Compost your manure before using

– Posted in: Garden Tweets

FYI: Horse manure mixed with sawdust bedding is a wonderful soil amendment, until the pasture grass starts sprouting. Weeding grass today.

About the Author

Kathy Purdy is a colchicum evangelist, converting unsuspecting gardeners into colchicophiles. She would be delighted to speak to your group about colchicums or other gardening topics. Kathy’s been writing since 4th grade, gardening since high school, and blogging since 2002.

If winter is slumber and spring is birth, and summer is life, then autumn rounds out to be reflection. It’s a time of year when the leaves are down and the harvest is in and the perennials are gone. Mother Earth just closed up the drapes on another year and it’s time to reflect on what’s come before.

~Mitchell Burgess in Northern Exposure

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Jim K May 23, 2009, 9:53 pm

Perfect job for a stirrup hoe. Being in the Bluegrass surrounded by horse farms and more or less broke when my wife and I made our first raised beds, we pretty much used straight up semi-composted manure to build our beds. The weeds were epidemic, but the stirrup hoe made quick work of them. It is probably my favorite garden tool.

Lisa H May 24, 2009, 10:01 am

You got it Jim! We keep 3 piles of manure going at all times. Some of last winters manure goes on the garden to “fertilize”, the 2 year old pile is for spreading back onto our pastures, and the 3 year old pile is used for when we rotate crops to ammend the clay/sandy soil of a new garden spot. We have found that unless you are adding nutrients to the “compost” pile regularly with food waste from the house, composting manure seems to drain the nutrients. I’m no expert of course, just sharing what we have experienced. My husband and I are big fans of the little Mantis tiller too. They are worth every penny. We plant rows 24″ apart and that little thing makes weeding a breeze. Once the crops have taken good hold weeding is basically nonexistant for us. Happy Gardening!

marci May 21, 2009, 10:49 am


Still, I’ll take all of it I can get,
with or without the seeds

daniel (home kitchen garden) May 20, 2009, 2:37 pm

I always recommend taking anti-grass-seed countermeasures when using horse manure:

One very effective, but rather passe solution is to mix the manure in with your soil before planting, but use black plastic mulch over every un-planted inch of the garden.

Perhaps easier: use manure only as mulch. Yes, the seeds in the manure will sprout, but rooted only in manure, they come out very easily; weeding isn’t so bad.

If I’m mining a big dung heap for manure, I try to dig through the outer two or three feet and harvest from inside the pile. Usually there’s plenty of seed-killing heat when you get in deep enough.

I’ve taken photos and video in preparation for a blog post about working with horse manure for my Your Home Kitchen Garden blog. I think I just wrote half the post here! 🙂

daniel (home kitchen garden)’s last blog post..Eat Rhubarb from Your Home Kitchen Garden

Sue May 19, 2009, 8:10 pm

Now, this was interesting! I know someone I’ve been meaning to get some horse manure from. I had planned to compost it first, thinking that would take care of any odor in it. I don’t have a place I can spread it out, like the other commenter said. That’s a good idea, though.

Sue’s last blog post..Some Photos from Today

Kathy Purdy May 19, 2009, 8:30 pm

Honestly, I thought it was composted when I got it. It had been sitting in pile outside the barn for several months. But it apparently never heated up enough to kill all the seeds in it.

Scott Supak May 19, 2009, 7:02 pm

I spread the manure out when I get it, and water it. Then I come back in a week and massacre little baby weeds by the thousands. Then I rake and water again, come back in a week, massacre by the hundreds. Then I mix it in knowing I’ll have that much less weeding to do later!