How Long Does Fresh Horse Manure Need to Age?

Discussion in 'Market Gardens' started by MsPacMan, Feb 5, 2007.

  1. MsPacMan

    MsPacMan Well-Known Member

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    How long does fresh horse manure need to age before it is safe enough to grow vegetables like spinach or lettuce or cabbage?
     
  2. MullersLaneFarm

    MullersLaneFarm Well-Known Member

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    The only manure I use fresh is rabbit.

    There isn't a set length of time. It depends on the makeup of your compost (ratio of brown vs green matter) how often the compost is turned and the heat generated.
     

  3. madness

    madness Well-Known Member

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    Six months to a year depending on the conditions. You want it to be nice and hot in the pile and not too dry (generally not a problem with manure). If there is a lot of straw mixed in with the manure, I think it takes longer. This is not based on anything "scientific" just my experiences.

    I muck out stalls at the end of winter and put the manure in a pile. I use a little of it 6 months later in the late summer when planting my winter squash but the bulk isn't tilled in until the following winter for the spring garden.

    If you want to get some use out of the manure while it's rotting, build a hot frame! I haven't done this yet, but I'm planning on building some this summer so I can use them next winter.
     
  4. Maura

    Maura Well-Known Member Supporter

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    The more air that circulates through the compost, the faster it will break down. If you can rig up a system where the compost is turned regularly, like every couple of minutes, you could have it finished in a week. If you aren't up to building a device, turn the pile as often as you can.
     
  5. mistletoad

    mistletoad Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We turn it and wet it down - if it heats back up it isn't ready yet and we leave it to cool down before turning and wetting again.
     
  6. veggrower

    veggrower Well-Known Member

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    It needs to be fully composted whcih means that when the pile is turned it will not heat up again. The pile needs to be over 145 degrees several times while composting to kill e.coli and other pathenogens. the outsides of the pile need to be turned in and allowed to heat up also.

    When fully composted, the original raw material is unrecognizable--everything has decomposed into black,light textured compost.
     
  7. Terry W

    Terry W Duchess of Cynicism

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    130 degrees F, for three days-- turn, then repeat. Usually three turns will suffice for a "static" pile. If using windrows, the temp must be higher for a longer period of time, since windrows cool off faster. The first method will qualify a compost pile as "organic" as it actually destroys chemical residues that may be incorporated-- ie herbicides, fungicides, etc.
    If worms can survive, the worms will remove chemical residue, as well, but the residue then stays in their tissues... sift out the worms, and one has less chemicals than one started with. vermiculture is SOOOO interesting.....