Using manure


DrMike27

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What is the most appropriate way to use manure when preparing new raised beds? Is this something I can use as a substitute for compost?
 
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What is the most appropriate way to use manure when preparing new raised beds? Is this something I can use as a substitute for compost?
Manure is organic matter and so is compost. Decomposed manure in most cases is safe in a garden in an unmixed state. Decomposed chicken manure may be too rich to be used unmixed. It all depends on the manure as to how to best use it. Do not use fresh out of the animal manure unless it is in pellet forms such as from a rabbit or a goat. What type of manure do you have and how old is it?
 

DrMike27

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Horse manure and it’s a few months old. A guy close to me has a stable and just gives it away.
 
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Horse manure and it’s a few months old. A guy close to me has a stable and just gives it away.
It should be OK but, make sure that the hay is safe. Many if not most hay growers use a herbicide on their hayfields called Piclaram. A horse eats the hay and the herbicide stays in the feces. For years. To make sure the manure is not laced with herbicide get a shovel full of the stuff and put it in a 5 gallon bucket of water and let it sit for about 24 hours. Then pour it over a broadleaf weed. If the weed doesn't show any ill effect in 24 hours it is safe. And don't trust what the stable guy says because he probably doesn't grow the hay.

Aged horse manure is safe to use unmixed so you can just fill up your raised beds with it.
 
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Horse manure and it’s a few months old. A guy close to me has a stable and just gives it away.
The guys who pay know what chemicals are on it. Ask them. Other than that its just coliform and unkilled pathogens that uv from sunlight could help with in short order.
 
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The guys who pay know what chemicals are on it. Ask them. Other than that its just coliform and unkilled pathogens that uv from sunlight could help with in short order.
NOTHING kills Piclaram. Its use is wide spread. It lasts for years in the soil. And the OP says he gives it away. Does the hay come from the same place all the time or does it come from different growers? Does the stable guy buy his hay from just one person? @DirtMechanic this is a serious thing and not just for this poster but, for everyone who reads this and uses baled hay. The test is simple and free. I am not saying all hay is sprayed with this chemical but a LOT of it is and to make sure seems to me a good thing. What does he have to lose except his garden?
 
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I was trying to say UV light is your friend and rapidly degrades other pathogens too. I worry about e-coli and so forth getting loose in my patch in addition to chemical issues.

@Chuck the bucket test is a great idea, because of the speed. What makes me nuts is the "occasional" risk of a pulse of weed killer in a compost supply chain. It would be possible to miss it, but testing would reduce the odds greatly. Let me explain.

Sweet Sue loves her two horses and brings them to socialize with Mr Farmers horses to keep them from boredom. She brings special hay for her babies. Not much, maybe two bales as it is just for a short time. Out of all the manure on pasture and in barn, now there can be a few contributions from an outside contaminated source. This visiting happens at my neighbors annually. The small quantity of contaminant then has 2 paths in compost. It gets mixed and thinned or it stays lumped and concentrated. If the compost test is on unmixed compost, test samples could miss the chemical concentration areas.

The only thing I could possible add is to cover the test bucket to prevent radiation from spoiling the test by creating a false negative result. Here is where I get the radiation idea. A bucket is pretty deep and UV wont go far, but it would at least weaken some portion of the chemistry within the bucket. I see uv light exposure as a weakness in a lot of what I read about this and other weed killer chemicals. I had a spot in my garden 2 years ago that made me think spreading and solarizing before tilling was a reasonable practice to help avoid suprises, both biological and chemical. Unfortunately that method takes some room, sun and time.
 
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