Square Foot Gardening Forum
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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.

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Square Foot Gardening Forum
[table bgcolor=#000000 height=275][tr][td]
Horse Manure Toplef10Horse Manure 1zd3ho10

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  braisanen 2/13/2021, 1:32 pm

Last year I moved and planted a new garden in an old subdivision in the Chicago area.  The clayey soil was very compacted as I only had a rake and shovel.  Germination was good. The root vegetables had good growth but produced the tiniest leeks, beets, carrots, onions, etc.  I did water and applied 10-20-10 fertilizer, still with disappointing results.

Friends appeared last fall with a trailer full of horse manure from their stable to help amend the soil. They spread a layer of almost 6 inches of composted manure over the garden, and another followed up with a thorough rototilling. I am so blessed to have such generous friends!

Not having used manure compost before, I am concerned that I might have been gifted with too much of a good thing. I read that horse manure is high in nitrogen and really found very little info on application amounts. 
I am excited about another gardening year and welcome any suggestions and advice for year two of my new garden.
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Post  OhioGardener 2/13/2021, 2:00 pm

One of the advantages of raised beds, Braisanen, is that those of us in high clay area can easily create loose, friable soil that will grow great vegetables, including root crops.

If the horse manure was applied last fall, and tilled in, the nitrogen has already been broken down and will be good to go. Hopefully the hay that was fed to the horses was not treated with Grazon, or a similar herbicide.

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Post  donnainzone5 2/15/2021, 5:57 pm

Braisanen,

Have you had a chance yet to read All New Square Foot Gardening, either Edition two or three?  There's no need in our method to amend existing soil.  Instead, we fill raised beds with Mel's Mix, which is a blend of 1/3 fluffed peat moss, 1/3 coarse vermiculite, and 1/3 a combination of 5 different composts.  That composted horse manure could constitute 20% of that blend, but please be aware that horse manure must be thoroughly composted before garden use, and that sometimes it may be contaminated by medications administered to the horses.  If not thoroughly composted, it can also introduce weed seeds to your Mix.
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Post  AtlantaTerry 2/27/2021, 12:56 am

In addition to all that composted horse manure, you might want to add Vermiculite and Peat Moss.

If you have a fishing bait store in your area, drop by and get some Red Wiggler worms. Dig a hole in the manure and add the worms. If the weather is cold, do this on a sunny day and the worms will work their way in.

Have fun!
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Post  sanderson 3/1/2021, 10:35 pm

Atlanta Terry! Hi there! happy hi

Braisanen, One of the great things about SFG is that you can garden without worrying about the quality of the native dirt. We don't use dirt, only compost, peat moss and vermiculite to fill our raised beds, only 6-7" are needed.

If you want to take advantage of your friends' generosity, go ahead and use part of that area for crops like corn, bush / determinate tomatoes, yellow squash and zucchini. Build a couple beds for lettuce, radish, carrots, indeterminate tomatoes, peppers, herbs, etc. The soil that was amended with manure will be nice until that organic matter has broken down. Then it's back to clayey soil. Each year, more organic material will need to be worked back in to the dirt.

Another concern in older neighborhoods, is lead chips and dust from old lead based paint. Using SFG raised beds with Mel's Mix, eliminates any concern of lead poisoning.


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