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I am wrapping up my garden for the year. I have been looking at adding horse manure to my garden soil to boost the organic matter in it. This year I added NutriMulch (turkey manure blend) and that worked out well, but was expensive. I'm concerned about the soil quality. I notice that it's pretty hard when in big dry clods. Would I be hurting my garden to add green horse manure now, and tilling it in? I've read a little about deficiencies in the soil because of too much horse manure, so if it's safe or even a good idea to add to a garden, how much is the right amount?

Answer(s)

A

  If you have an inexpensive source of organic matter (such as barnyard
waste), fall is the best time of year to add it to your garden. Added in
fall, salts that are typically high in manure can leach down through the
soil and deeper than the root zone (if we have enough rain and snowmelt).

 

Shredded leaves and other yard waste could be added now, too, and by spring
it will be broken down fairly well. It's getting late to plant a cover crop,
but a green manure crop like winter wheat, oats, vetch, clover, or winter
peas is an excellent way to sustain soil microbial life and activity through
winter, as well as preventing soil surface crusting or erosion.
   

You should probably limit the amount of manure added to about 4 inches
deep. Ideally, you will incorporate it to a depth twice as deep as the
applied amount.

Posted on 19 Oct 2007

Maggie Wolf
Horticulture Agent, Salt Lake County

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