Using Manure to Fertilize Your Garden

comments (9) July 30th, 2008

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Manure from barnyard animals can do wonders for your vegetable crops. Once youve found a source for animal manure, collect it, compost it, and spread it on your garden.
Manure from barnyard animals can do wonders for your vegetable crops. Once youve found a source for animal manure, collect it, compost it, and spread it on your garden.Click To Enlarge

Manure from barnyard animals can do wonders for your vegetable crops. Once you've found a source for animal manure, collect it, compost it, and spread it on your garden.

Photo: Ronald Lipking

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Finding your own source
It’s ironic that ­with all these types of fertilizer, only cow manure is readily available in most garden shops. But there are alternatives, and with a little reading and a few phone calls, you can locate a hot spot for manure that’s much better than bagged cow and probably free to boot.

How do you find other manures? Well, speaking as a part-time farmer who is always behind on his chores, I can tell you that I would never turn down volunteers to come clean my stalls. With this in mind, farms are the most logical place to begin.

You generally won’t find them in the Yellow Pages, so try looking instead in the classified sections of local newspapers. Once you locate someone in your area selling the livestock, call and volunteer to clean out stalls. Or, if you’re a real salesman, you might simply arrange to be handy as a free hauling service after the stalls are cleaned.

   
If you’re interested in the better stuff, however, you might again try the paper, or the extension agent in your county. Ask the agent if he or she knows anyone in the area who raises goats or sheep. You will probably be surprised to find that there are folks within an hour of your house who have these ruminants. Remember, you get double the nutrients in half the manure and with a third the work.

Rabbits present a different problem because few people raise them in sufficient quantity for manure except pet stores and a few breeders. Try calling your local pet store. Ask what they do with all their manure and if they work with local breeders. If they don’t hang up on you, they’ll probably be more than happy for you to come by and pick up the manure after they have already scraped it themselves. Be nice. Provide the bucket. But make sure it’s rabbit manure you’re getting; you don’t want droppings from dogs, cats, or reptiles.

Pigeons, too, are not as rare as some might think. Call your local extension agent or even the chamber of commerce (our pigeon club is mentioned in the city’s listings for clubs) and ask if they know of anyone raising pigeons. Since immaculate lofts are important for healthy birds, most pigeon fanciers are religious about cleaning out lofts. But what will they do with all those droppings? Maybe you can help? Again, provide a bucket and by all means, pick up the stuff when you say you will.

With the emphasis these days on recycling and chemical-free gardening, manure is a perfect answer for many people. With a phone call or two and a few hours of work, you can provide your soil with natural, organic nutrients that enrich your garden at little or no cost.

by Roy McGinnis
December 1997
from issue #12

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posted in: organic, fertilizer, animals

Comments (9)

Rettaewart writes: You're the genius!
Posted: 2:26 am on September 17th
Blaizesampson writes: That's great buddy!it's incredible you think effectively
Posted: 3:19 am on July 30th
JardaeKeeley writes: That's really great info for gardeners!!!
Posted: 12:16 am on May 14th
Melanie1026 writes: Hello, I was wondering how often do I need to put manure in my vegetable garden? Every year? Every other year? My husband and I used a good amount last year and our garden was amazing. So now I'm wondering if we need to do that every year or is it good for a few years. Thank you!
Posted: 3:12 am on May 9th
shawnwagner writes: Great Man, you're really genius. It's a good sense you have made here. Instead of using chemical fertilizers, manure is a good replacement and also it's free from any chemical composition and it's also freely available for you. The new fertilizers introduced these days are just a mixture of chemicals with different ratio hence people are more interested for using organic fertilizers. Apart from using animal dung, you can also go organic. http://www.gsplantfoods.com/
It is what I prefer but I also try using manure for my farm. Thank you.
Posted: 1:19 am on September 1st
iceni writes: I am about to make large raised beds and I can get as much rotted manure I want from the farm next door. (the manure is years old and looks like soil) How much of this should I put into 20 inch high beds before adding top soil?
Thank you so much. I am so glad I discovered this site.
Posted: 5:07 pm on April 13th
JennyRF writes: I have a question about the safety of manure... We just built our raised beds at the beginning of April 2014. Once built we picked up a load of manure from my father-in-laws manure pile out in his field. We did take off a foot or two of the top layer of manure and get the stuff at the bottom of the pile. We then put a pile of it into each bed at the very bottom layer of the beds... Once the manure was put into the beds we then layered a 3-way compost/soil mix into the beds filling up the remaining space in the beds. I began reading about horse manure because I was struck with the thoughts of what if the manure was not all aged manure and some was fresh? What if it contains pathogens? What if we can get sick from it? Are these concerns something to continue to ponder about or do you think we are fine? I really would love some advice on this. This is our first gardening adventure and I was planning on putting in my seeds and some starts today...but thought I would think twice, before planting. We spent so many hours of work on those beds, but in the end as an afterthought I want to play it safe. Hope to hear from you soon. thank you.
Posted: 2:57 pm on April 21st
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Posted: 2:07 pm on December 14th
SMbalian writes: I live ins a big city in Bolivia. I have a roof terrace for doing laundry. I have gotten 5 gal. water bottles for free and have been using them as self watering pots. yesterday at market I found bags of sheep manure. remembering from my youthful days about how good that is I bought it. but I'm curious about how much to stick in a pot. Any ideas? and major Kudos to the artist on this page. the illustrations are delightful! I want to make some prints here for my office where I tutor little kids. I know this particular page was made 4 yrs ago now.....but to whomever...I enjoyed your way of writing also. 'gonna go browse some more to see what else I can learn in a up-beat way. Thanks, Sally
Posted: 3:57 pm on November 21st
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