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Composting with manure for garden??

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  • Composting with manure for garden??

    Hi all,

    My boyfriend has become obsessed with our garden and recently purchased a tumbling composter. So far we have maple leaves in there along with some dirt.

    He wants me to bring home horse manure in a bucket (I rough board).

    Any ideas on composting? How long will it take for the manure etc. to break down and become useable?


  • #2
    You can use it fresh if you choose but for it to compost entirely could take up to a year. Alot depends on climate, temp, moisture, turning it, lot of variables.
    Quality doesn\'t cost it pays.


    • #3
      Google is your friend. Lots of hits on that very question!
      Randee Beckman ~Otteridge Farm, LLC (http://on.fb.me/1iJEqvR)~ Marketing Manager - The Clothes Horse & Jennifer Oliver Equine Insurance Specialist


      • #4
        Fresh manure can be tossed right in with many things out there. The downfall to that is if there are any weed/grass seeds still intact, they will grow, unless you're burying the stuff. So the "year" deal is not exactly necessary or accurate. After a year, if the compost never reaches a high enough temperature to kill seeds, you still have viable seeds. If properly managed, a compost pile can heat up VERY quickly and get very hot, and kill seeds in short order.
        The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


        • #5
          My manure cooks down to compost in about 2-3 months during the summer, IF I keep after it: turning it 1-2x weekly, keeping it moist if necessary. If it's just left to sit, it just rots on the inside and stinks on the outside.

          Adding a bit of manure to a garden composter is probably a great idea, but you should also make sure there's some bedding or other sources of carbon mixed in to offset the nitrogenous manure. Leaves, grass clippings, etc. are all fine. Keep turning, keep it moist, and it will let you know by the temperature and smell if all is happy in there.
          Click here before you buy.


          • #6
            Composting is a science. You don't want to end up with a load of firefang. Useless.

            Your extension will probably have links or free information on composting - try searching the extension site or google - lots of composting info out there.
            Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
            Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
            -Rudyard Kipling


            • #7
              as I recall, the tumble composters get a turn each day, right.

              Part of the compost science is air, turning airates the mix. Second is heat.

              Horse manure certainly does generate that! (btw, do not let BF research old gardening techniques a la Montichello! )

              throw in a bucket of horse manure, it should get nice and hot, killing plenty of seeds (which are btw more resilient than one would imagine). It should not take but a few weeks to get everything ready, oh, and remember to keep the mix moist....

              Compost is science, but it also happens. Experiment, research and know what your plants need (beans vs corn for example)


              • Original Poster

                Thanks for the help! We do have a tumbling compost bin so that should make it easier to aerate the mix.

                Right now we have about 30% manure and 70% leaves in there so the mix should be pretty good?

                Thanks again. Off to Google further info!


                • #9
                  don't forget your tealeaves and coffee grounds can go in as well. veggie peels and even food scraps minus meat and bones, or egg shells, and paper (in smaller amounds) and wood ashes.


                  • #10
                    Don't forget some small amount of grass clippings too The more variety, the better.

                    To speed things up, chop up any larger veggies or fruit (keep fruit low, the acidity isn't necessarily desirable) into smaller pieces before tossing in there - helps speed up decomp.
                    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


                    • #11
                      Good Greens for Your Compost
                      • Fruit scraps
                      • Vegetable scraps
                      • Eggshells
                      • Coffee grounds
                      • Grass and plant clippings

                      Good Browns for Your Compost
                      • Dry leaves
                      • Finely chopped wood and bark chips
                      • Shredded newspaper
                      • Straw
                      • Sawdust from untreated wood

                      Bad for Your Compost
                      • Anything containing meat, oil, fat, grease
                      • Diseased plant materials
                      • Sawdust or chips from pressure-treated wood
                      • Dog or cat feces
                      • Weeds that go to seed
                      • Dairy products
                      Randee Beckman ~Otteridge Farm, LLC (http://on.fb.me/1iJEqvR)~ Marketing Manager - The Clothes Horse & Jennifer Oliver Equine Insurance Specialist


                      • #12
                        You can put a leeeetle bit of dairy in without harm. But we're talking about the last scrap of egg that didn't get eaten, not the whole bad carton of eggs. The last dribble of milk, not half a gallon. The last bit of cheese from the last few bites of sandwich, not the whole bad block.

                        Something else to consider - not entirely OT, and more belongs with the gardening threads than composting, but...

                        When you DO have large amounts of milk that has gone bad, instead of pouring it down the drain, pour it in the soil where you have or will have tomatoes. The extra calcium can be all it takes to prevent blossom rot. I haven't had any of that since I started doing this.
                        The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


                        • #13
                          Eggs are dairy?
                          Click here before you buy.


                          • #14
                            I don't know about tumbling composters, but I can tell you that we added some "aged" horse manure to our garden last year and had FABULOUS veggies. I just brought some of the old stuff home from the barn. It had been sitting there probably 6 months or more. We mixed it in with our existing soil (primarily clay based). It did a great job for us.

                            I think the concern with fresh horse manure is typically the urine factor. Too fresh, and the acid from the urine won't allow your stuff to grow. Hence the aging requirements. I know that doesn't exactly answer your question, but I hope you have a great veggie garden!


                            • #15
                              I just gave away another 1200 pounds of compost today. Hooray for Freecycle and Craigslist!
                              Click here before you buy.


                              • #16
                                ..well, Delta, eggs come from the dairy case, so they must be dairy, right?

                                Compost is my favorite subject, I just love the stuff and never get over the fact that the miracle of biodegrading makes such a lot of vegetable matter disappear into such a little amount of compost. Keeps a lot of stuff out of the landfill. I love seeing a worm knot! Seems so earthy.
                                Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique


                                • #17
                                  I admit that there are days when turning the manure pile is on the highlight list. Which maybe says more about some days than about the manure pile. I agree that watching bacteria at work is pretty awe-inspiring in general.
                                  Click here before you buy.


                                  • #18
                                    In order to make compost quickly, the carbon:nitrogen ratio needs to be around 30:1. From what I remember, horse manure comes out of the horse at about that ratio. Adding straight manure to leaves would be a little high on carbon and low on nitrogen. Add lots of veggie scraps and lawn clippings and water, turn daily and you should be able to make compost very quickly.

                                    Compost needs to maintain a temp. of 140 for a number of days for it to kill weed seeds and pathogens.

                                    Basically, microbes are doing all of the work. The work is digesting the carbon and making compost. In order for them to do all of this work, they need food (nitrogen), water and air. So, the proper balance of carbon to nitrogen allows them to keep working 24/7, so they can break down the carbon (leaves, sawdust, straw, etc) into compost. Water keeps them hydrated and turning the compost gives them air. When you maintain food, water and air sources, the microbes are happy and keep working. If you don't, the microbes go on strike until they get the right working conditions and then they go back to work.
                                    Alison Howard
                                    Homestead Farms, Maryland www.freshorganicvegetables.com