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No, I'm not asleep, I was just wondering, What if a person had a vegetable garden one half acre in size and they wanted to tend that garden with a horse or mule and use their manure to give that garden all its fertilizer needs (if thats possible)and not have to buy any additional fertilizer.Also how much more land (besides the garden) would be needed to produce enough feed for the horse or mule for a year? Thanks Eddie
 

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One horse wouldn't produce enough manure. The good thing is you won't have to worry about sterile. The type of tilling done by horse is not what most gardener would recommend (today). Mold plowing . If there was a way to to strip tilling or turn over just 4-6 inches of dirt . I've seen plenty of people with horse who don't have much land to feed their horses. They must supplement with something else , my best guess. I would thing growing straw would be a better solution then manure .
 

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Just living Life
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I don't know about that. LOL Depends on the size of horse to how much manure you get.

How much pasture you need will depend on where you live in the country and the size of your horse(s). Best thing to do is contact your local Ag office.

I have about 8 acres in hay, we have the field hayed and normally just keep half of the bales. In normal years that will do us with the animals we are down too for a full year. This year though because of the unusual amount of snow, we are going to end up buying hay in the next couple of months.
We do run the equines on the field during the winter and unless is snows they do ok on that amount of pasture land. If it snows or is Icey we have to feed hay plus their vitamins. If it gets below 30* we add a little alfalfa pellets or chop to their diet so they can stay warm.
How much you feed your horse also depends on how much work said horse is doing.

I am down to one Icelandic horse, two miniature horses and a B sized Donkey and they produce more than enough manure for the kitchen garden!!

I used to use my trained Miniature mare for scaled down sized Draft work in my garden at the old farm. Lots of tight corners a full sized horse couldn't handle. Liked doing it but it was a lot of work and you have to know what you are doing, even with the small horses.
Have also done Farm work with Draft horses in the past on family farms. Loved doing that kind of work then, but it is a lot of work. Now.. I love my DH's old tractor!

It is great you are asking questions before jumping into owning and working a horse.
I would not be without my horses, spent my whole life with them but they are work.
You might want to check out these places...
http://www.smallfarmersjournal.com/

http://www.ruralheritage.com/
 

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Try Me
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remember, not to put fresh horse manure on your garden. horse manure needs to be composted. Otherwise you will have a crop of whatever hay your horse eats crowding out your veggies. If you use shavings or pellets in your stalls, these can be mixed with the composted manure to provide nitrogen. I always mix it because if you just dump the shaving onto the garden, you may not get an even spread and have areas where the plants are burned.
 

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Just living Life
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During the summer we put the horse manure in a pile, away from the garden. Once the garden is done at the end of Fall...we start putting all manure in the garden itself, plus around Feb we usually get two nice weeks.... DH will take the tractor and move that big pile of manure onto the garden. This all stops about mid to end of march. The manure is left to compost for about 3 months, then he tills with the tractor, as soon as the weather/soil allows, about end of April to first week of May. Then we plant our Kitchen garden.
We haven't had any issues doing it this way.

Drew one of the best places to look into that is the, Small Farmers Journal.
Still a number of folks that use horses to till.

We now use the Tractor to till and we still till deep. Though as we get older... I figure in a few years we will no longer do that method.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks folks, but I was trying to find a way around that high priced fertilizer. I was hoping to feed the horse and the horse would fertilize the garden, but if one horse can't supply that much fertilizer and I got to have two horses to get that much, then it seems that fertilizer is high priced no matter where it comes from. LOL,It sure is rough for the little man to get by this day and time.Which I recon it always has been. Thanks for the info and im going to research a little more,but I'll probably keep using my tractor and bag fert. Thanks, Eddie Buck
 

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Just living Life
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You know Eddie, if you had a way to haul it. Many places that stable horses are willing to "give" away their manure if you want it. Just find out who has horses in your area be it private owners or boarding stables and ask. Or put a want ad up at the local fed stores and such.

Hands down horse manure is the best fertilizer!
 

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One half acre in size can be tilled by hand easier than managed by a horse and plow. Especially if you use some of the easier no-till methods like layer mulching. I use a small mechanical tiller to initially break the sod and then till by hand once everything has gotten started. About an acre to an acre and a half is as much as I can reasonably manage by myself, by hand.

A cow, 20 or so chickens, and 3-5 goats generates just about enough manure for me to top-dress a half acre at a time. If you're starting with good soil fertility then augmenting it with the livestock manure is probably all you'll need for awhile. Beyond that I often get manure from some of my neighbors who have horses (and no gardens).

I like horses and would love to plow with them, but on my small homestead I just can't see the purpose to that right now. It's not economical for me at under 5 acres.
 

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Right now I've got my chickens making my compost. I have 23 chickens in the "Taj Makoop" and they have a very large fenced in area. We took about 5 acres of leaves this past fall and tossed them into the run. All used bedding (from all the animals), kitchen waste, leaves, shredded paper, etc is also put into the pen. This is working great as the chickens don't eat all of it, but they are constantly turning the "pile" and adding lots of nitrogen (poop). We are planning on hauling this to the gardens sometime around March.

The chickens must be pretty happy as everyone keeps complaining that their chickens aren't laying much but I am getting around 19 eggs per day and not adding the supplemental light/heat.
 

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I can't answer your question but a average horse puts out 40-50 lbs. of manure a day.

I have one mare that I swear puts out twice as much as that. My other horses I would say put out around that.

I am glad I cut back on horses this last couple of years. I am the one that has to do all the cleaning and it's hard to keep up with all that poo!

Dora Renee' Wilkerson
 

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Bergere ,

I did go to one links on farm implement for horses (cool beans) . The only thing i don't understand how they can suggest some 3 point hitch implement for a horse . I don't think you can create a raised bed with a horse . (bed shaper) . I not fond of using a mold plow. Not sure why they still being sold with all the damage they do to soils .
 

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Just living Life
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Ususally they will have some kind of Forecart to attach equipment too.
I remember seeing some tilling blades that could be set shollow.
They have a lot.. or should say when I lived back in NH, They had a lot of get togethers, we used to go to the Oxen and Draft horse get gatherings nearly every weekend in the summer. They had some equipment there you don't normally see. I haven't tried to look for it on the internet. Maybe when I have a couple of hours to spare.. will try looking for it.

No, LOL I don't think you could make a raised bed with a horse. VBG
You can make lightly raised rows if you are farming a fairly big patch. Just a matter of finding or making the right equipment.
 

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WOW . Even offer PTO on these Forecarts. Now I'm start to doubt use a walk behind tractor or atv for the garden. Too Cool !!! You got a horse that produces manure and can do most of things i would want to use on a garden / wheat .
 

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you can still use your horses manure to supplement fertilizer. In fact if you start composting it now, you wouldn't have alot for this years garden. However, if left for next years garden and continually added to, you would have enough for the following year. And, as someone else already mentioned many stables will allow you to haul their manure free of charge. That is because it usually costs them to have it hauled away profesionally.

Even only using manure from your horse alone can cut your fertilizer costs by up to half depending on what fertizers you use.
 

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Thanks folks, but I was trying to find a way around that high priced fertilizer. I was hoping to feed the horse and the horse would fertilize the garden, but if one horse can't supply that much fertilizer and I got to have two horses to get that much, then it seems that fertilizer is high priced no matter where it comes from. LOL,It sure is rough for the little man to get by this day and time.Which I recon it always has been. Thanks for the info and im going to research a little more,but I'll probably keep using my tractor and bag fert. Thanks, Eddie Buck
A single horse WILL supply enough for your needs if you properly manage your garden and start with a decent soil base to begin with. There are other composts that you will probably be working with as well.

The problem though is that I am not too sure you actually NEED a horse. It will be easier to tend a half-acre garden without a horse by using human implements than it will be to manage the garden and manage a horse. Think of a horse as another mouth to feed, something else to take care of and monitor and once you get one (and they are VERY easy to get right now...CHEAP) they are near impossible to get rid of since slaughter laws have changed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
A single horse WILL supply enough for your needs if you properly manage your garden and start with a decent soil base to begin with. There are other composts that you will probably be working with as well.

The problem though is that I am not too sure you actually NEED a horse. It will be easier to tend a half-acre garden without a horse by using human implements than it will be to manage the garden and manage a horse. Think of a horse as another mouth to feed, something else to take care of and monitor and once you get one (and they are VERY easy to get right now...CHEAP) they are near impossible to get rid of since slaughter laws have changed.
Yes, I think thats what changed my mind, if I figure the cost of the horse,feed, fence and me not knowing much about working horses (an too old to learn) that fertilizer in the bag, just might be my best bet. lol,When I hollar whoa to the tractor and it don't stop,mash the brakes. That dang horse ain't got no brakes.:eek: Thanks Everyone Eddie
 

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Just living Life
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LOL Eddie, that is why DH lets me handle the horses. He wants something that has machinal brakes and a key to turn it off. VBG He loves his tractor.
 

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what about a goat and a plow? smaller, easier to handle, better in tight spots, still plenty of manure (particularly if you compost the bedding & poop together)
 
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