Welcome to the scoop on poop or if you prefer – Manure. This week is a great time to apply manure to your garden. If you are a veteran to manure and its uses you may have already composted a goldmine of manure on your property and are ready for application. Those of you new to this, we are going to share the benefits of organic gardening with manure and show how one animal’s trash may be another plants treasure – This plant, in turn, will thank you with abundant crops.
The task this week: Apply a few inches of cow manure over the vegetable garden – This is such a great time to do this application as both weather and gravity will aid you in the natural tilling process. Filling your vegetable space with rich minerals and nutrients such as Nitrogen, Phosphates, and Potassium while also preparing for abundant crops!
Why use cow manure?
If you do not live on a farm or know someone who does, chances are you’re far from a manure connoisseur. Manure to an organic gardener is akin to gold, and in this trade, it is not something just left lying around. Cow manure will be the easiest to find. You do not want to apply fresh manure to your vegetable garden unless you have at least 120 days from application to planting, as there may be pathogens present. Cow manure purchased at a local nursery such as www.daytonnurseries.com is prepackaged and has been through the composting process so it is free of pathogens.
Why apply the manure now?
While the temperatures are still freezing it is quite easy to walk around the garden space and apply the prepackaged bags of manure over the frozen soil. As the temperatures go through freeze and thaw, and we receive precipitation, this will naturally work the manure into the soil with no backbreaking tilling on your end.
What is the scoop on cow manure vs. other?
All of the manure mentioned thus far contains the three most talked about nutrients N-P-K.
N = Nitrogen = stems and leaves
P = Phosphorus = roots, flowers and fruit
K = Potassium = health and disease resistance
Each contains these nutrients at different levels. Many experts have written and spoken about manure in the garden and most would rate them on the following scale:
- Chicken and Pigeon
- Sheep and Goat
Why is Cow manure at the bottom of the list?
Chicken and Pigeon manure are hard to acquire large quantities of and are more likely to burn the plantings as they grow through the soil medium because of the high N levels. It is easy to over do.
Rabbit manure is also hard to get in large quantities though it has a higher N level than the others below, as rabbits are voracious eaters of roughage.
Sheep and goat manure are the next best – also hard to come by but if you have a source it is virtually odorless this time of year and naturally packaged for pelletized use.
Horse manure is a great source, it breaks down quicker than cow manure and it is easier to acquire than most, though it only comes in bulk.
Cow manure has lower N levels than some mentioned above, however you can apply more. It is safely composted, easily acquired, prepackaged and easy to apply.
Remember – Good manure is nothing to B.S. about!