Manure

 

Yes it stinks! But for farmers, beginners and old timers alike, there is no sweeter smell than the aroma of manure being applied and added to the soil to bring out the very best of the garden. Adding manure to the garden will help build the soils carbon compounds that is important in the buildup of the soil structure. A soil rich in organic compounds will give the gardener a healthy, big, and bountiful crops that will make every gardener proud.

Here are 5 Tips On How Manure Can Greatly Help Your Garden

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source: universityherald

1. What kind is best to use?

There are many different kinds of animal manure that is good for the soil. Horses, cows, sheep, goats, rabbits, and chicken manure are all tried and proven tested that when applied will bring out the best in the soil. Never use pigs, cats, dogs, and human manure in your garden because the parasites and diseases that are in these types of manure can easily transfer to humans.

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Manure from zoo and farm animals are very helpful for your organic garden. These animals eat a plant-based diet that is why their manure can help your garden grow by improving the soil, by encouraging the growth of beneficial insects, worms, and other organisms.

When adding animal manure to your garden, you should consider some factors such as:

–          Which animal produces the best manure?

–          Which is better fresh manure or composted manure?

–          How to apply animal manure in your garden?

–          When to apply animal manure in your garden?

Animal manure can:

  • Improve the structure of your garden soil.
  • Improve the drainage of clay soil.
  • Reduce soil erosion
  • Release nutrients such as nitrogen slowly.
  • Help sandy soil hold water.

Which is better: raw manure or composted manure?

It is better to compost manure and use it as a fertilizer, than spreading fresh manure all over your garden. Compostmanure with a temperature of 131 °F for at least 15 days. Don’t forget to turn your compost pile every few days, so that all bits of animal manure are composted.

Composting animal manure will:

  • Kill E. coli and other harmful pathogens.
  • Reduce odor
  • Dilute ammonia that is harmful to your plants

Putting raw manure in or on your garden soil can destroy your plants. Raw manure contains highly soluble nitrogen compounds and ammonia which can burn the roots of your plants. Spreading raw manure in your garden can cause serious weed problems, because raw manure is filled with weed seeds.

Choosing the best animal manure

  • Sheep manure has more potassium than horse manure.
  • Turkey manure is a good source for nitrogen. It contains more nitrogen than the cow manure.
  • You can also use rabbit manure, it breaks down quickly and it is not harmful to your plants.
  • You can also use alpaca manure. Alpaca manure is a good source for nitrogen and potassium.

Make sure to test the pH of your soil first before choosing manure, so that you will know what nutrients your soil needs.

Animal manure that you can use:

  • Chicken manure
  • Cow manure
  • Duck manure
  • Horse manure
  • Pig manure
  • Rabbit manure
  • Sheep manure
  • Steer manure

Do not use manure from cats and dogs, because their manure contains pathogens that are dangerous to human health.

Manure application (points to remember):

  • Apply fresh manure in the fall, for spring gardening
  • Do not apply manure 120 days before harvesting root crops, leafy veggies or other crops that have direct soil contact
  • Do not apply manure 90 days before harvesting crops without direct soil contact i.e. upward growing vines such as cukes and beans
  • Do not use manure as a sidedress to growing plants to avoid the risk of passing pathogens to the growing crop.

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Image credit: hardworkinghippy via Creative Commons