Using Manure as Fertilizer

A local riding stable gives away manure for the hauling. How can it be used in the garden?

Although manure is a valuable soil amendment when composted, most riding stables spray their stalls with disinfectants, fly repellents, and other toxic chemicals.

Is cow manure a good fertilizer for a vegetable garden?

Not if maximum production is wanted. It is not too rich in food elements, but is a valuable soil amendment. Allowing it to rot in a compost heap over winter is the best way to prepare it for use.

Is manure worked into the garden this year of any value in future years?

Yes. Like all organic matter, manure becomes humus eventually and will continue to affect soil for years.

How does poultry manure differ from other types?

We are in a broiler production area and can get it for nothing. Unless it is mixed with litter, it does not add much to the organic content of soil: it is of use largely as a source of nitrogen for immediate effect. Mixing it with superphosphate and wood ashes will not only make it more pleasant to handle, but will kill odors and increase its fertilizer value.

Is it necessary to use commercial fertilizer if I use the manure from our 200 hens?

Yes, if you want maximum production. A farm fertilizer such as a 2-10-10 would balance its high nitrogen. Or mix poultry manure with superphosphate and wood ashes; or use muriate of potash instead of wood ashes. The poultry manure should be aged until a strong odor of ammonia disappears before mixing with wood ashes.

We have a kennel and accumulate dog manure. Does it have any value as a fertilizer?

Dog manure, like poultry manure, is high in nitrogen. It should be mixed with litter, compost, and superphosphate before using.

Would dumping cat litter and its manure on the compost pile hurt the compost?

On the contrary, it would improve the finished compost if allowed to age for a few weeks.

Can the contents of a privy be used as compost?

Although there are aesthetic prejudices against such use, one of the famous English fertilizers, Clays, was nothing but artificially dried privy scrapings, used almost with reverence by gardeners up to the time of World War II. If aged for a year and perhaps applied only to soil in which ornamental plants grow, it would be a good use for material which is otherwise a nuisance.

I planted a small vegetable garden of about 2,000 sq. ft. I plant to enrich soil with a compost and dried cow manure this year. How much should be used?

At least 100 lbs. of dried cow manure should be used to 1,000 sq. ft. If you can afford it, triple the amount.

I am no longer able to get barnyard fertilizer for my garden plot. Is there a substitute fertilizer that I can procure?

“Commercial” (dried and ground) cow manure and sheep manure are available in most garden centers. Incorporate green manures, and, in addition, apply a fertilizer recommended for garden use.

Under what conditions can dried manure be used in place of rotted manure?

It is useful as a ingredient in the compost heap or it can be mixed with soil in a flower or vegetable garden.

Can a garden have too much goat manure?

Goat manure is reasonably strong in nitrogen. It should be used in about the same way as described for sheep manure.

Should goat manure and straw be put on frozen ground, or put in compost heap until spring?

Better in compost heap, if mixed with other materials, otherwise, it would be better to spread the manure and straw on the ground. If left in a pile, some leaching will take place, and not on the spot where wanted.

I procured fresh horse manure but find it difficult to keep it from “burning.” Can leaves be mixed with it?

When horse manure is “burned,” it loses most of its nitrogen, but it is still good as a soil conditioner. Mixing peat or leaves or chopped straw with horse manure and keeping it wet will reduce burning.

Will wood shavings harm horse manure?

No. Apply to soil in the fall.

Is horse stable manure harmful to roses and delphiniums?

Much stable manure is treated to control flies and odors. Well composted manure may be safe but test on tomato seedlings first.

Liquid Manure

Is there any fertilizer that can be used as a liquid for the small home garden?

Five teaspoons of a regular 5-10-5, 5-10-10, 7-7-7, or similar grade of complete fertilizer per gallon of water will make a satisfactory liquid fertilizer. Such fertilizers are about 75% soluble. Do not use premium grades of fertilizers containing much organic materials. Apply 1 gal. to 5 sq. ft.

How can you make liquid fertilizer, using chemical ingredients which are cheap to buy?

A liquid fertilizer containing 1 teaspoonful each of saltpeter (potassium nitrate), superphosphate (monocalcium phosphate), and Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) is satisfactory.