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2010 at 5:32AM
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tkhooper(7)

different plants like different soils. So first consideration before adding anything to the soil is what does the plant want? What do you currently have and then what should be added and how.

If that horse manure is one year old or older it's compost and add accordingly. If it is still turd like add it to your compost and use it next year.

That's how I do it anyway. Just a suggestion nothing to get your knickers in a twist about.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2010 at 9:48AM
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Lloyd

"It is now compost."

"If that horse manure is one year old or older it's compost..."

While I understand the sentiment behind these statements, under the NOP guidelines, the manure is not technically compost. If, I say again if, a person is attempting to grow to the organics standards they would be in violation of the rules.

For a persons own personal use, it would be up to them what they consider safe and prudent.

Lloyd

    Bookmark   November 25, 2010 at 10:33AM
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gardengal48

""To give it more time to finish composting".
Gads, that is an invite to use manure when it should be left where it is and not foul up a foodstuff garden.
If you are going to use such for a vegetable garden surely you will advise guests before they eat their greens where it came from."

Gosh, it always amazes me the amount of misinformation that gets bandied about these forums! Manures have been used for years (centuries?) to amend and enrich vegetable gardens and are still one of the recommended sources of nutrients for organic gardeners. Aged manures do not burn plants nor do they tend to be high sources of disease pathogens, which is why the specifics re: the NOP guidelines Lloyd outlined, which refer to raw (read "fresh"), not aged manures. Composted manures are even better but not much to worry about with sufficiently aged material.

And I'd not worry too much about soil type, either. Few soils will not recognize benefits from the application of any type of organic matter, including aged or composted manures.

Now is an ideal time to apply in anticipation of spring planting but otherwise follow the guidelines Lloyd outlines if you choose to use later.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2010 at 11:06AM
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alphonse(6)

"If, I say again if, a person is attempting to grow to the organics standards they would be in violation of the rules."

Yep. But by the definitions generally used here (this forum) it sure looks like organic matter broken down to the point of having constituents being unrecognisable. From the picture, I'd say it's been through at least one heat and contains no wood; pretty balanced C/N. If it does contain wood it is VERY aged, more than a year.

If you aren't strictly NOP, that material is good to go- assuming the OP is indeed in Philly, it's too late to plant almost anything edible outdoors except alliums. So meeting the NOP 120 day stricture shouldn't be an issue, barring them.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2010 at 11:18AM
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Lloyd

I hear ya alphonse.

One problem with "forum definitions" is that some of them have absolutely no facts to back them up. 'No worms equals bad soil' comes to mind. This is one reason why I try to give the NOP guidelines as a caveat to anything dealing with manures. I didn't make these up and I'm willing to bet a cup of coffee that they are safer than what is actually required but they are the rules.

I think most people can make their own decisions once given the complete picture. I have no issue with people doing whatever they want for themselves, but giving advice on a forum gets into a grey area when it is contrary to rules without stating what the rules are and where they come from (making up ones own rules doesn't count). We (forum members) ought to have an obligation to say "here are the rules but I choose not to follow them for such and such reason". Doing this, allows readers to either heed or disregard advice given and consider the source for the future.

And certainly not everything has rules. Often there are just 'BMPs' or 'good ideas', but someone has somehow learned what these BMPs are so I for one would like to know what they are if I am making decisions.

Lloyd

    Bookmark   November 25, 2010 at 11:55AM
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oregonwoodsmoke(5 OR Sunset 1A)

That manure looks really lovely and very well aged. I suggest you take advantage of the opportunity and grab up as much of it as you can get.

I'd put a generous amount on my garden right now and let it sit over the winter. I don't till, but if you till, turn a whole great big bunch of it into the soil.

If you simply spread it over the top, it will still eventually incorporate itself into the top soil and improve the condition of your soil.

Is goren worried about germs from well aged manure? I certainly don't, but then, I always wash my produce before serving it. I also keep the fruit and veggies up off the ground while they are growing (except the root vegetables, of course).

There is precious little that a human can contract from a horse, by way of manure. We just don't have that many diseases in common. There might possibly be tetanus germs in manure, but you can't get tetanus by eating the germs. Maybe you could get ascarids, but no horse over the age of 1 year has ascarids (they become immune), so the manure would have to be from young colts to possibly contain ascarid eggs.

E coli? Wash the veggies before eating if they have been in direct contact with the manure. Seriously, has anyone ever in the history of the world gotten e coli from their own veggies that they grew in their own garden? As long as you don't have cheap labor pissing on the crops and not washing their hands as they harvest, it should not be a problem.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2010 at 11:11PM
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sara_in_philly

Thank you all for your comments! What a lively discussion! Even though there are some different opinions, but for my case the action is almost the same. I think the manure has been there for more than year, so I will put it in my veggie bed as soon as possible. Now, if only I can figure out how I can move all that manure into my yard...

    Bookmark   November 27, 2010 at 7:33PM
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eaglesgarden(6b - se PA)

Sara,

I'm not far from Philly (in DELCO). If you don't mind, would you mind sending along the information regarding where you found that lovely stuff?! I'd love to get my hands on some Horse (or any other herbivore) manure, but the wife doesn't think that livestock would go over well here in suburbia!

Any help would be appreciated. Thanks Sara.

BTW, thanks to all who posted above. It would seem that some on here still don't understand the basics of how the decomposition and compost process actually works. While FRESH manure can be a problem in the garden, aged manure is a great BENEFIT! That manure is aged and now is the perfect time to add that (incorporated - tilled) into the top layer of the soil (especially before the ground has a chance to freeze - there was a hard frost in my area this morning). Manure is an excellent addition to any soil, because not only does it act as OM to help with water retention and drainage, it also acts as a slow release BALANCED fertilizer. Aged manure and composted manure from herbivores are some of the best amendments available to put into the garden. The only all-purpose material that I think would be better is vermicompost (worm poo). But don't worry, adding OM to your garden will attract more worms. ;^)

Lloyd, you nailed the proper way to incorporate that material into the soil. (Stick around long enough, and you will end up a gardener!) Nice touch on the layer of leaves over the top of the tilled soil! (Note to Sara, be sure to moisten the leaves as you lay them on top - about 2 inches deep should be sufficient otherwise they will just blow away.)

    Bookmark   November 28, 2010 at 8:53AM
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jolj(7b/8a)

I am lost, you say you want to get away from the Government, back to the land. Yet you talk of red tape, rule made by people who may never been on a farm.
The photo I saw is compost & it never takes a year to compost anything with at least 0.7 % nitrogen in it. I would never put raw manure in my garden, but I know people who have done it for years & the whole family is fine. I told him what "they" say about green/raw manure that is not composted. He lol & reminded me that he had given vegetables away to me & other for years with out a problem.
I mean to say the pile in photo is fine & should be cut in the garden or put in the beds. I would mix it with other compost to balance it & never look back.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2010 at 9:58PM
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jolj(7b/8a)

I have reread my post above.
The first two lines sound, well rude.
Sorry guys/gals, I must have drink to much pickle juice.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2010 at 11:23AM
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