Using manures?


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Happy new year everyone!

Can someone please explain to me how the use of manures apply in the garden?

I understand the concept of your traditional compost. However I’m having a hard time getting my head around do use of manures. I see a lot of people use manures to soil prior to planting, however this is the only concept I understand.

Are (composted) manures and traditional compost interchangeable? Especially when it comes to mixing in with potting mix for container plants?

Also, what is the difference between the different animal manures?

I have a bag of store bought cow manure which I believe is mixed with other compost ingredients (see picture below). Can I use this in the same way as traditional compost ? Is it safe to use in the garden with potting mix and as a top dressing?

Any advice or discussion points are appreciated!
 

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I have used various manures from time to time when I could get it free. Horse, cow and sheep if I remember correctly. I would let it sit for a summer and add it when I tilled the garden in the fall.

IMG_0240.jpg


Apparently, horse manure gets more weeds than cow manure, as the cows chew and digest the feed more. I get a lot of weeds regardless. I am experiment this next year with some planters and raised beds, so I bought some cow and sheep manure in bags on sale at the end of the season. Hopefully, it is weed free.
 
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I am told chicken manure can be very strong and 'burn' plants, though I don't have personal experience of it
Pig manure can contain a lot of thistle seed, that I do have experience of.
 

Meadowlark

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To understand the value of manure, one needs only to take a walk in one of my pastures. Observe the rich, deep green growth immediately around droppings.

Because of its availability and price (free) I use a good bit of composted cow manure, but I generally use it only in soil preparation in advance of planting.

In my experience, chicken manure is the highest in N2 and balanced rich nutrients. Again, I use it only well in advance of planting. All animal manures should be well composted and come from a trusted source to avoid contamination of unwanted chemicals.

The very best, by far, is green manure...not animal. No risk of unwanted chemicals, no burning, and unequaled soil building. Its easy to grow yourself. My "go to" choices for green manure are alfalfa, field peas, and Elbon rye. Other good sources include clovers, vetch, and cereal grains.

I like to use general compost as a supplement during the actual growing process as well as liquid fish fertilizers. I find these very effective and safe and provide a good boost to plants in well prepared soils. Together, green manure and fish emulsion, provide more than 95% of my garden fertilizer needs.
 
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All animal manures should be well composted and come from a trusted source to avoid contamination of unwanted chemicals.
Yes, I have read about this elsewhere on the forum, weedkillers used on hay crops which are not broken down and carry through to the manure , I believe. It has worried me some, I have always used whatever is available and there are a few horse owners around here. I would not expect them to question the origins of hay, but I also wonder if the stuff is licensed in this country?
 

Meadowlark

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Yes, I have read about this elsewhere on the forum, weedkillers used on hay crops which are not broken down and carry through to the manure , I believe. It has worried me some, I have always used whatever is available and there are a few horse owners around here. I would not expect them to question the origins of hay, but I also wonder if the stuff is licensed in this country?
The herbicides of greatest concern contain picloram, clopyralid, and/or aminopyralid because they can remain active in hay, grass clippings, piles of manure and compost for up to three or four years. Commercial products such as Tordon, Graze-on, 2,4-D are examples of products containing them.
 
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Thanks meadowlark, knowing what to look for I could look them up. Seems like I have to look out for them, because they pass through mammals without breaking down they don't do them any harm (probably). That makes them okay, the fact that they can decimate my garden because they don't break down counts for nothing ):

There is a good technique on an allotment site which suggests making up three pots of compost, one with the questionable one, the other two controls with known good compost, then plant beans in them.
If the beans in the suspect sample succumb use the compost on the lawn, to grow grass based crops like sweetcorn, or just stack it up for two or three years after which they will probably decompose.
 
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I have used various manures from time to time when I could get it free. Horse, cow and sheep if I remember correctly. I would let it sit for a summer and add it when I tilled the garden in the fall.

View attachment 86901

Apparently, horse manure gets more weeds than cow manure, as the cows chew and digest the feed more. I get a lot of weeds regardless. I am experiment this next year with some planters and raised beds, so I bought some cow and sheep manure in bags on sale at the end of the season. Hopefully, it is weed free.
Thank you for the advice. I bought a bag of “composted manure” from the garden centre. It looks like its been aged already and mixed with other compost ingredients. But I’m not sure if the manure has actually decomposed fully, there’s still some big clumps in there (sorry if this is TMI!). So is this store bought manure compost safe for immediate use now on plants? Or is it recommended that I let it sit some more?
 
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To understand the value of manure, one needs only to take a walk in one of my pastures. Observe the rich, deep green growth immediately around droppings.

Because of its availability and price (free) I use a good bit of composted cow manure, but I generally use it only in soil preparation in advance of planting.

In my experience, chicken manure is the highest in N2 and balanced rich nutrients. Again, I use it only well in advance of planting. All animal manures should be well composted and come from a trusted source to avoid contamination of unwanted chemicals.

The very best, by far, is green manure...not animal. No risk of unwanted chemicals, no burning, and unequaled soil building. Its easy to grow yourself. My "go to" choices for green manure are alfalfa, field peas, and Elbon rye. Other good sources include clovers, vetch, and cereal grains.

I like to use general compost as a supplement during the actual growing process as well as liquid fish fertilizers. I find these very effective and safe and provide a good boost to plants in well prepared soils. Together, green manure and fish emulsion, provide more than 95% of my garden fertilizer needs.
Thank you, it does appear Green Manures are quiet easy to implement in my garden.

Sorry for my ignorance, but what are field peas? Are they different to the type of pea you would typically see in a garden (dwarf peas, snow peas etc)?

Thank you
 
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Thanks meadowlark, knowing what to look for I could look them up. Seems like I have to look out for them, because they pass through mammals without breaking down they don't do them any harm (probably). That makes them okay, the fact that they can decimate my garden because they don't break down counts for nothing ):

There is a good technique on an allotment site which suggests making up three pots of compost, one with the questionable one, the other two controls with known good compost, then plant beans in them.
If the beans in the suspect sample succumb use the compost on the lawn, to grow grass based crops like sweetcorn, or just stack it up for two or three years after which they will probably decompose.
Thanks for the advice. I can definitely try the 3 pots experiment.
I didn’t know corn was a grass based crop. just wanted to clarify what you mean by using the compost on the lawn? So plant sweet corn on the lawn itself?

In relation to horse manures and potential contamination, most of the garden centres here in Oz dont sell horse manure, but they do sell the other animal manures.
 
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Meadowlark

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Thank you, it does appear Green Manures are quiet easy to implement in my garden.

Sorry for my ignorance, but what are field peas? Are they different to the type of pea you would typically see in a garden (dwarf peas, snow peas etc)?

Thank you
I use that term collectively to describe the family sometimes called cow peas which includes black-eyes (a New Year's Day tradition in USA) , crowder, zipper, cream, purple hull, etc. etc.

They are delicious and we do consume and store some but the main use I make of them is as a soil conditioner. They are a legume N2 fixing and when planted densely form a cover which virtually eliminates weeds.

cover peas 2019.JPG


Rather than harvest, I shred them with a mower adding tons of green manure to the soil.
peas second generation.JPG



The beauty of this approach is that they will then regenerate from seed and the cycle starts all over again. I've done up to four generations of grow, shred, regenerate in one growing season with only the initial seeding.

One can only imagine the N2 added to the soil as well as other valuable nutrients. It is an invaluable rotational crop and an important part of my gardening program.
 
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Any bagged store bought manure should be fully aged and ready to use. It should say that on the bag somewhere.
I bought 27 bags of black kow (1 yard) and tilled it in. It nuked burned my garden. the symptoms were the stairstepped leaf of aminopyralids. Turns out those chems take about 5 years or so to oxidize away.
 
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Happy new year everyone!

Can someone please explain to me how the use of manures apply in the garden?

I understand the concept of your traditional compost. However I’m having a hard time getting my head around do use of manures. I see a lot of people use manures to soil prior to planting, however this is the only concept I understand.

Are (composted) manures and traditional compost interchangeable? Especially when it comes to mixing in with potting mix for container plants?

Also, what is the difference between the different animal manures?

I have a bag of store bought cow manure which I believe is mixed with other compost ingredients (see picture below). Can I use this in the same way as traditional compost ? Is it safe to use in the garden with potting mix and as a top dressing?

Any advice or discussion points are appreciated!
So what nobody is mentioning is the amino acids that come from the breakdown of proteins. Elbon rye, high protein. Alfalfa, high protein. You cannot run on sugars (carbon) alone. Soy bean meal is crazy high protein. A number of 5-6% (it varies) of the protein is nitrogen. The biodome uses amino acids to build their bodies, just to broaden the context a little. Manures, high proteins. Those animals need proteins to grow their bodies and some are quite large. A fertilizer made of bacteria bodies like milorganite has the same idea. Heavy metals,yes, but same idea. Ever heard of the three sisters and burying a fish? Same idea. of course all the other bits are there, but without proteins it does not have the kick like a pile of manure will. Grass in compost will not shoot up as fast as grass in manure compost. Plants use amino acids to make chlorophyll so thats a simple way to look at it really. Or you could dive deeper like this google snippet:

"The role played by accumulated amino acids in plants varies from acting as osmolyte, regulation of ion transport, modulating stomatal opening, and detoxification of heavy metals. Amino acids also affect synthesis and activity of some enzymes, gene expression, and redox-homeostasis."

So yeah, I am in the camp of composting animals, but then thats not for my garden because E-coli and some other nasties. But for everything else, bring it on. The manures can run a third or more protein as a percentage, with all those tasty trace minerals to boot.
 
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Thanks for the advice. I can definitely try the 3 pots experiment.
I didn’t know corn was a grass based crop. just wanted to clarify what you mean by using the compost on the lawn? So plant sweet corn on the lawn itself?

In relation to horse manures and potential contamination, most of the garden centres here in Oz dont sell horse manure, but they do sell the other animal manures.
I don't go out and buy things if I can help it, I use what I can get for free. This is the Home Counties, a lot of rich people with horses who don't know what to do with what is shoveled out of the stable, or can't be bothered, and are only too pleased if some old boy turns up with a few plastic sacks. The other source of free stuff in quantity round here is hop shoddy, the hop bines are shredded in large machines and which spit hops out one side and shredded leaves the other. Of course farmers will put it back onto the land, but it is worth the good will to them to let gardeners come along and have a wheelbarrow full, they have a mountain of it.

Regarding 'putting it on the lawn', I was thinking of raking it in as a fertiliser for the lawn rather than growing the corn there. The trouble then of course is that you couldn't use the lawn clippings in your compost heap, on the other hand it would free you of lawn weeds.
 

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