All Things Gardening forum: Is it possible to grow in straight horse manure?

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Name: Michele Roth
N.E. Indiana - Zone 5b
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chelle
Oct 8, 2013 11:27 AM CST
I've found out recently, to my great surprise and amazement, that yes, you can in some instances grow in straight horse manure.

I used logs for raised beds and filled them with pure stall siftings taken twice daily...straight from the horse, you might say. No hay or straw mixed in, and no composting time given at all since my projects dealt with strictly ornamental plants. I'd always before thought that I had to mix aged manure with other planting medium to thin it out, so to say, but some (a lot!) of plants seem to be thrilled with the extra nutrients/heat that fresher horse manure supplies.

I'm not saying that the very tender roots of seedlings would necessarily respond the same, but these transplants look happy to me. I suspect that young plants might at least grow tall and lanky, but Shrug! who knows?



On the left; not quite a month ago. Right side; taken today. Even the variegated Jacob's Ladder looks great, and I've never, ever had luck with those at all!
Thumb of 2013-10-08/chelle/ffc457 Thumb of 2013-10-08/chelle/4b88a7




A few others planted in pure, straight, fresh horse manure and top-dressed with wood shavings to hide it/reduce smells. Big Grin

(Top two of these four pictures are just focusing on the plants in front -the others are growing in other potting medium)

Thumb of 2013-10-08/chelle/a2d6b5 Thumb of 2013-10-08/chelle/ec48c2

Thumb of 2013-10-08/chelle/0dd4db Thumb of 2013-10-08/chelle/761732


Now, my horse is older and semi-retired so she's on a diet that's as low in rich components as possible, and her fresh forage is on the low side right now due to a summer without rain. I don't know if the same results can be had in the spring when there's plenty of fresh greens to gobble up, but for right now these look pretty good to me. Smiling I see no signs of nutrient imbalances or leaf burn whatsoever, and the plants are performing very nicely.



What kinds of experiences have you had? Good, not so good, or are you just wondering about it?






Cottage Gardening

Newest Interest: Rock Gardens


Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
Charter ATP Member Seed Starter Tomato Heads I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Vegetable Grower Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
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Newyorkrita
Oct 8, 2013 12:21 PM CST
Wow, your results look great. No horse here so can't be trying out our method.
Name: Rick R.
near Minneapolis, MN zone 4a
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages The WITWIT Badge Garden Photography Region: Minnesota Plant Identifier
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Leftwood
Oct 8, 2013 1:04 PM CST
Thanks, Chelle.

And I had no idea a horse pooped that much!
- wholly crap! Whistling
Name: Michele Roth
N.E. Indiana - Zone 5b
I'm always on my way out the door..
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Forum moderator Garden Sages Garden Ideas: Master Level Dog Lover Cottage Gardener
Native Plants and Wildflowers Plant Identifier Organic Gardener Keeps Horses Hummingbirder Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle
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chelle
Oct 8, 2013 1:08 PM CST
I tip my hat to you.


Hilarious! Oh, yes! There's still a nice-sized pile outside of the barn yet, too! I think I'll set up some log beds now to pile it in over the winter. Then I only have to lift each tubful once!
Cottage Gardening

Newest Interest: Rock Gardens


Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
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RickCorey
Oct 8, 2013 2:58 PM CST
Wow, it's nice to see conventional wisdom stood on its head.

How deep was the fresh poop when you transplanted into it? Is there a chance that plant roots went diving through the poop and into the soil beneath it? They might be thriving from what leaches out of the poop and into the soil (sub-soil?)

Even if that's it, I'm still surprised. But then, I still have trouble understanding how "lasagna gardening" can work. Changing my preconceptions is a slow process!
Name: Ginger
Fountain, Florida (Zone 8b)
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gingin
Oct 8, 2013 3:39 PM CST
Newyorkrita said:Wow, your results look great. No horse here so can't be trying out our method.


Wonder how dog poop would work?? Whistling Rolling my eyes.
Each cloud has a silver lineing if only you look for it.
Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
Charter ATP Member Seed Starter Tomato Heads I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Vegetable Grower Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
Birds Garden Ideas: Master Level Butterflies Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Roses Hummingbirder
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Newyorkrita
Oct 8, 2013 3:40 PM CST
NO!!!! Do not use cat or dog poop. Too many possible parasites.
Name: Michele Roth
N.E. Indiana - Zone 5b
I'm always on my way out the door..
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Forum moderator Garden Sages Garden Ideas: Master Level Dog Lover Cottage Gardener
Native Plants and Wildflowers Plant Identifier Organic Gardener Keeps Horses Hummingbirder Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle
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chelle
Oct 8, 2013 3:43 PM CST
RickCorey said:

How deep was the fresh poop when you transplanted into it? Is there a chance that plant roots went diving through the poop and into the soil beneath it? They might be thriving from what leaches out of the poop and into the soil (sub-soil?)



Some of it's not too deep; maybe six inches or so, but other beds are at least 12" deep...maybe more. I think they aimed for 18" sections when cutting the logs. The roughly circular bed with the mums is the shallowest toward the center because what's left of a huge tree stump is buried there.
Cottage Gardening

Newest Interest: Rock Gardens


Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Oct 8, 2013 3:46 PM CST
I hate to be alarmist, but cat poop often contains oocysts of something nasty that can infect both cats and humans. I don't lie awake nights worrying about my raised beds that are also neighborhood cat boxes, but I do try a little bit to keep them out of my veggies.

Google "cat oocysts" or Toxoplasma gondii

http://www.cell.com/trends/parasitology/abstract/S1471-4922%...

"The annual environmental deposit of cat feces in the US is 1.2 million tons."
"Toxoplasma gondii oocysts may remain viable for several years and thus accumulate."

Sometimes it seems like they're all in my recently-seeded raised beds.
Name: Ginger
Fountain, Florida (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Plays in the sandbox Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Region: Gulf Coast Tip Photographer The WITWIT Badge
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Native Plants and Wildflowers Birds Plumerias Hummingbirder Dog Lover
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gingin
Oct 8, 2013 3:46 PM CST
horses don't have parasites??

Dixie gives "DEEP" kisses...can you say no tonsils?...so I probably have "stuff" anyway Whistling Shrug! Whistling
Each cloud has a silver lineing if only you look for it.
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Oct 8, 2013 3:49 PM CST
To me, "mostly 12 inches or more" suggests that the roots are probably co-existing with that pure poop layer.

Who'd have thought it possible! I always, always scratch manure or compost into the soil to mix them. And I seldom have more than 1" of bagged manure/compost or my own compost to add to a bed.
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Oct 8, 2013 3:54 PM CST
I've heard advice ALL over the map about the safety of animal manure. All the way from being afraid of it until it's been composted very hot for many days, and then aged for many minths, to the other extreme of "yeah, I add it fresh to the veggie patch, just not near harvest" or "turned under" or "not for leafy crops".

The FSMA Act ("Food Safety Modernization") gives ritualistic rules about size of compost heap, minimum hot-compost temperatures and times, post-aging times, record-keeping, assays for microbial content ... how the heck did ANYONE ever survive 50 years ago when such rules were not in force? Shouldn't we all be extinct 20 times over?

My money is on the alleged problem being entirely caused by field hands pooping on their hands as they pick the crops. Or by food processing companies that haven't been inspected since Reagan was president (guessing). Not on cows.
Name: David Paul
(Zone 9b)
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DavidofDeLand
Oct 8, 2013 4:01 PM CST
Thanks for sharing your succesful experiments Chelle. I found it very interesting. I tip my hat to you.
Name: Michele Roth
N.E. Indiana - Zone 5b
I'm always on my way out the door..
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Forum moderator Garden Sages Garden Ideas: Master Level Dog Lover Cottage Gardener
Native Plants and Wildflowers Plant Identifier Organic Gardener Keeps Horses Hummingbirder Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle
Image
chelle
Oct 8, 2013 4:51 PM CST
You're welcome. Smiling

Now I'm interested in seeing what's going on under the surface as well. I think I'll dig out one of those mums when it's about finished blooming and have a look at its roots.
Cottage Gardening

Newest Interest: Rock Gardens


Name: Rick R.
near Minneapolis, MN zone 4a
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages The WITWIT Badge Garden Photography Region: Minnesota Plant Identifier
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Leftwood
Oct 8, 2013 5:07 PM CST
RickCorey said: ... how the heck did ANYONE ever survive 50 years ago when such [hygienic safety] rules were not in force? Shouldn't we all be extinct 20 times over?


I still contend that I never get sick precisely because I am exposed to all those germs that people nowadays are so afraid of.

One must remember that Chelle's results are with horse manure. Any other animal manure (chicken, cow, goat, etc.) may or may not be safe to use in the same way.
Name: Kathleen Tenpas
Wickwire Corners NY (Zone 5a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! The WITWIT Badge Raises cows Region: New York Farmer
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Kathleen
Oct 8, 2013 5:46 PM CST
Horse manure is one of the few that can be used without composting (I believe that rabbit is another). Other usable animal manures need to be composted.

Name: Arlene
Grantville, GA (Zone 8a)
Greenhouse Region: Georgia Garden Sages Organic Gardener Beekeeper Vegetable Grower
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abhege
Oct 8, 2013 5:51 PM CST
I believe also alpaca manure
Name: Rick R.
near Minneapolis, MN zone 4a
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages The WITWIT Badge Garden Photography Region: Minnesota Plant Identifier
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Leftwood
Oct 8, 2013 8:19 PM CST
Yes, rabbit is the other, and it is even more benign.
Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
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woofie
Oct 9, 2013 11:18 AM CST
Aha! A new destination for the stall cleanings from the ponies! May get some use out of those silly little critters after all! Hilarious!
Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.
Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
Charter ATP Member Seed Starter Tomato Heads I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Vegetable Grower Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
Birds Garden Ideas: Master Level Butterflies Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Roses Hummingbirder
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Newyorkrita
Oct 9, 2013 1:30 PM CST
Woofie, those silly critters, as you call them, are just so pretty. I remember some pictures you posted here on another thread.

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