The Q&A Archives: Can I use high-salt manure in garden?

Question: My local nursery says steer manure is high in salt and shouldn't be used in the garden. Is this true? If so, is there any way I can still use it in my garden? Kirk Jeffrey Chatsworth, CA

Answer: Steer manure has one of the highest salt contents of all manures. In areas where the soil is high in salt already, I'd avoid using fresh steer manure, says Mark Fenton of Peaceful Valley Farm Supply in Grass Valley, California. But if you must use steer manure, let it weather through one rainy season first. The longer the pile is exposed to rain, the lower the salt content, explains Fenton. Then spread it one inch deep on the garden and water it thoroughly to leach out the remaining salt before planting.

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