Manure?

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by caryatid, Jul 15, 2004.

  1. caryatid

    caryatid Well-Known Member

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    I live in the East Mountain area of New Mexico, and my soil is heavily sand. I need to add some organic matter to it, and thought I might ask for some suggestions.

    What kind of manure is the best? What composts the quickest?
    A friend of mine used horse manure, and the next year it was still too "hot" for anything to grow.

    We don't have an actual compost pile. We recently moved here, and all food scraps go to the chickens anyway.

    I've never had to deal with this before- I'm origionally from Indiana, and our soil there was great!
     
  2. suelandress

    suelandress Windy Island Acres Supporter

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    If you're looking for a poop that isn't too hot, try rabbit poop. When I had bunnies, I'd put the stuff right next to the plants (not the pee, just the "pellets")

    I compost right in the garden, so can't help you with composting piles.
     

  3. caryatid

    caryatid Well-Known Member

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    Bunnies! oh darn, I have access to just about every other animal poop. LOL I'll have to look into it.

    Sorry about the compost confusion. I dind't make it clear, I was planning on composting in my garden as well, or composting where my garden is going to be. :)
     
  4. CJ

    CJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I put goat and rabbit manure directly into my beds.
     
  5. OUVickie

    OUVickie Well-Known Member Supporter

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    The former residents on our land raised goats, so I made use of the manure and boy was I pleasantly surprised!
    I have peach tree that produced for the first time this year and it did wonderfully. I decided to try putting some of the manure in after I dug the hole, so, I put a layer of that couple inches thick, then dirt, then set the tree in and filled the hole with dirt, then added a layer of goat manure on top and worked into the soil, watered and let it go, other than keeping it watered during the summer. That tree took off and grew like gang busters and it's 3 yrs old now and very healthy.

    I have a friend that used rabbit manure with her flowers and had the same results. I think the one you have to be the most careful with is chicken manure because it can burn young plants, from what I understand.
    This year I used cow manure, since we have sevend and it's easy to shovel up the dried stuff and break it up to use. It sure has worked great on my plants.
     
  6. caryatid

    caryatid Well-Known Member

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    With cow or horse manure, how long do you need to let it "age" before putting it on the garden? I've always put it on the garden in the fall, and then turned it under abouta week before planting. That worked well in Indiana, but it had disasterous results in the desert last year.
     
  7. OUVickie

    OUVickie Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I don't use fresh manure, it's at least a couple of weeks old before I shovel it up. When it's good and dry it will break up really easy and it's just like working with soil.
    Turning it under is a great idea, but since I have no experience with desert soil I couldn't answer your question with any expertise. Maybe you can call the county extension office in your area and see if they have any suggestions or pamphlets. The soil may need different nutrients in an area like yours. Things could burn up quicker in high heat especially with no shade. Solid manure can burn roots sometimes, so maybe your option would be to use manure tea, then you could just feed the plants when watering.
    Hope you can find what you need. :)
    Vickie
     
  8. kathy H

    kathy H kathyh

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    When I moved to my land which is sandy loam I put in four cinderblock raised beds. # 1 I just put goat bedding over top , #2 I grew rye over winter and turned it in in spring, #3 I added chipped hores manure and rototiled it in # 4 I did layers of leaves and peat and straw. # 3 and 4 are the best, the horse manure realy holds the water in.
     
  9. We used Alpaca manure with great results,doesnt have to aged either.
     
  10. cowboy joe

    cowboy joe Hired Hand

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    I vote for rabbit manure. Rabbits are fairly easy to keep (check out the rabbit forum). I keep a compost pile for the straw and everything else but the bunny droppings go right on the garden or in a separate pile until needed. Biggest problem I have is everyone in the family wanting some for their gardens! Good the the little critters make more, lots more, daily.
     
  11. AnnaS

    AnnaS Well-Known Member

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    An alternative to animal manures to add organic matter to sand is "green manures"- crops grown then plowed or tilled under to break down in the soil. Buckwheat is ready to plow down in 6 weeks and will also suppress weeds. Any of the legumes will add substantial amounts of nitrogen as well as organic matter. I think cowpeas might grow in your area.
    I'm growing on 98.2% sand so I've been learning a lot about green manures! I put in field peas in one section this spring and you can look out in the garden and see exactly where those peas were. Buckwheat as a plow-down is very popular here and I'll be putting that in late summer.
     
  12. Idahofarmergal

    Idahofarmergal Well-Known Member

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    Green manures are wonderful for sandy soil, and they suppress weeds. Most manure is full of weed seeds. I added horse manure to 3/4 of my garden last year, and have horrible weeds there. Where I cover cropped I have much less weeds and fertile soil. In the heat of the dessert you need lots of organic matter, and cover crops add that. May I suggest a soil test? I've heard that dessert soil is very alkaline. Have you added anything to balance your soil in minerals? It makes a huge difference. I use a $27 soil test that you can order from the Fedco catalog (fedco.com), and it it awesome. I started a new farm a little over a year ago on very poor, unbalanced, sandy, low organic matter soil. I followed the soil test recomendations, and you should see my garden this year! It's gorgeous and lush. And I saved more than $27 by not adding things I didn't need, which I would not have known about were it not for the soil test.

    Rich manures, like bunny, lama, sheep, goat, composted chicken, etc, are great for fertilizing, but do not add appreciable amounts of organic matter to a sandy soil. Start a leguminous cover crop now and till it in next spring, and it will make a world of difference.
     
  13. kabri

    kabri Almst livin the good life

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    We use composted sheep manure, mixed in with their straw bedding and grass hay. We only compost it because there is too much to put into the garden! I've used fresh sheep manure before with wonderful results. But the composted hay/straw helps add the orgaic material to the soil as well. We've NEVER added any sort of fertilizer besides this in 10 years. Snap peas were about 7 feet tall this year before they fell over (fence was only 5 ft tall!) Still produced the peas though!

    Also, the composting helps to cut down on any weeds that are in with the manure!