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Post  Emily49 on 5/20/2020, 11:54 am

I searched the forum, but don't think I have an answer to my exact question.  We got a source of horse manure today.  The pile it was from is a year old, but unclear if it is still being used today.  The "boys" took from the bottom.  We have about 100 gallons.
Now what should we do with it?  DH wants to make a 4x4 frame and put it in there to sit until next year.  We have a 3 bin compost area where we put weeds, kitchen scraps, leaves, and guinea pig droppings. Should we add some to that?  All of it? 
I am still learning how to use the 3 bins too.  Right now, one has some mostly finished compost I am cleaning out, one has all leaves, and one has the mixture of the above things.  I think I will finish filling the mix to the top and cover it.  Turn it once in a while as I get the urge, then start adding greens to the leaf pile?

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Post  OhioGardener on 5/20/2020, 12:14 pm

Emily, horse manure is normally full of weed seeds of various and sundry types, which you don't want in your garden beds. It is best to hot compost the horse manure to kill the weed seeds, and any pathogens that may be in it. Hot composting means that in needs to reach 160°F, and be held there for several days in a row - that heat will destroy both seeds and pathogens. If you layer the horse manure with browns (dried leaves, sawdust, etc.) in 3'x3' or 4'x'4 bin so it is at least 3' tall you will get good heat. The way the 3-bin system works is that you put the horse manure & browns in Bin 1 to allow it to start heating up. Once it reaches peak heat, and begins cooling, then turn it into Bin 2. It will again start to heat up. Once that heating is completed, and it starts cooling down, turn it into Bin 3 to finish composting.


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Post  Emily49 on 5/20/2020, 5:56 pm

ok thanks!  We will do it that way for the manure. 

So I'm still trying to picture the hot process with the kitchen scraps, since it takes a long time to build up 1/4 of the bin with scraps - we average a 32 oz yogurt container a day.  Will it not really heat up until the bin is full? IF the kids are instructed to add 3 containers of leaves when they dump the scraps, it should stay at the right ratio, correct?  Do you only need 2 heat cycles to compost anything that way, or do you do that all season? 


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Post  mollyhespra on 5/20/2020, 10:06 pm

Not directly related to your question but something to consider: when I was first mixing my MM, one of my composts was horse manure. Unfortunately it was full of sawdust from the stalls which, when decomposing, use up a lot of nitrogen. I was told the manure had been composting for at least a year, but the woodchips in the sawdust were still very much woodchips. They hadn't composted at all. I ended up needing to supplement with fertilizer to make up for the lack of nitrogen that first year. So if there's any woodchips in your horse poo make sure you take that into account.

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Post  CitizenKate on 5/20/2020, 11:18 pm

I've had very good results from adding composted horse manure from KSU's "equine unit", but I put it into my own cycle of composting for the next growing season before using it. I don't know how hot it gets, but if I don't see anything sprouting in it by the next spring, I use it in the beds.

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Post  plantoid on 5/21/2020, 2:58 am

Em, look up the " Composting 101 " thread .  It explains about hot composting in a lot of detail and has a lot of member input.

 The Cornel university extension   has a lot of information for their ,  "  18 day hot composting method "  to kill the seeds .

A horses digestive system does not kill them like a ruminants digestive  system does .

 I have stored a large volume of hot composted horse muck with bedding for seven years.  I use it in the beds one bed at a time as that is my preferred way of growing my crops for canning .  It grows airborne weeds better than corn  Laughing

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Post  sanderson on 5/21/2020, 5:34 am

Horse manure was always a component of my 3'x3'x3' bin. My husband would get it from CSU-Fresno. Manure, dry leaves saved from the fall, food waste saved in the freezer or collected culls from the summer farmer markets, 2 or 3 5-gallon buckets of Starbucks, mowed alfalfa hay or pellets, and even the expired pantry items. They would be layered, wet thoroughly and within 2-4 days, reach 160*F. I used the Berkeley 18-day method, turning on the 4th day and then every 2 days for a total of 7 turns. Putting the outside cooler material on the inside and visa versa. I only had room for one bin, so I had to fork everything out onto a large tarp, and back in again. If I had room for a second bin, I would have turned it back and forth.

Just to note, last summer was the last time I made my own compost. A total of 26 batches, 13 in the large bin and 13 in the 80-gallon Lifetime tumbler. I have now joined the ranks of "searchers of bagged compost."



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