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Preparing Garden Soil by Adding Manure

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

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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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