As an excellent source of nutrients for soil and plants, manure is mostly used by gardeners and planters as a fertilizer that keeps plants green and healthy. The benefits of manure compost in the garden is vital for its application. One of the best ways to use manure as a plant fertilizer is by mixing it in with compost. Composting manure eliminates the possibility of burning plants. If you are new in the gardening world, then here are some important steps and things to consider before layering on the manure in your garden.
- Aging your manure – Every professional gardener is going to tell you to use aged manure for the better. You might be confused at the meaning of it. Fresh manure directly from the animal is not going to be beneficial to your plants. As it still holds a strong smell and is still fresh, it can easily burn tender seedlings. Fresh manure is full of weed seeds that will germinate the moment they get some sun and water on them. Beware of the pathogens diseases that are present in the manure as it can potentially contaminate your plants. As professionals say, aging your manure is just letting it rot and break down for at least a year. It will turn smelly and the potential pathogens will be eliminated by then.
- Composting manure – If you don’t want to wait for a year, then composting manure is your choice! Composting manure breaks down faster than aged manure and also eliminates the odor that rises from fresh manure. It is lighter and easier to haul as it has less moisture. It is good to know that composted manure has lower availability of nitrogen and will contribute more to the organic matter content of the soil compared to fresh manure.
- Manure for next year’s garden – Prepping your land without needing to do any hard-work can be done if you have both fresh and composted manure. Figure out where you want to grow your plants and spread out the manure thickly along with a help of carbon leaves such as leaves, straw, and hay. Cover it with a thick black plastic sheeting for at least six months. Fall is the ideal season to do as you will have a bed ready when spring comes.
- What animal manure to use? – Any manure from any animal can be used in the garden, even though there are some that can be more tricky than others. Herbivore manure from horses, cows, rabbits, donkeys or goats can contain pathogens but not as many as the manure from animals that eat meat. If you are willing to use manure from animals that eat meat too such as pigs, it is important to use it with composted manure. Herbivore manure is highly recommended if you are a novice in the gardening world.
Hope this helps in solving your manure problems!