Fertilizing with Fresh Manure - Knowledgebase Question

Springfield, NJ
Question by DHBLITT
April 1, 1998
If I fertilize my veggie garden with fresh manure and mix in lime do I have to wait a certain amount of time before planting?


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Answer from NGA
April 1, 1998

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Fresh manure should NEVER be applied directly to the garden in spring or summer unless it is tilled in four weeks before planting.

The insoluble nitrogen contained in the solid parts of the manure undergoes change with the result being the formation of ammonia. The ammonia and other compounds of nitrogen are consumed by the bacteria found in the manure. It is also very "hot" and harmful to young roots. This nitrogen only becomes available when the bacteria die and decompose. So, you can see some time is necessary for the manure to really become useful in your garden.

Lime can be added anytime, but it takes a few months before the effects are felt, so it too is better added in fall or at least a few months before planting.

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