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Using horse manure in gardens/flower beds

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  • Using horse manure in gardens/flower beds

    How do you use horse manure in your garden or flower bed? How long do you compost it for, or do you use fresh manure anywhere? Do you use manure that has been mixed with bedding?
    Why must you chastise my brilliant idea with facts and logic? **picks up toys (and wine) and goes home**

  • #2
    I have made the mistake of using fresh vs composted-NOT GOOD! Burns plants, weedy. Not sure how long it takes to compost, and would think it depends on temps, etc. But use it when it looks more like good black, rich dirt, and even then, I would probably add some lime to it. (unless you lime your stalls and there is already some in it)
    "The only easy day was yesterday" USN SEALs
    courtesy of LCDR K.R.W, USN (ret) RIP, 4/10/09


    • #3
      Originally posted by saultgirl View Post
      How do you use horse manure in your garden or flower bed? How long do you compost it for, or do you use fresh manure anywhere? Do you use manure that has been mixed with bedding?
      I just dump it on, but I pile it up and let it compost where I put it. I don't make a thin layer. It's probably at least 6-12 inches deep and then I keep an eye on it and add more if it seems the weeds are poking up. If it's too weedy, I add a layer of newspaper, a layer of bedding/poo, a layer of newpaper, a layer of bedding/poo etc. The newspaper blocks the sunlight and it will keep moisture in which draws worms up to work the manure. My green manure breaks down .really. fast so generally I'm adding to it every week.


      • #4
        We compost ours a year to kill weed seeds. This also breaks down the hay that is inevitably mixed in and makes it less stringy.

        As for burning plants... I sort of think that as long as you don't pile fresh manure up against the stems (but instead mix it into the soil, and I'm talking straight picked piles, not mix) you wouldn't have a problem. I wouldn't mulch a bed with uncomposted mix (manure, urine, bedding) because #1, the composting of the mix would create heat, and #2 the urine content (ammonia) would burn the stems.


        • #5
          if you need to have a place for fresh manure, you need to do "sandwich " composting........you can put it in an area that you plan on using for a garden or flowerbed NEXT year, but doesn;t currently have plants.........yes, fresh manure will burn everything.....

          have to layer with dried leaves or shredded paper, some grass clipping, manure, some regular dirt/topsoil(not much)...several layers of all this, moisten, and let sit til next yr.....

          OR........have a HOT compost, with pretty much same ingredients, but you just keep turning it several times a week....manure will break down much faster.......i think it may be as quickly as 3 months til usable.......


          • #6
            PS. I don't add it to plants that are not well established. New plantings get already composted manure. My garden is very utilitarian, if the plants can't handle this, they die and are replaced by more hardy selections. My gardens have to withstand a lot....I have 7 dogs that run through them, over the plants and 3 are boys who pee on them too so they have to be tough.


            • #7
              Another use if you absolutely must use fresh manure is to make "manure tea" by dropping the fresh ones in a large bucket of water and using that to water your plants.

              You'd need a lot of plants to use up the tea you could make from one horse's daily offerings though.

              Formula for Horse Manure Tea for Plants from Garden Guides.
              "If you would have only one day to live, you should spend at least half of it in the saddle."


              • #8

                I use composted manure - complete w/hay,shavings & etc - on the current plantings. Both on flowerbeds and in the veggie garden as top-dressing and added to amend the soil I plant new stuff in.

                My compost pile never gets turned except in Spring when I dig through the top layer to get at the good stuff underneath.

                In Fall, after things have stopped blooming and died back, I dump stall cleanings fresh from the wheelbarrow on top of the beds to compost over Winter.
                In Spring I just till it in and plant.
                *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
                Steppin' Out 1988-2004
                Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
                Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015


                • #9
                  He he he, they are arguing over the chemical makeup of horse manure on the garden forums.
                  "If you would have only one day to live, you should spend at least half of it in the saddle."


                  • #10
                    I compost in a composter spinner, but then I have a small garden and only bring home from the barn what manure I need for the garden. I add "brown" material to it (dried leaves; straw, etc), wet it down, spin it several times a week and get great compost in about 4-5 months in the winter and closer to 2-3 months in the summer when it heats up better.

                    Clearly, this is a small scale operation and I end up with maybe 1 cubic yard of compost per load.


                    • #11
                      Accidental "green" farming

                      We are hardly poster children for the "green" movement but we have accidentally become quite the recyclers now that we have our own small farm.

                      My gardening/newbie farmer Hubby has created a gourmet vegetable garden (hoping to sell vegetables this year) by contour farming our old round pen which was going unused and had the best sun.

                      He daily turns the manure pile and we are now forbidden to throw any table scraps or peelings into the trash as he adds it to the pile. He is also including the very tiny shredded paper he gets from work at the hospital where they shred all the sensitive patient documents and adds that to the pile to help cut the harshness of the manure, but he adds the mix to the garden fairly quickly--long before it turns into black earth and so far the veggies are going strong. He is also using more fresh manure to grow mushrooms which I suppose dont need to be coddled quite as much as vegetables or flowers.

                      (I'm just relieved the manure pile now isn't just a successful fly breeding operation which it has been in previous years so the whole composting thing really does help with that aspect too.)


                      • #12
                        I use both fresh and aged manure (black gold). Planting direct sow corn and winter squash into fresh manure has always yielded us great crops--acorns 10lbs and up, pumpkins that were giant sized, and beautiful corn. We do not seperate manure from Pine shavings as those are great for the garden. I am always shocked when I hear "you can't use fresh manure" We do all the time!
                        I LOVE my Chickens!


                        • #13
                          We do not seperate manure from Pine shavings as those are great for the garden.
                          We live in an area with high acid soil and have to compensate for the extra acidity in the shavings. Around here, if you use straw bedding, mushroom farmers will come from out of state to haul off your excess for free but not if you have shavings.

                          Lime is our friend.
                          "If you would have only one day to live, you should spend at least half of it in the saddle."


                          • #14
                            We made a couple new flower beds a few years ago by adding half-composted manure to the clayish soil that was already there. We did it late in the year so nothing was really expected to grow that season. If I were going to do it again, I'd add more manure and I'd really till it in, rather than mixing by hand. I'd also try harder to take it from a part of the pile that didn't have so many weeds growing on it!


                            • #15
                              By the time it's done composting (8 months or more) I can't tell which pile is soil and which pile is compost any more.
                              Click here before you buy.


                              • #16
                                I do "lasagna" gardening much as Tallyho mentioned. I put down a layer of newspapers or cardboard, then manure (fresh with shavings), layer of newspaper, poop, repeat. I add my kitchen waste (no meat or grease of course) and plant clippings and it composts. It breaks down nicely and then I double dig for my planting. I have a beautiful veggie garden this year. I've done this around trees also being careful not to get too close to the trunk. The hard part is waiting until it's "cooked". I have also filled in low spots (which everyone will tell you not to do) with the manure and shavings, but I cover it with soil once it breaks down and it works fine.
                                Groom to trainer: "Where's the glamour? You promised me glamour!"


                                • #17
                                  mmmmm... manure tea. I will be thinking about that all day.