The Q&A Archives: using manures for fertilizing vegetable plants

Question: I was wondering if you know if you can use composted manures such as rabbit, dog, or cow for fertilizing tomatoes or other vegetable plants. I didn't know if any bad bacteria gets passed through the plant and if you eat the vegetables can you get sick. I know that well composted cow manure that has been through a shredder is great fertilizer to add to annuals. Just be careful because the plants tend get huge. Our coleus were about 2 feet tall and the leaves were about 3 inches in diameter.

Answer: Because of the pathogens they contain, dog, cat and pig manure should be kept out of the vegetable garden. But cow, horse, rabbit, goat, or any other non-meat eating animal manure is perfectly acceptable in the garden. It's best to compost the manure prior to using, or at least let it age so the salts from urine can be washed away by rain. Otherwise it can be too hot and can burn the plants and their roots.

Glad you've been able to grow gigantic coleus. Just think how large your veggies will be if you use the same manure there!

Best wishes with your garden!

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