Manure Guide

When to Spread What

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Manure creates nutrient-rich, moisture-retaining soil for your plants.

The most common sources of manure are cows, horses, sheep, pigs, goats, and poultry. 

(Other animal waste is generally not recommended as manure or fertilizer today.)

See our chart below for the best type of manure for your garden—and the best time to apply.


Type of Garden Best Type of Manure Best Time to Apply
Flower cow, horse early spring
Vegetable chicken, cow, horse fall, spring
Potato or root crop chicken, cow, horse fall, spring
Acid-loving plants
(blueberries, azaleas, mountain laurel, rhododendrons)
cow, horse early fall or not at all



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question about how frequently I have to use the cow manure

I live in south Florida and was wondering how often can I use cow manure on the garden?



Down and Dirty

Hi, Yania: You would think that a substance as simple as cow manure would bring with it a simple answer to this question, but in fact cow manure is complicated, along with this answer. It’s important to age your manure (usually at least 6 months, but in any event until the smell is pretty much gone and you can crumble it in your hands). In humid South Florida, at the very least your manure might need to be kept dry from rain while it is aging. New, un-aged, or “green” manure is usually just too strong to apply directly around plants, and is especially harsh on any leaves, stems, etc., with which it might come into contact. If you have properly aged cow manure, there is usually little reason to apply 2 to 3 inches of it more than once a year, usually a week or two before planting (and then worked into the soil). Of course, in a year-round planting environment, you could halve the amount and double the applications. As with many things, too much of a good thing is bad, and such is the case with manure. Of course, you will find some who have great success with applying green manure constantly – but not many, wethinks. The key is to apply aged cow manure well, not necessarily often. Thanks for asking!

How long should horse manure

How long should horse manure set before putting it on your flower gardens. If your not sure of the length of time it's been setting, is there a consistancy to look for

Hi, Runaroan: It really needs

Hi, Runaroan: It really needs to age at least 2 months to be safe for your plants. If you just letting it lie outside in piles, then you need to turn it and rake it apart occasionally to open it up to air and water. You can also compost it in a sealed (more or less) pile. When it is ready, it will be crumbly in your hand, like a brownie or piece of dense cake. Good luck!

My garden has tons of weeds

My garden has tons of weeds from the horse manure that we mixed into the soil. I can't keep up with the weeding. Is there anything I can do to get rid of them?

It's best to mix in well-aged

It's best to mix in well-aged horse manure. The heat produced during the aging process will kill most of the weed seeds.
To get rid of the weeds that are growing you can remove or cut them down before they set seed or you can cover the entire area with back plastic and leave it on the ground until you are ready to plant next year.

i clean out my chicken coop 3

i clean out my chicken coop 3 weeks ago from the winter months 2015. i have 10 chickens . my tomtoes plants are about 20 inch tall planted in ground about month ago. can add 1 Dutch trowel worth of chicken manure about 4 inch from the stem of each tomato planted just lay it on top of clay soil. and put some in middle of my melons , n cukes n zucchini hills, we are living in south west TN.

Chicken poop must be properly

Chicken poop must be properly aged or composted before it is used in the garden.

Hello, We have access to


We have access to both hot manure mixed with sawdust, and 6 month aged manure. We would like to make a compost pile for our new apple orchard to spread this fall. So far we also have a pile (20 x 20) of manure, leaves, and apple pommace that composted slightly over the winter. We will be adding seaweed, coffe grounds, and hay. We just got a wheeler of 6 month manure which we were thinking of splitting between spreading on a raspberry patch and adding to our pile, but do we need to add hot manure to the pile as well to encourage the decomposition of the apple/veggie scraps and leaves? We don't need this pile to function until fall, but we are not sure of how long it would take with aged manure, and are also worried about bacteria in the apples. Additionally we are not sure about the nutritional value of the manure after it has aged 1 year (by the fall)



For best advice, we'd suggest

For best advice, we'd suggest that you contact your county's Cooperative Extension. We're guessing that this might be:
If not, you can find yours by going to:
You might also be interested in the following articles on composting:

I have the opportunity to

I have the opportunity to help myself to as much aged (SERIOUSLY aged) chicken and cow manure as I want from underneath my neighbor's 130 year-old barn. This stuff has to be 60-100 years's totally dry and powdery with no smell whatsoever! Is it still good? Do I have to mix anything in with it before adding it to my sheet-mulched flower beds? (I am also layering in some fresh seaweed.) And how much poo is too much?

You are getting a gift, Kate.

You are getting a gift, Kate. Use the old manure at will, mixing into or piling on existing soil. Some of its nutrient value may be diminished but it is still a good soil conditioner. The seaweed is also wonderful (no need to rinse it, btw). You'll have a wonderful year!

I have a kennel. I was

I have a kennel. I was wondering if the manure from the dogs would have any value on anything. I have a friend who used it in his flower garden and the flowers were great. What is your take?

Dogs and cats are more likely

Dogs and cats are more likely to carry pathogens that are harmful to humans. I would not use it on a garden for human consumption. If you use it for flowers/ornamentals, that is probably OK.

Alpaca poo is the BEST! You

Alpaca poo is the BEST! You haven't mentioned it at all and it is by far the best fertilizer ever! We raise alpacas and have learned it is the best fertilizer for our gardens, plants, trees and lawns. It never burns. The plants grown when fertilized by alpaca poo grow big, strong and healthy. Our vegetables - especially tomatoes are incredible.
Please include alpaca poo in your listing. Research and you will find it to be one of the best. Thanks!!

What is the best manure based

What is the best manure based compost for growing baby portabella mushrooms inside your house?

I have a question that does

I have a question that does not pertain to veggie gardens, but I hope you can help.
Last fall I aire.ted my lawn, then used mulching blades to shred the leaves leaving them on the lawn. Here in Pa. (Valley Forge area)we had a pretty tough winter, mainly low teen temps and soil compaction from snow.

My plan of attack is to airate again then broadcast a mixture of natural manure (bagged type)and a small amount of sand to the mix to help keep the soil loose. Is this a recommended application or am I just thinking way outside the box?

Thank you all in advance for any feedback, even if my strategy is more detrimental than benificial for a nice plush lawn.

Jim Mac

Hi Jim, It sounds like you

Hi Jim,
It sounds like you have a good plan for your lawn. Instead of manure you can use compost and also add some corn gluten meal to the compost/sand mix. The compost will help improve soil structure and the corn gluten will fertilize the grass and kill new weed seeds.

Hello! I just bought chicken

Hello! I just bought chicken manure from a farm. I was told it was composting in the barn for a year, and then heaped into a pile on the field over winter. Is it safe to add to my garden and flower beds, or should it be composted longer? Also there were quite a few whole eggs in the compost, hope its ok to add those into the veggi garden, they sure stunk when they were cut open with the shovel. Is there a chance that the rotten eggs would spread Salmonella into my soil?

Hi, Rena, An aged pile of

Hi, Rena, An aged pile of chicken manure is manna from heaven but the whole eggs in it are a different matter. Our sources indicate that salmonella should not be a problem, however, the rank odor of the yolks may attract vermin such as rodents.
Egg shells are beneficial any compost pile, but yolks not be included in cold composting. Some sources say that hot compost, on the other hand, can take yolks, if they are exposed to the heat for awhile—say, a few months and are mixed into the pile. So continue to compost the yolks, if you have not yet spread that portion of your pile.
The simplest thing is to not include the yolks at all; if there are any more whole eggs, remove them.
It would be interesting to ask your source farmer for an opinion on this, too.

We've got some raised beds

We've got some raised beds filled with composted horse manure. We put the composted manure into the beds because we needed to pick it up out of the driveway. The composted manure is now four years old. Is it old enough that I can plant directly in the manure? I'm worried that it is still too hot, but it's four years old, so maybe it's broken down enough. We're looking to plant some herbs, some kale and chard, and maybe some tomatoes.

Four year old manure should

Four year old manure should in theory be very well-rotted, but composting conditions vary so if it still looks like manure then I’d avoid planting into it. If it’s dark and crumbly like compost then it should be fine, although might be worth mixing some compost into it to get a more balanced mix of nutrients. Hope this helps!

are there any fertilizer for

are there any fertilizer for button mushroom while in the growing bed ?

Usually white button

Usually white button mushrooms are grown in compost or aged manure and there is no need for additional fertilizers.

I'm wondering if this would

I'm wondering if this would work: House 5-7 chickens on one half of a roughly (140 x 70 ft) area. The other half, would have vegetables planted. Then, the following year, I would swap the chickens to the other side, till the manure from the chickens into the ground, then plant vegetables where the chickens were the year prior. Would that allow for sufficient breakdown of the manure? I do plan to plant root crops and lettuce, but I also think I could be strategic with placing the hens in subsections, to allow maximum time (9-10 months) break from the chickens for the area I plan to use for these crops. I'm envisioning sort of a moveable coop so the hens wouldn't stay in the exact same 10x10 subsection (for example) for too long. Any suggestions on how to best make this work? My thought is that the concentration of fresh manure in any one area would be so miniscule that it shouldn't be an issue so long as I give that 9+ month window for the root crops. Would this method likely work?

Hi, I have access to manure

Hi, I have access to manure that has been sitting in a field for six months, maybe a little longer. Is it aged well enough to mix with mulch and use in a raised bed? Do I need to actually compost it instead of just age it? How would you suggest mixing it up to use in raised beds and containers? Since it is over six months old I am hoping I can simply mix half manure and half mulch (from fallen trees) and plant in that. Or should I mix in something else. Here the ground is hard clay so I'm doubting I should grow anything using that!

Manure needs to be extremely

Manure needs to be extremely well-rotted before use--either "aged" on its own, or ideally mixed with compost. This process takes a minimum of a year, and preferably two. If applying on the surface as a mulch only, and not planting into it, it could be used after being aged for just 6 months but you might find that it tends to throw up weed seeds.

Hey guys I am thinking of

Hey guys I am thinking of starting a composting business. Im intereasted in horse maure, chicken manure, alpaca manure and goat/sheep manure. Where can I find information on manure? What the make up is? What plants thrive on it? How to compost it correctly? The best time of year to apply it? Things of that nature. I am reasearching to make sure things are correct when I compost and sell. Any information would be great.


We would suggest contacting

We would suggest contacting your local cooperative extension to understand composting regulations in your area. They may also offer a course. In the meantime, here an example of a compost marketing guide:

I put the chicken manure

I put the chicken manure around my 4-foot tree. Is that okay? I am scared that my plant will die.

Hi, Justin: Uh, this is a

Hi, Justin: Uh, this is a little tough to answer without knowing how old the manure is, how much you used, the type of tree, where you are, etc. In general, though, you should let chicken manure age for at least 6 months. We usually then put it in a metal garbage can filled with at least 3 parts water to 1 part manure and let that steep (with some occasional stirring) for a month or two to make a solution, which we apply moderately. If you have a big mound of chicken manure around your little tree, we suggest you pull it off at least somewhat, lest it provide too much of a shock.

can I mix lime and horse

can I mix lime and horse manure together in the fall for my vegetable gardenand then cover it with a blue tarp

We suggest that you add the

We suggest that you add the manure to the soil in the fall and then test the soil in the spring to see if you really need to add lime. If the pH level is below 6, the soil is too acidic, and you need to add ground limestone.

Have you heard of an organic

Have you heard of an organic product called Beju? It is a pelletized manure product that can be planted right in with the seed to start feeding and producing a healthy root system and not burn it.

Sir/Maam, we are having

Sir/Maam, we are having research in our study. Is it possible that we can use the fermented goat manure as pesticide?

hi, I am an Iranian student,

I am an Iranian student, my question is that can i mix poultry manure with wormy compost? Do they have bad influence on each other and on nutrients?
thanks for your help

hi, I am an iranian student

I am an iranian student and i search about manure. if i mix poultry manure with wormy compost, do they have negative influence on each other and on the absorbtion of nutrients?
Thanks for your help

We've used rabbit manure for

We've used rabbit manure for three years and am very very very pleased on every front! We worked the manure (with urine and hay from the cages) into the ground early season and Viola'! Also make a 5 gallon bucket of rain run-off "tea" for watering. It's the only manure we'd use fresh out of the chute!
Good luck, stay dirty!

Hi Jennifer. I run a farm and

Hi Jennifer. I run a farm and have a very productive garden raised solely on rabbit manure. I have always used it for my soil amendment and it has never let me down. It’s not good luck, just good fortune that you have such gold in your back yard. Keep playing in the dirt!
Kelly Back 2 Basics Farm Nampa Idaho

I have a new raised garden,

I have a new raised garden, and sent my husband to the farmers co-op store for a couple truckloads of topsoil to fill it. Well, this soil smells and feels like it came off a hog farm. It seriously reeks. Is it safe to grow vegetables and herbs in? I am worried about bacteria growing in this dirt that can make my kids sick... e coli and such. So far I have planted tomatoes, herbs, and fruit-bearing plants, but I'd like some carrots and other root veggies too.

I want to start a compost

I want to start a compost pile. I need to know how to build something to put the compost in. I'm also doing a separate one for manure. It's best to leave the manure in an open pile right? The horse manure I'm getting from a friend is 2 yrs old. This is for flower beds. Not for vegetable gardens. Also for rose bushes and for our trees. I would appreciate any info you can give me.

Thanks, Rose Hunt

I'm rather new to gardening

I'm rather new to gardening and I need a question answered. I planted lettuce and some other vegetables in my garden this year and my soil is a little rough. I bought some enriched planting soil and a manure/humus mixture. I turned the soil, then added some of the manure mix to each hole where I planted the lettuce, thinking it would make it grow well. I was correct, it's growing like crazy but is it safe to eat it? I've read so much about contamination since then so I'm very unsure what to do. Any help is appreciated.

It may help to read the

It may help to read the comments below. We advise letting manure "age" 6 months to a year before using in a food garden.

I was kind of hoping that

I was kind of hoping that because it is the bagged variety and not fresh that maybe it was a different answer. Isn't the store bought bagged stuff generally aged a bit?

I wouldn't make any

I wouldn't make any assumptions. Ask the store and make sure it's composted manure.

My kids and I started

My kids and I started zucchini indoors because we had an unusually long winter. Within a couple of days of sowing the seeds, seedlings emerged. Not only were we surprised they came out so quickly, we were surprised to find mushrooms growing in the containers as well. The mushrooms are no longer as prolific as there were initially and the zucchini plants are huge and look healthy and we are going to plant them outdoors. Is there any possibility that the wild mushrooms contaminated the zucchini? Will it be safe to eat the zucchini? Have no idea what kind of mushrooms they were - some looked like little tadpoles standing up some had flat lacy tops on thin stalks - they’re were all skinny and I pulled some of them out and tossed them. We used a Miracle Grow potting mix that is supposed to be suitable for vegetables and we are assuming the mushrooms were somehow already in the soil mix. Obviously we are not experts at gardening. Appreciate your advice. Thank you.

I was wondering if duck poop

I was wondering if duck poop was good for flower beds?

Absolutely, duck manure works

Absolutely, duck manure works well for flower beds.

Hi I have got some aged (not


I have got some aged (not sure how aged though) cow manure for my vegetable garden. It is mostly powdery but there are some clumps and hay and I don't know really know how old it is.. but I think it is at least a year old. It has just sat out in the open for a while and not been turned or anything.

I am just wondering, if I spread it on my vegetable garden now will it be safe to plant straight away? I am also going to plant a berry patch (including strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, gooseberries and anything else I can get my hands on), if I spread manure in this area now, can I plant there straight away also?

Thanks for your help!

PS.. I'm planting EVERYTHING

PS.. I'm planting EVERYTHING in my vegetable garden- root vegetables and above ground crops- tomatoes, peppers, etc. Thank you!

Wow! Sounds like you're

Wow! Sounds like you're chomping at the bit, or cud, or something, to get going! Love the enthusiasm! Sounds to us like your powdery stuff is ready to go, but we'd mix it 50-50 with some good soil in case it is on the young side of being old. Sift out, pick out, or fork out your straw and clumps and give them a little more time by themselves.

Thanks Almanac Staff..

Thanks Almanac Staff.. chomping at the bit is putting it lightly. It has been a long & cold winter! ;) Thanks so much for your advice.. I will do as you suggest!

So when it comes to manure

So when it comes to manure can I just go out to my dads and just scoop up some out of the pasture? Thanks have a wonderful day !

is there a good way or a bad

is there a good way or a bad way to mix the manure if so what is the best way to?

We're not sure what you mean

We're not sure what you mean by mix. You do need to let manure "age" 6 months to a year before using in a food garden. Just turn the pile once in a while. Put it in a compost bin to age faster. And if you do mix in some carbons such as straw, it will cook faster. You'll know when it's aged as it gets powdery.

Not quite certain how old/new

Not quite certain how old/new this forum(Manure Guide)is but, I'm in the NYC area and have two small(8' x 4')raised garden beds which I built and, am using to grow vegetables. Being fairly new to gardening(about 5yrs. now), I've been trying my hand out on a mixture of both organic and non organic(organic being the most recent). I have also been vermicomposting for both vermiculture and castings. To make a long story short, I've recently been introduced to a source of fresh rabbit manure and have read up on all the great benefits it has for both your soil and harvest. I've been told rabbit manure is a "cold" fertilizer and it can be added directly to the garden beds fresh. However my source ships her product moist(urine). I have been feeding it to my indoor worm bin(18gal. tote)with little to no ill affects(other than heating up my bin for a few days)if incorporated in small increments along with either fruit or veggie scraps. The worms seem to gooble it right up. My question is will the rabbit manure have any ill affects to my garden soil if added fresh("cold" fertilizer)with some garden lime added? or, should I dry it out some first? Will I need to wait a certain period of time before incorporating into my garden soil if it is vermicomposted?

We have heard only positive

We have heard only positive comments about rabbit manure. It can be added fresh to the soil and the pellets will release the nutrients over time. There are no ill affects to the soil or your plants. If the pellets are very wet you can dry them a bit before using, but it is OK to add them as is and just mix them into the soil.

I have came up with a mix of

I have came up with a mix of poultry, another organic material and 75% water. A very nice mixture that works very well on flower beds and vegetable gardens. I spent a few years coming up with this solution and testing. Now that I have learn and managed the amounts it's a great feeder for my garden and beds.

Is it ok to plant a garden in

Is it ok to plant a garden in striaght cow/goat manure that has aged for 3 or 4 years or do i need to mix it with other soil?

You should mix in some soil

You should mix in some soil and compost and perhaps even peat, depending on what you are planning to grow. You want loose, rish soil that is well aerated, not dense, compacted soil. This should not reduce the "potency" of your manure.

Yes that is fine, and you do

Yes that is fine, and you do not have to mix it with anything.

Is it a bad idea to till

Is it a bad idea to till manure into my garden in January? Would I be better off doing it in the spring?

(I am doing a vegetable

(I am doing a vegetable garden)

Cured (not fresh) manure is

Cured (not fresh) manure is an excellent soil amendment if it has been properly composted to kill weed seeds. You need the ground to be soft enough to till. We till organic amendments into gardens in the fall to give soil microorganisms an early start on converting organic matter to humus. Another tilling in spring will thoroughly mix in the amendments.

I have 2 horses and 3/4 of an

I have 2 horses and 3/4 of an acre where they graze a couple hours a day - the balance of the day they are moved to dry lots. Can I spread the dry lot manure on the pasture every few days? The pasture is divided into 3 sections so each area has a growth time when horses are not on it.

There are more variables than

There are more variables than we can cover here, but our sources confirm that horses prefer not to (read: will not) graze areas soiled by manure.
Management of manure is important to the prevention of "horse-sick" pastures; these are a result of the smell and avoidance of pastures soiled by manure.
Rotational grazing, or limited grazing, such as you practice, is key, but it may be that your horses produce more manure than you can effectively handle in the space you have. To faciliate manure removal and improve the health and productivity of your pastures, one source suggests a "sacrifice area." This would be a small enclosure (paddock, corral, pen, turnout area—approx. 1000 sq ft per horse) in which to confine the horses at critical times. Here you can control feeding as well as remove manure deposits more easily.
We hope this helps.

yea that's fine just don't

yea that's fine just don't cake it up in piles

was wondering if composted

was wondering if composted manure tht issold at agway and/or ace hardware stores good for my garden...i understand about a 40# bag will suffice for about a 10 x 10 garden plot...thanks...peace

Yes, those stores carry

Yes, those stores carry compost. The amount you need depends on your soil and garden plans. In general, you'll want to cover the area with at least once inch per season. For a 10 x10-foot garden, that would be 300 pounds of compost.

Why don't you list rabbit

Why don't you list rabbit manure as useful in gardening? My neighbor has used our home grown rabbit manure for 10 years & his plants, shrubs & trees are flourishing. Our own trees are growing & producing fruit, etc,. And our gardens did great with it.

When composted and aged, the

When composted and aged, the manure of just about any farm animal has value in the garden. (Some sources suggest that pig and wild omnimore, as well as dog and cat, manure should not be used.) The animal manures that we list are the more commonly available.
When you use any animal manure, be aware that nutrient levels can vary (that of rabbits, for example, is high in nitrogen, as is that of poultry). Nutrient levels impact plant growth.
Also consider that the manure of non-ruminants, including rabbits and horses, may contain viable weed seeds. The manure of cows and deer and elk is less likely to contain viable weed seeds because they chew the cud and digest the material that they consume.
We hope this helps!

Several questions re

Several questions re manure.
1.Is factory produced fertiliser e.g. Growmore as good as horse manure.
2.If a manure is left out for too long to mature will the goodness leak out render it useless.
3.Which is best, pure horse manure or manure when its mixed with straw. Thanks.

Hi, Ray, We can't comment on

Hi, Ray, We can't comment on particular brands; we simply do not have experience with them. Check the bag/package for ingredients and consult the vendor or people who have used it.
As for age and effectiveness...if you're talking years and years, maybe—but make no mistake about it: that's still good stuff! If you've got really, really old manure, you could mix it with some that is not so old—but aged a least a year (that's the safe minimum); that which is too "new" would be too "hot" and potentially burn plants.
Re straw, one of our editors uses in her compost pile cow manure that the farmer was mixed with straw (and even wood chips) when it was swept out of the barn. In her compost, which also includes kitchen scraps, the straw and chips both break down and effectively disappear. It might depend somewhat on how much straw, but in general, it's not a problem and helps to retain some moisture and aerate the mix.
For more information on horse and other animal manure, go to
We hope this helps!

can I spread a thin layer of

can I spread a thin layer of bagged cow manure(from store) in my vegetable potted plants that are still young?

Thank you :)

Bagged cow mature bought from

Bagged cow mature bought from the store is turned into your soil at spring planting time and also spread into the garden in the fall or winter to amend the soil.
Note: it must be manure that was aged for 6 months and free of weeds and seeds.
When you spread the aged mature in the spring, play it safe and till at least one month before planting crops.
You'll want a ratio of 40 lbs. per 100 square feet, turned into the top 6 to 9 inches.

Greetings, we have a hay barn

Greetings, we have a hay barn that has a lot of old cow manure. Is it possible for manure to be too old to use? It is likely 10 years or more old. Thank you!

You know, we think that this

You know, we think that this should be terrific for planting, especially if it's several years old. Just don't fall in getting it out . . .

I am a new gardener and I try

I am a new gardener and I try to do my home work before I do something with my garden but this time I didn't I did my home work after the fact which is I place fresh horse manure around my pepper plants and around my carrots. Well I guess that is wrong it needs to be composted for a year so I went to my garden a couple hours after placing around my plants and removed all manure from the surface where I Had placed it. Now my question is is my vegetables still going to be ok to eat. I worry about the E. coli. Any ideas or thought would be great thanks guys :)

All is not lost—or so it

All is not lost—or so it seems. You don't indicate how long the fresh manure was on/near your plants. Or, depending on where you are, how mature the plants are at this point in the season. Assuming that the manure was not on long enough to burn the plants (or rain or hand watering was not sufficient to cause the manure's "hot" juices, if you will, to penetrate the soil and burn the plants' roots, AND the plants have a way to go before picking (say, a couple of months since it's only June)...seems like a lot, huh? should be ok to eat them.
As for the manure you removed, you didn't discard it, did you? Because it can be the base of a magical compost pile. Good luck! And remember, every garden, every year is an experiment of some sort.

Thanks for responding to me.

Thanks for responding to me. Ok so my pepper plants that I placed the horse manure around,( which was about 3 cups worth between the peppers and carrots) have been producing peppers for a while so they are pretty mature and I only left the manure around the base for a couple of hours because I started reading about how it wasn't good to use fresh manure as for my carrots I did pull those out :( even though I removed all manure. I did not water so it was dry in my beds. Now I did plant some new young tomato plants and I turned over the bed and mixed the manure in that bed and I did leave the tomatoes in that bed for a couple of days and then I decided to pull them and place them in another bed because I was worried. Do you think I could of left the tomatoes in that bed or should I let the manure break down for 3 months? I didn't use a lot of manure in the tomatoe bed just a few small shevel loads. I also live in Florida temps right now are in the high 90s

It was a good idea to move

It was a good idea to move the tomatoes to a different bed. Let the manure age for a couple of months before planting again. Make sure the manure is mixed into the soil and not sitting on top.

Lately I`v been seeing people

Lately I`v been seeing people using manure tea. Just wondering your thoughts on this?

Manure tea is great for the

Manure tea is great for the garden and seeps quickly to the roots of the plants. We mentioned manure tea in the 2010 edition of The Old Farmer's Almanac and included a recipe (p. 183).

Hi,i tilled

Hi,i tilled goat,chicken,horse and cow manure into my garden this past fall and have done very well on my tomatoes so far.I have more heaped now that has been sitting for 2 months and is already making ash inside.Would it be safe to add it in August to my fall garden for cabbages and mixed greens or would it be to much to soon ? This is a new garden spot,it has always been wooded with oaks forever until last fall.Thank you for your time.

Side dress your fall garden

Side dress your fall garden with some of the manure. At the end of the season till in the rest for next year's garden.

We just tilled up a new area

We just tilled up a new area for a garden. It was a good size plot that at one time was a horse arena (so loads of sand had been brought in at one time). We did add a couple loads of manure mixed with hay. I would say it was at least 50/50 hay/manure. Would you say we are taking a risk planting within the next couple weeks? What do you consider "hot" manure? Would we be better off just planting vegetables that grow their fruit above ground (tomatoes/peppers/corn/pumpkins) -vs- carrots/onions/beets? Any help or suggestions would be appreciated! ;)

In the chart, I didn't see

In the chart, I didn't see sheep manure - is this not recommended?... It is popular in stores and it is cheaper then cow manure.

Usually sheep manure from the

Usually sheep manure from the farm is not mixed with straw like horse or cow manure. It is drier and takes longer to break down into the soil. But, it has a much less odor than cow or chicken manure and is easier to handle.

So...I screwed up. Dumped a

So...I screwed up. Dumped a 1cubic ft bag into my 20 cubic feet of first time planting soil. Also, 3cft of aged cow manure, about 3 cft of the decomposed granite we have in the yard here and about 4cft of regular "organic" gardening soil mix. Plan was to ph test in a couple days but after reading this I'm worried about burning roots with nitrogen. Should I test it? Should I spread the whole mix out in piled to age a bit? Thanks.

I use duck and horse manure

I use duck and horse manure and my garden did wonders last year so I am doing it again this year! So glad it's spring time!

What about donkey poo? we

What about donkey poo? we live on a old dairy farm and have great soil buy my fil dumped a bunch of donkey poo and straw in my veggie garden should i til it in or remove it.
Thank u

Sure, you can use donkey

Sure, you can use donkey manure, too. But do not put any kind of raw manure right on your garden beds or you risk disease. If you use raw manure, it must be tilled in 120 days prior to harvest of a crop that comes in contact with the soil (root crops) or 90 days prior to harvest if the product does not have direct contact with the soil (aboveground leaves or fruits).

I am composting my chicken

I am composting my chicken manure, will it compost in bags and if so, how long does it have to be bagged before it can be used?

Although we have heard of

Although we have heard of putting leaves in (plastic) bags in the fall to hasten decomposition, we are not familiar with the (any material) bag idea for manure. Leaves do not contain the acidic components that are found in animal manure so it is relatively simple.
It would seem as though hot manure alone might "eat" through the bag before too very long. Manure mixed with existing compost and put into a bag might be a little "weaker"...but other conditions are not known (your weather, the moisture level, and perhaps other things). Where did you get this idea? It might be worth your while to ask the source.
A final thought would be to compost your existing chicken manure the usual way (in an outdoor pile) this season and acquire manure for this growing season elsewhere. Then next year, you will have a ready and reliable batch.
Sorry we can not be of more help with this.

I am using raised beds this

I am using raised beds this year- all 12 inches deep, 4 feet wide, and the length varies from 4' to 8'. I also have fresh chicken manure with some pine shavings in it. How much of the chicken manure should I put in each bed to mix with garden soil and how long does the manure need to set before I can mix it in to the beds? Thanks!

All fresh animal manure

All fresh animal manure should be left to age, or mature, for about a year before using it. When fresh, it is often called "hot" because the various acidic ingredients in it will "burn" (kill) plants. Mixing fresh manure into a compost pile might knock one or two months off that time, but this is not an exact science; it depends on other things, such as the other ingredients in the pile, frequency of turning the pile, the pile's moisture, even weather (compost ingredients don't break down well when they are frozen).
Similarly, the matter of how much you use is less about the size of your garden bed and more about the quality of the soil. You need to check the soil's pH and, separately, the chicken manure's nitrogen. You can buy pH kits for a few dollars (max) at garden supply stores. You might want to consult the local cooperative extension about testing for nitrogen to see what other nutrients you need to balance it. Remember that different plants need different nutrients, so the fertilizer balance will depend on what you are going to grow.
That said...if you are a beginner gardener and all of this sounds complicated, you could take a chance and use good compost in your beds, sprinkle and mix in a small amount (a surface layer, worked in) of chicken manure that is at least one year old, and fertilize with a mixture that has low-to-minimum nitrogen.
Gardening is an experiment from year to year; no matter how carefully you calculate and measure, something could happen that is out of your control. (Think pests, disease, weather...) Take notes, plot your garden so that you can rotate your vegetables next year, and have fun!

We use lama manure on our

We use lama manure on our garden. It never has burned our plants. We usually put it on in the fall and till it in, but we have done it in the spring with no burning. Great results:)

Assuming it is of desirable

Assuming it is of desirable quality (possessing the proper odor, moisture content, organic and ash matter, pH, and other characteristics), 1 to 2 inches of mushroom soil tilled 4 to 6 inches into the existing soil, can supply nutrients for a year, possibly longer.
We hope this helps.

How long will mushroom soil

How long will mushroom soil last in a vegetable garden until there is no more nutrient value? How often should it be applied?

I have a fairly large chicken

I have a fairly large chicken coop that has been inactive for a year and I am looking to sell the manure. It has been inside for over a year. Has it reached the point where it is not "hot" anymore and safe for compost? Do I need to mix it with anything? Thanks.

I was looking for indications

I was looking for indications for goat manure use, the tag sent me to this page, but nothing on goat manure is included here.

Goat manure can be used for a

Goat manure can be used for a variety of vegetables and flowers. Make sure it is aged and mixed with other nutrients, such as compost.

Thank you for your interest in the Old Farmer's Almanac and our Web site.

My Zone 3/4 garden is brand

My Zone 3/4 garden is brand new and filled with good top soil. It is 32 ft by 8 ft, how much horse manure do I need to work into the soli? I plan on planting flowers and some vegetables, like hot peppers, will the horse manure work for these plants? Thank you for any info you can give me. Also, what is the best way to incorporate the manure into the soil? Thanks!

There is no exact formula.

There is no exact formula. You need to know what you want to grow and know what pH is required. (The pH is a measure of the acidity of the soil.) Based on that, you might add lime or ground sulfur. You might add peat moss, to help retain moisture. You might add sand (not beach), to help water soak and drain through (not stagnate in) the soil. You might add compost, to help nourish and improve the structure and condition of the soil. The horse (and any other barnyard animal) manure should be aged at least a year.
The first question is, what are you going to plant?

All the packets say peas

All the packets say peas don't do well with too much nitrogen. What is the best % to use? The bag of sheep manure says it provides .05% nitrogen and the mushroom compost says 1.0%. I have not grown peas in this garden spot recently.

Peas “fix” nitrogen in the

Peas “fix” nitrogen in the soil; they do not need it. See for more about this delicious vegetable.

The best place to find out

The best place to find out how to spread manure is through our government! ;)

Aging this stuff can take

Aging this stuff can take must longer than normal manure.

How long does chicken manure

How long does chicken manure need to age? I've been adding it to my compost. Will that speed the aging process so I don't have to wait six months?

The conditions (temperature;

The conditions (temperature; ingredients, including “greens” and “browns”; size; moisture content; etc.) of everyone’s compost pile are even slightly different, so it is impossible to give an absolute answer to how long it takes any manure to be aged, or ready to use. Under optimal conditions, 45 to 60 days may be adequate for chicken poop, but even that is quite a spread of time in any growing season. However, it is a benchmark. You could try a portion after that period on a one plant or a small area of your garden and see how your plants react. And/or you could have two or three compost piles, with ingredients aging over different periods of time. And/or you could adjust your ingredients and observe the outcome on one or all of your piles. Perhaps the only sure thing to consider is that longer aging, in general, is better ... Good luck! Let us know how it goes.

chicken manure has to sit for

chicken manure has to sit for 1 year

My neighbor pastured cows on

My neighbor pastured cows on the land next to me this last mid December to mid January. Is that aged enough to till into a new garden spot. We'll be planting next month. Also is there a good weed killer to put on the spot that we then can safely plant in a month?

Hi, Tim, Usually animal

Hi, Tim, Usually animal manure should be aged for at least 6 months. Many gardeners and farmers spread fresh manure in the fall and turn it into the top 6 inches of soil a month before spring planting.
We recommend using newspaper pages as mulch to smother weeds and help keep moisture in the soil.

Thank you for the

Thank you for the information.

I have use manure from

I have use manure from cows,horses,sheep and also had weeds from the pasture they were pastured in know matter how old the manure was. If you can find someone that raises rabbit use that manure. Make sure to spread it on in the late fall or winter.

I have a couple of garbage

I have a couple of garbage cans full of pretty fresh goat manure. I was expecting it aged, but that is not the case. Any recommendations for aging it, or can it be directly dug into my vegetable gardens. What about using on roses?

Goat manure ages pretty

Goat manure ages pretty quickly if you increase the airflow. Dump it out of the garbage cans into piles. Keep in mind that the smaller the pile, the faster it will decompose. Goat manure is great for roses. Just don’t put it too close to the stem. Spread the manure so it lies about 6 inches from the base of the plant.

Hi ! I am a blueberry grower

Hi ! I am a blueberry grower and got some well aged sheep manure ( mixed with straw bedding). When is the best time of year and how to apply it to my bluberry field.Most of the bushes are 6 years old but also have some just planted. Thanks !

I was wondering about Rabbit

I was wondering about Rabbit manure... People have told me that it is great, and doesn't have to be 'aged'... Is this true and how is it best used?

It's hard to say if this is

It's hard to say if this is true or not because adding any manure directly to your garden without aging can be problematic. All manures differ, so it's hard to give exact advice on how to best use it.
It is recommended though that rabbit manure be composted with plant material waste before being added to the soil. Composting the manure helps make the most use out of its nutritional potential.
I hope this helps!

I live in alaaska and even

I live in

alaaska and even put 'fresh rabbit poop in with my House Plants, when I repotted them! I was the envy of the neighborhood!!

I use it all the time....I

I use it all the time....I have rabbits & it doesn't burn like other manure. It's fine just the way it is.

Rabbit manure is great. I

Rabbit manure is great. I always spread it on in the late fall cause it is very rich (hot) let it set all winter so all the goodies drain out from the rain & snow. Dig in very well come earlier spring.

Hi Danielle. I have one

Hi Danielle.
I have one rabbit named Buggs. He has helped my gardining for years.Buggs lives in a 5x5 wire cage.

I have pine straw under his cage. When it is time for cleaning under the cage,my son will put all the waste in a bucket and I will share it with all my plants. So it is aged and mixed with a compost of sorts.
If your manure is hot, mix it 4to 1. (4 equal parts dirt, 1 equal part manure) Watch your plants for a week. If they wilt, mix in more dirt. The key is watching your plants.
I find with any manure it is wise to use to little in the beginning. It is easier to add more than to take away.

Over 20 years ago, my kids

Over 20 years ago, my kids had pet rabbits which we shaded in the same spot outside daily. The pellets and urine fell to the ground, there were no ill effects to the grass below and the pellets disappeared each night, the night crawler mounds underneath nearly tripled over that six months. I think the best use of fresh rabbit manure is feed it to the worms and use the castings to make a compost tea for side dressing 8-10 inches from the plant base where the plant can seek out the nutrients in moderation. As with any fertilizer overuse of a compost tea is not necessarily a good thing.

How long does chicken manure

How long does chicken manure need to 'age' before it can be used in the garden?

This question is answered a

This question is answered a couple times below.

Dear Almanac, I have heard

Dear Almanac,
I have heard that earthworm casts is good fertilizer. Can you give me more specifics on how to use it?

One way you can use earthworm

One way you can use earthworm casts is to top dress your soil with a 1/2-inch to 1-inch layer of earthworm casts. For potted plants, use about 1/3 casts to 2/3 potting soil.
You can also just place earthworm casts alongside your plants. This is helpful if your plants are in rows.
I hope this helps!

Can you toss pine shavings in

Can you toss pine shavings in the garden along with the chicken manure?

Sure, you can! Just don't put

Sure, you can! Just don't put hot manure in your garden. Make sure it is aged, otherwise it will burn your plants. Another thing to remember is that chicken manure is very high in Nitrogen, so you may need to amend it accordingly with carbon supplements. Depending on the makeup, the shavings may take a while to decompose. Good luck!

I use the Black Cow and Black

I use the Black Cow and Black Hen. Are they
sufficient enough to throw around flowers and small tomatoes and peppers? I am 50 miles from Columbia SC.

Yes, they will be sufficient,

Yes, they will be sufficient, but note in the chart above that chicken manure is not recommended as a 'best manure' for flowers. Since you live in the South, remember that peppers are very heat sensitive, so water them adequately. Happy gardening!

you can collect a catapillar

you can collect a catapillar and send it to your local Agriculture inspector or County Extension Office to get an ID and find out what to do about them.

i have catipilars on my

i have catipilars on my mandavillas and i can't get rid of them. HELP

spray soapy water on them.

spray soapy water on them.

"Safer" has a spray that is

"Safer" has a spray that is organic that works. It has BT (bacillus thuringiensis). I am not sure I can post a link so just do a search on Safer Brand Caterpillar spray.
I have used it and it does work well :)

I squirt them w/windex; I

I squirt them w/windex; I guess the amonia in it kills them, does not hurt the plant; but its not a FOREVER FIX. I also use a mild, watered down joy liquid, its really the safest! GOOD LUCK!