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Square Foot Gardening Forum
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Hello Guest!
Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
There's lots to learn here by reading as a guest. However, if you become a member (it's free, ad free and spam-free) you'll have access to our large vermiculite databases, our seed exchange spreadsheets, Mel's Mix calculator, and many more members' pictures in the Gallery. Enjoy.

Horse Manure I22gcj10Horse Manure 14dhcg10

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Post  TexasTracy 7/20/2012, 8:10 pm

Okay apparently I need a little lesson on manure lol. A friend gave me 3 bags of horse manure...old (doesn't smell), but it's really chunky and dried out looking. How do I get this to look like the manure compost I purchase? Surely I don't put it in my boxes like this.

Thanks!
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Post  Triciasgarden 7/20/2012, 9:03 pm

Can you lay it out and pound the chunks with the back of a shovel? Hopefully it is not too hard for that. Another idea is to mow it with a lawn mower but I think that would just throw the chunks around. If someone doesn't come up with a better idea I am thinking you can moisten it a bit, let it sit to absorb the water and then smash it with a shovel. You won't want it too mushy though when you hit it or it will just be a horse pancake. Laughing
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Post  toledobend 7/20/2012, 10:18 pm

Recently, I went over to a neighbor's and filled a five gallon full of chicken manure and a five gallon bucket of cow manure that had been in the barn for a year. The cow manure was solid and I used a shovel to dig some up in big chunks. When I got home, since it was in big chunks, I used a square ended shovel which fit in the bucket and chopped it up into a powder fairly easily. The shovel fit into the bucket so well that it didn't damage the sides or bottom of the bucket. I'd chop for a minute and then scoop it out and spread it in layers on a new compost pile.
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Post  gregrenee88 7/21/2012, 2:03 am

So, if I'm understanding correctly, any manure does not need to go through some type of "process" before using?

A local riding place has horse manure we can have for free. We were thinking of putting some of it onto our compost pile before the snow flies here. Thoughts?

Thanks,
Renee Wink
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Post  camprn 7/21/2012, 2:05 am

gregrenee88 wrote:So, if I'm understanding correctly, any manure does not need to go through some type of "process" before using?

A local riding place has horse manure we can have for free. We were thinking of putting some of it onto our compost pile before the snow flies here. Thoughts?

Thanks,
Renee Wink
Sounds good! into the compost pile, not the garden! What a Face

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Post  cyclonegardener 7/21/2012, 2:06 am

I always put manure in the compost pile and let it go a season before putting it in the garden.
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Post  gregrenee88 7/21/2012, 2:08 am

Is that what works best, into the compost pile only. Eventually it will make it into the garden next season as compost.
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Post  bowhuntaz 4/6/2013, 5:23 pm


gregrenee88 wrote:So, if I'm understanding correctly, any manure does not need to go through some type of "process" before using?

A local riding place has horse manure we can have for free. We were thinking of putting some of it onto our compost pile before the snow flies here. Thoughts?

Thanks,
Renee Wink
I've run green manure into my garden as well as composted it, with good results going both ways.
Horse manure will always bring weeds, as the digestive process of a horse doesn't kill seeds.
Our horses eat alfalfa, but also graze on everything else that sprouts in the pastures.
To keep weeds from your sfg, hot compost it.
Horse manure also tends to be pretty hot, which isn't necessarily great for the plants, as it might burn the roots and kill the plants.
We have two hay burners (horses) that produce about 50 pounds of poo a week.
I combine that with wood shavings and goat poo, blended about 5 parts goat mix with 1 part horse poop, and build bins that are 4 feet cube sized.
I turn them over twice a week and water them down so they're damp, but not wet.
It takes about 3 to 4 weeks to get good black compost, sometimes a little longer, but the results are fantastic.
Does this meet the MM aspect of 5 types of compost?
Probably not, but if you also add in some worms, vegetable scraps, and poultry manure, you're almost there.
I'd still roll with the best that I've got, and improve it as i go.
I use the MM guidelines as exactly that-guidelines- and make do with what i haveavailable. Mels mix is the ideal. I happen to have manure available by the ton for free. Peat is expensive. Vermiculite is expensive. I still use some of each, just in reduced quantities, as i put my money into other things, like hay, irrigation, and greenhouse components, so i can grow all year long.
It's about priorities, availability, and desired outcomes.
I figure my 7 foot tall by 7 foot wide tomato plants tell the tale better than my own words ever could.
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