Ask a Question forum: Horse manure on vegetable garden

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ohio
hann6ah
Jan 10, 2018 1:38 PM CST
We live in Ohio, and my husband applied fresh horse manure to our vegetable garden around Christmas this year. I am concerned since it has not "aged" yet. We have nothing planted currently and do not plan to plant anything until May. I was wondering your recommendations as to if is not safe to leave it on the garden until planting, or if we should try to remove it and place it in a location to compost for longer. Thank you!
Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
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Philipwonel
Jan 10, 2018 3:04 PM CST
Welcome! πŸ˜€πŸ˜€πŸ˜€
Let's see. πŸ•΅οΈπŸ•΅οΈπŸ•΅οΈ ... How does that song go. ?πŸ€”??? Oh, yes !
Don't worry ! Be happy ! πŸ‘

Horse manure is mild. Y'all will be bountiful !

Possibly many weeds, if good quality hay wasn't fead to horses.
😎😎😎
Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.
Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
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dyzzypyxxy
Jan 10, 2018 3:13 PM CST
I agree, that manure will be well aged by the time you're ready to till and start planting.

From what I know, "stable" manure (i.e. from a stable) is too hot to put directly on plants because it also usually contains urine - high urea content = very high soluble nitrogen that burns plants easily. Especially young plants.

But horse manure from out in a field is just fine to use almost right away (I would still till it in and water thoroughly before planting).
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Sue
SF Bay Area, CA (Zone 9b)
Container Gardener Canning and food preservation Dog Lover
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Zuni
Jan 10, 2018 11:50 PM CST
hann6ah said:We live in Ohio, and my husband applied fresh horse manure to our vegetable garden around Christmas this year. I am concerned since it has not "aged" yet. We have nothing planted currently and do not plan to plant anything until May. I was wondering your recommendations as to if is not safe to leave it on the garden until planting, or if we should try to remove it and place it in a location to compost for longer. Thank you!


@hann6ah You should be in great shape. If you can cover it with black plastic so it gets really hot and decomposes faster, that would be great.

But, I think you will know if it's okay. If it still stinks or just doesn't seem like it's decomposed completely, you should trust your instinct.

But, I bet, if you wait until when you should plant, you'll be fine. You'll speed up the process, though, if you can cover it with black plastic and wait for it to get hot under there and decompose faster. It will also help kill any seeds that might sprout from the manure - horse manure often has seeds from the hay the horses eat - that will sprout and invade your garden. If you can wait for them to get killed under some black plastic before you plant your seeds - that would be good.
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
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sooby
Jan 11, 2018 4:47 AM CST
Welcome!

I too wouldn't be concerned. I used to have horses and have put manure onto the vegetable garden straight from the barn when it wasn't yet planted. If you got the manure from somewhere else I imagine it had already been in the manure pile for at least a short while anyway.

Zuni is right about the weed seeds, but TBH I don't think it's going to get very hot under black plastic in Ohio between now and May - I think there's snow on the ground now in at least parts of Ohio, and below freezing temperatures are back in at least the short-term forecast. The angle of the sun is still pretty low still also.
Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
Plant Identifier Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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stone
Jan 11, 2018 7:44 AM CST
My question would be.....
Was it straight manure?
Or was it mixed with anything?

In my area, horse manure is mixed with wood shavings.... And the potential problem with that.... Is fresh "compost" added to the new plantings may absorb nitrogen AWAY from the plants. The opposite of too hot.

As its the dead of winter, even that is a non-issue.

In regards to seedy manure?
I've only experienced that problem with manure that had aged in piles in a pasture, and the nearby plants had dropped seeds on the product.
After I started just getting the fresh stuff, even that became a non-issue at my house.

The only potential problem left?
There are herbicides that some farmers spray on their hay which pass through the livestock, AND the composting process that continue to cause problems for broadleaf plants for several years. I've never had personal experience with this, but several CSA farms in eastern states did recently run into an issue with some product they paid to have delivered.

Couldn't find that particular story, but here's some info from Oregon.
http://smallfarms.oregonstate....

Here's some information from VT with pics of damaged vegetable plants:
http://rockingham.ext.vt.edu/c...
[Last edited by stone - Jan 11, 2018 7:55 AM (+)]
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Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
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sooby
Jan 11, 2018 11:17 AM CST
Weeds from hay would largely depend on the type of hay fed and when it was cut. Alfalfa hay for the most part doesn't contribute much in the way of weed seeds, but mixed meadow hay cut late after the seeds have formed more than likely would. Sometimes we had to cut it late because the weather was not conducive earlier, and it is easier to dry more mature hay (reducing the risk of burning down the barn with spontaneous combustion!).
[Last edited by sooby - Jan 11, 2018 11:18 AM (+)]
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ohio
hann6ah
Jan 11, 2018 12:11 PM CST
Thank you all so much for your responses! You have truly eased my worry ;) However, all the talk about weeds has now got me concerned ha! I have weed issues already in my vegetable garden. (I should also mention I am fairly new to gardening, if you can't already tell! Confused ) I stay away from any weed killers and chemicals in my garden, so do you have any advice/recommendations on how you handle weeds without the chemicals? I've battled them for three years now Thumbs down
Minnesota (Zone 3b)
RpR
Jan 11, 2018 12:12 PM CST
Just turn it over in spring as soon as you can.
I do it with far from aged sheep manure often.

Weeds if you do not use chemicals, pull them by hand.
I do.
[Last edited by RpR - Jan 11, 2018 12:13 PM (+)]
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Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
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Philipwonel
Jan 11, 2018 2:02 PM CST
Natural , contact weed killer sprays.
Straight 5 percent acid White Vinegar. Works well when weather is very warm.

Otherwise this :
1 gallon white vinegar.
2 cups epsom salts.
1/4 cup dawn dishsoap.

Spray weeds, when there dry, and there's no breeze .
Shield wanted plants, if you have a breeze.
This, will not affect soil.

😎😎😎
Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Keeper of Poultry Farmer Roses Raises cows
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
porkpal
Jan 11, 2018 3:50 PM CST
It will also help to cover your garden area when not planted with black plastic or tarps to discourage weeds. I avoid cultivating or turning up the soil as it just exposes more new weed seeds.
Porkpal
Minnesota (Zone 3b)
RpR
Jan 11, 2018 4:23 PM CST
If you go online, you can find vinegar as strong as 25 percent, I have a bottle.
Name: kathy
Michigan
Zone 4b, near St. Clair MI
Cottage Gardener Lilies Organic Gardener
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katesflowers
Jan 12, 2018 12:06 PM CST
@hann6ah Hi !
Rule of thumb is 6 months from spreading hot manure over top garden and planting seeds for the new crop. So in late fall, after all plants are tilled under and your garden year is finished spread the hot manure. Sounds like you and hubby are right on target.
Got a load of hot manure during the garden season? Create a layered compost pile: A thin layer of manure, discarded weeds, grass clippings, soil, water a little if it doesn't rain, turn & mix with a pitch fork-repeat. When next garden season rolls around you can broadcast this wonderful compost , even side dress your plants.
P.S.: carrots hate a lot of fertilizer, so go lightly with manure where carrots grow. Also, never use swine manure because virus' can jump to humans.
"Things won are done, joy's soul lies in the doing." Shakespeare
Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
Charter ATP Member Native Plants and Wildflowers Region: Mid-Atlantic Composter Region: Maryland Birds
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sallyg
Jan 12, 2018 6:28 PM CST
Use landscape fabric or mulch to cover the soil after planting the garden.
Every time you turn or dig the soil, new weed seeds are brought to the top. Covering newly turned soil stops the weeds.
Be sure to pull weeds before they make seeds. Any weeds that do have seeds on, get that out of the garden and out of compost. I throw them under a bush where it is too shady to grow.
..come into the peace of wild things..-Wendell Berry
Life is a buffet (anon)
Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
Plant Identifier Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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stone
Jan 15, 2018 8:19 AM CST
There are ways to work with the plants that show up on their own.

Most important thing is to understand their purpose.

God didn't create weeds, s/he created plants to fill various niches.
People with "weed" issues are gardening in ways that provide those niches.

At my house last year....
I had a poppy patch.... At the end of the previous season, I'd sowed poppy seeds right on top of the tomatoe patch.... Didn't practice any tidying at all, just scattered the seed.

With the poppies shading the ground, nothing else could get a foothold.
When I was ready to start sprigging in summer plants, I pulled poppy plants to make room, shoehorned in the watermelons and such.
By the time the poppies were done, the summer plants were ready to shade the soil.

In the areas where I had a nice cover crop of chickweed and henbit, I simply used a hoe and raked it all up in a pile, spread horse poop as mulch, plugged in my garden plants. Eventually the pile of chickweed decomposed, and I leveled it in place.

The chickweed and henbit were not "weeds", they provided nectar for the early butterflies and roughage for the songbirds... Both are invaluable garden help...

As long as we remember that bare soil means that wild seeds will come up, we can plan accordingly. There's no need for chemicals and vinegar and whatever, just spread a mulch... Once the soil isn't exposed, that niche isn't causing "weeds".
Name: kathy
Michigan
Zone 4b, near St. Clair MI
Cottage Gardener Lilies Organic Gardener
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katesflowers
Jan 15, 2018 8:38 AM CST
Hooray Stone, here is a picture of a 100 foot poppy row just waiting for an interplanting.

Thumb of 2018-01-15/katesflowers/09af3d

"Things won are done, joy's soul lies in the doing." Shakespeare
Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
Plant Identifier Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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stone
Jan 15, 2018 8:43 AM CST
Kathy, aren't those California poppies perennial at your house?

I'm planting annuals.... Plant in October down here.

Thumb of 2018-01-15/stone/5dee2e

Is that your garden?

Spectacular!
[Last edited by stone - Jan 15, 2018 8:44 AM (+)]
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Name: kathy
Michigan
Zone 4b, near St. Clair MI
Cottage Gardener Lilies Organic Gardener
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katesflowers
Jan 15, 2018 9:02 AM CST
Stone - the poppies are a mix Danish flag, California, Flanders (WW1 centennial memorial from Wash DC) and more and are treated as annuals and plowed down in fall. I did collect seed.
Side note: loved the temporary trellis and will put two in this year on 36" centers so I don't have to cultivate between them. I can grow so many more plants.
"Things won are done, joy's soul lies in the doing." Shakespeare

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