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Horse manure

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Horse manure

Post  pawsplus on 5/19/2017, 8:48 am

I have 2 horses, so a never-ending supply of manure, most of which I let someone come pick up.  But I will need a little of it for my beds, so I'm wondering how composted it needs to be.  I.e., if it's been sitting out in the pasture for a few months, can I use it? Or must I have a composter and all that.  I'm trying to avoid this turning into a huge time suck. I want veggies, but I have a TON of stuff to do and don't want to spend hours every week slaving.  How composted must horse manure be to work in the mix? Thanks!
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Re: Horse manure

Post  RoOsTeR on 5/19/2017, 9:09 am

As you may well know, horses pass lots of seed through their manure. I get my compost containing horse manure really "hot" to kill all the seed. If you don't, you will have things growing in your garden beds.

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Re: Horse manure

Post  pawsplus on 5/19/2017, 9:21 am

What do you mean by "hot"? Smile  Total newbie . . .
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Re: Horse manure

Post  countrynaturals on 5/19/2017, 9:33 am

The older the better. Never newer than 6 mos. and I wouldn't use it for root crops until I've already grown something else in it twice, and it's been at least a year. I'm old school however, so I'm still gardening in dirt -- no MM. Embarassed
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Re: Horse manure

Post  pawsplus on 5/19/2017, 9:34 am

Oh, OK. I thought the Mel's Mix was required for SF gardening!  Well, I'll put some in a pile and just leave it and see what happens LOL. I can pick up some old stuff out of the pasture that is dried and has been sitting a while.
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Re: Horse manure

Post  trolleydriver on 5/19/2017, 9:47 am

@pawsplus wrote:What do you mean by "hot"? Smile  Total newbie . . .
Need to compost the manure with other materials and get the temperature above 130F to kill seeds and turn it frequently to ensure all parts of the compost have their time in the "hot" zone.  There are threads on composting here on the forum.  Sanderson is the queen of composting using the Berkeley hot composting method. I do my amateur composting thing and keep track of temperatures as a "fun" experiment as seen on the thread below. Don't let all this hot composting thing scare you away from SFG but I would certainly take precautions, as already suggested, if you are going to use the horse manure.  

http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t21022p200-trolleydriver-s-compost-thermometer#266254

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Re: Horse manure

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 5/19/2017, 10:13 am

@pawsplus wrote:Oh, OK. I thought the Mel's Mix was required for SF gardening!  Well, I'll put some in a pile and just leave it and see what happens LOL. I can pick up some old stuff out of the pasture that is dried and has been sitting a while.
MM (or at least a blended compost) is required for ANSFG (All New Square Foot Gardening).
There was also the original Square Foot Gardening (OSFG) book which used square foot garden plant spacing, but used amended soil, since Mel hadn't developed his mix yet.
Some forum members only have ANSFGs, some have OSFG, some have both (like me), and some of us use square foot spacing in containers, or other variations. I've tried both OSFG and ANSFG, side by side, and ANSFG works much better for me, for most plants. Enough so that I converted many of my beds from OSFG to raised ANSFG beds between last growing season and this one.

There are two basic kinds of composting, one gets to high temperatures that kill off weed seeds (and germs/pathogens), i.e. "hot composting," the other does not. Manure that has just been sitting in the pasture and has dried will still have live weed seeds in it. You may also see manures of most types being referred to as "hot" - these manures need to be composted before being added to a garden so that they do not "burn" the plants. But I'm not very knowledgeable about composting - as TD says you can search on compost to find more threads on the topic. I think the Berkley method is also known as the 18 day method - so, faster than 6 months, but some work required.
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Re: Horse manure

Post  countrynaturals on 5/19/2017, 10:26 am

@pawsplus wrote:Oh, OK. I thought the Mel's Mix was required for SF gardening!  Well, I'll put some in a pile and just leave it and see what happens LOL. I can pick up some old stuff out of the pasture that is dried and has been sitting a while.
I have the old SF gardening book, from before MM was born. Last year we built a big waist-high garden and filled it with store-bought dirt before I came here and learned about the ANSFG method.  Embarassed
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Re: Horse manure

Post  camprn on 5/19/2017, 11:59 am

@trolleydriver wrote:
@pawsplus wrote:What do you mean by "hot"? Smile  Total newbie . . .
Need to compost the manure with other materials and get the temperature above 130F to kill seeds and turn it frequently to ensure all parts of the compost have their time in the "hot" zone.  There are threads on composting here on the forum.  Sanderson is the queen of composting using the Berkeley hot composting method. I do my amateur composting thing and keep track of temperatures as a "fun" experiment as seen on the thread below. Don't let all this hot composting thing scare you away from SFG but I would certainly take precautions, as already suggested, if you are going to use the horse manure.  

http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t21022p200-trolleydriver-s-compost-thermometer#266254

There are many compost threads that discuss how to achieve acceptable temperatures within the compost pile to kill seeds. Try the search feature. There is also a thread to look for titled are you a hottie?

Additional information on composting backed up with science can be found at http://compost.css.cornell.edu/ <~~~Click

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Re: Horse manure

Post  RoOsTeR on 5/19/2017, 1:40 pm

@countrynaturals wrote:The older the better. Never newer than 6 mos. and I wouldn't use it for root crops until I've already grown something else in it twice, and it's been at least a year. I'm old school however, so I'm still gardening in dirt -- no MM. Embarassed

Once composted, I use it. I've personally found no benefits to aging.

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Re: Horse manure

Post  countrynaturals on 5/19/2017, 1:42 pm

@RoOsTeR wrote:
@countrynaturals wrote:The older the better. Never newer than 6 mos. and I wouldn't use it for root crops until I've already grown something else in it twice, and it's been at least a year. I'm old school however, so I'm still gardening in dirt -- no MM. Embarassed

Once composted, I use it. I've personally found no benefits to aging.
Sorry, I should have specified that I do cold composting. That's why I wait so long.  Embarassed
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Re: Horse manure

Post  sanderson on 5/19/2017, 10:25 pm

Pawsplus,  Your head is probably starting to spin with all the new info.  Have you had a chance to read the book All New Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew?  That will be your guide for ANSFG where NO dirt is used.  It is tried and tested.

Manures:  There are "hot" manures that need to be aged before adding to the beds.  Horse, cow, chicken, etc.  Stock pile and wait 6 months.  "Cold" manures can be used straight from the animal.  Quite the visual, huh?  Rabbit** is the only one that comes to mind right now.  For you, use older horse manure.  just make sure it is re-hydrated before adding to the bed.

Horse manure is food passed through the animal once and can contain viable seeds.  Cows have a more thorough digestion process and their manure has less seeds.

Composting:  There is the "cold" natural method of just stockpiling plant matter and manures and letting nature begin the slow composting process.  Microorganisms, micro-insects, worms.  After a year or two, material at the bottom is nicely composted.  Then there is the "really hot composting method (Berkeley)", the one I use, where temps reach as high as 160*F.  Pasteurization of harmful bacteria and killing of most seeds are achieved in a short period of time, with lots of turning, then allowed to cool down.  Only for the hardiest! Razz  Then there is the method most folks probably use.  It is called "hot", but I call it "warm" Wink  where temps achieve 130-140*F.  It is turned, not as often as the hot Berkeley method, and takes more like 2-3 months to compost.

Folks, let me know if this is a fair description of hot vs. cold manures, and hot vs. hot-warm vs. cold compost.

** add sheep, goat, llama, alpaca


Last edited by sanderson on 5/20/2017, 1:58 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Edited by Sanderson to expand list of cold maures)

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Re: Horse manure

Post  trolleydriver on 5/19/2017, 10:34 pm

@sanderson wrote:Pawsplus,  Your head is probably starting to spin with all the new info.  Have you had a chance to read the book All New Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew?  That will be your guide for ANSFG where NO dirt is used.  It is tried and tested.

Manures:  There are "hot" manures that need to be aged before adding to the beds.  Horse, cow, chicken, etc.  Stock pile and wait 6 months.  "Cold" manures can be used straight from the animal.  Quite the visual, huh?  Rabbit** is the only one that comes to mind right now.  For you, use older horse manure.  just make sure it is re-hydrated before adding to the bed.

Horse manure is food passed through the animal once and can contain viable seeds.  Cows have a more thorough digestion process and their manure has less seeds.

Composting:  There is the "cold" natural method of just stockpiling plant matter and manures and letting nature begin the slow composting process.  Microorganisms, micro-insects, worms.  After a year or two, material at the bottom is nicely composted.  Then there is the "really hot composting method (Berkeley)", the one I use, where temps reach as high as 160*F.  Pasteurization of harmful bacteria and killing of most seeds are achieved in a short period of time, with lots of turning, then allowed to cool down.  Only for the hardiest! Razz  Then there is the method most folks probably use.  It is called "hot", but I call it "warm" Wink  where temps achieve 130-140*F.  It is turned, not as often as the hot Berkeley method, and takes more like 2-3 months to compost.

Folks, let me know if this is a fair description of hot vs. cold manures, and hot vs. hot-warm vs. cold compost.


** add sheep, goat, llama, alpaca
Excellent description Sanderson.

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Re: Horse manure

Post  donnainzone5 on 5/20/2017, 12:37 pm

Yes, Sanderson, that was an excellent post!

Another "cold" manure is llama beans.
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Re: Horse manure

Post  Turan on 5/20/2017, 12:49 pm

Goat is another cold manure.

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Re: Horse manure

Post  donnainzone5 on 5/20/2017, 1:01 pm

That's good to know, Turan.  There are three that live in the meadow next to my property, but I can't get the owner to give me any--and he won't let me come over to rake it myself!
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Re: Horse manure

Post  sanderson on 5/20/2017, 1:57 pm

I will edit the above to include these pebble-poopers to the "cold" manures. Alpacas, llamas, goats, sheep, and I suppose camels also?

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Re: Horse manure

Post  donnainzone5 on 5/20/2017, 2:58 pm

Deer, perhaps?
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