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Composting horse manure

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A Yankee In NC

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I am interested in composting the manure that my one mini creates. I am wonder if anyone here does it and if so...do you have any helpful hints?

thanks!

el
 

Miniv

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We compost our manure, but we're not excellent at it. We find an out of the way corner on our property and start piling it. Then several times a year Larry rents a bobcat (or borrows one from a friend) and turns it.

After a couple of years we spread the older sections of the pile into our flower beds.
 

Just Us N Texas

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We compost ours. Just pile it up, and turn it on occasion. After it is broken down, it makes excellent flower, garden, or whatever material. It is not strong as cow manure, and will not burn your plants. Our nurseryman friend told me that there is so much salt additive to cattle feed, it is making the manure even stronger, and will burn young growth up quickly. He recommends horse and sometimes rabbit manure for growing. We have chickens also, but they are freerange, so we don't have so much to dispose of, and that has to be used sparingly anyway, as it will also burn up young plants.
 

backwoodsnanny

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We complost all of ours and we too choose a spot on our property and pile it and then when it seems its not cooking anymore and my husband checks for this we turn it with the tractor bucket and let it cook again. But we have 18 horses so the piles grow and cook quite fast. For one horse you could probably do it in a container and just dump it from one to another to keep it turned. One pile/ the oldest is used for flower and veggie beds the newer pile is used to fill a low area to add to our pasture in a couple of years. We also were recently told by a friend who has been composting for a long time that if we covered the piles with black plastic while it cooks that it would convert faster but we havent tried it yet. We also add leaves in the Spring and fall when they are raked to the pile and most kitchen peelings unless we find an animal around here that wants them.
 
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susanne

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I've been composting Mingus Magic for 6 years now, and have of course added Thelonius Turds, Flash Flower Power and Scarlet Scat!

When we lived in Portland, I had about 1/4 acre in gardens. All were raised beds starting with heavy cardboard laid down over the ground, then covered with alternating layers of manure, yard and kitchen compost, and newspaper. Oregon has very heavy clay soil, but my garden beds were rich, black and the envy of my family and friennds (well...those who gardened, anyway).

You do want to be careful to age your compost before using it on vegetable beds, just to be safe, but on ornamental beds I use the manure at all stages. Some plants are more sensitive, but others, like irises, love it straight from the horse.

For existing beds, since I mostly grow perennials, flowering shrubs and small, ornamental trees, I like to use aged manure as a top dressing, so that people aren't seeing turds amongst the plants.

For a real plant treat, I'll sometimes make a very concentrated manure tea by soaking manure in water and pouring it right over the plant and down to its base. I horrified our little neighbor girl by telling her I was having a tea party!

Since moving out to the country, I haven't had the time to really get my garden where it was in town. These days we pile the manure in back corners, cover it to keep weed seeds from growing, and let time do its work. After aging, the stuff is veritable black gold.

I also like composting a small amount of bedding (pellet) with the manure. The wood helps to aerate the soil and keeps it loose and friable even in late fall and early spring, when the native clay becomes the stuff pottery is made of.
 

coopermini

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One of the key things to keep compost working is to have enough moisture in the pile. A dry pile will breakdown very slowly. If you dig in 6 inches or so it should be quite damp and moist. In some climates added water is needed to keep enough moisture to keep the pile heating. Turning the pile lets in oxygen which is very important to the bacteria that breaks down the pile. Keeping the pile mounded up also speeds the process. A low wide flat pile composts very slowly.
 

Cathy_H

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We just pile ours up out back. About every other year a man comes with a front end loader & dump truck & carries off about 4-6 loads. He sells it to people that want a small garden............ When I want some for my garden I go to the end that has been sitting the longest.............. Sometimes in the fall I have Lee dump the fresh manure on the garden & by spring it is good to go.
 

rockin r

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We have a pile in the back of our property. Since we are the only ones with horses around here, the neighbors love it!
We don't have to turn it, the Armadillos do it for us!!! Our Big horses have gotten to where they will go to the compost pile and do their business! Our pile is gone from year to year. We have a small pile for US only and everyone knows it is ours, so they don't take it. Good Luck!
 

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