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Using Manure in the Garden

Category Fertilizer
Well rotted manure is an excellent compost addition, soil builder and fertilizer. This guide is about using manure in the garden.


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January 30, 2014

If you live near a horse or cow pasture, you live near a fertilizer "factory." My husband and I have, in the past, gathered several piles of horse manure from a field behind our house. We would just put wheelbarrow load after wheelbarrow load into two big piles under a tree, put a few worms that were dug up with one of the piles in them, and let them do the work.

My mother had told me that it was the way that her family did it, using the two work horses' manure to fertilize gardens and trees. We let dead leaves fall into it during fall and winter, sometimes contributing food scraps. By spring, we had nice, labor-free fertilizer for our pecan trees and tomatoes.

Source: My mother, who grew up on a farm during the Depression

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

By 0 found this helpful
June 8, 2010

How do you make poop pods out of horse or cow manure to fertilize a garden or flower beds? The ingredients are mixed together and placed in a ceramic mold to dry and placed in garden, but what are all the ingredients that are mixed? When it rains the garden is fertilized that way.


Hardiness Zone: 6a

By Pat Rebuck from PA


June 11, 20100 found this helpful

I never heard of anyone putting it in molds. My dad used horse manure this year on his garden and its going crazy, everything is getting huge. Make sure the manure your using is dried and just crumble it up and till it into the soil.

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June 12, 20100 found this helpful

Crumbled old poop is what you want. You can't use every poop on every garden. Know how much you can. Sheep is a universal. Cow/etc have their place. Just amount varies not to burn your garden. We had gone out to an old farm site of sheep and gotten old, old stuff, was wonderful. It is hard to find sheep poop at the garden centers. Mennard's happened to have it this year and I got.

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By 0 found this helpful
March 29, 2010

I have access to chicken, horse, and cow manure. What is the best way to add manure to a garden getting it ready for Spring planting?

Hardiness Zone: 8a


By Cheryl from Phenix City AL


March 29, 20100 found this helpful

Is the manure fresh? I'd say the best way to add it would be to let it compost first for a few months. Manure that's too fresh can "burn" plants because it's strong. Chicken manure is great, though, because of all the nitrogen it contains, and all three are great fertilizers when composted, so you've definitely got a good source of "black gold."

If you want to add some now, incorporating a *little* into the soil would be one way, making sure it's mixed well so the roots won't run into a clump of pure manure. Another way, if you have established plants already, would be to add a *very* small amount to the surface and let rainwater slowly percolate it down through the soil to the roots.


I managed to kill a newly planted apple tree many years ago by thinking I was helping it by adding a nice thick dressing of fresh horse manure. Uh, no. That was a mistake, as I later learned.

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April 2, 20100 found this helpful

I used to feed my garden a manure cocktail every fall and again in the spring. What I would do is make a slurry of the solids with water in a big plastic tub and pour it over the garden. In the spring this was done when the soil could be worked but before plants were coming up, and never over seeds. It was roughly about 1/3 manure to 2/3 water. Mmmm good! I think it's why I have a good earthworm population now. Best and easiest is if you let it decompose in a compost pile. Let it rot a little so it won't burn your plants, or alienate your neighbors.

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July 6, 20170 found this helpful

If you have farms nearby, it may be easy to find free manure. This is a guide about finding free manure.

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If the cow manure is fresh it is considered hot, as it is still releasing nitrogen and ammonia that can damage plant roots. To cure, it needs to be hot composted for 6 months. This is a guide about curing cow manure.

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