Manure is a natural fertilizer that helps plants grow. It also makes soil rich and healthy.
They're generally great for organic farmers and domestic gardeners alike.
However, manure has its downsides as well.
Manure is an excellent fertilizer, but not every plant likes it. Some plants just don't do well with manure.
Knowing which plants don't like manure is essential because you can use that information to make sure you use it accordingly.
This article will tell you everything you need to know about using manure safely and effectively.
Manure is the waste product of animals. Animals produce manure when they eat food, breathe air, and excrete bodily fluids.
The nutrients are then excreted in the form of urine and faeces.
Urine contains ammonia, nitrates, and phosphates. At the same time, faeces contain carbon dioxide, methane, hydrogen sulfide, and ammonium.
The nutrients found in animal manure include the content of nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, sulfur, iron, copper, zinc, manganese, boron, chlorine, and iodine. These nutrients help plants grow and improve soil quality.
Animal manure also provides beneficial bacteria. That helps break down organic matter and decompose plant material. This process improves soil structure and increases water retention.
Manure is also a natural source of carbon, which helps plants absorb water and nutrients.
There are many different types of manure, including cow, horse, sheep, goat, pig, rabbit, poultry, and fish.
Each type of manure has different properties and uses.
Cow dung has high levels of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. They're ideal for growing grasses and crops.
Chicken litter is a rich source of nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium. This makes chicken manure great for growing vegetables and flowers.
Horse manure is rich in nitrogen. They're ideal for fertilizing trees, shrubs, and fruit trees.
Pig slurry is rich in nitrogen and can be used to grow vegetables and fruits.
Sheep manure is rich in nitrogen and phosphorus. They're ideal for planting trees and shrubs.
Fish fertilizer is rich in nitrogen, phosphate, and potash. They're ideal for promoting the healthy growth of aquatic plants.
There are many ways to use manure.
You can spread it directly onto fields where you want to grow crops.
You can mix it with compost to create a soil amendment.
Or you can add it to your garden beds to improve the quality of your soil.
Fertilization burn refers to the damage done when fertilizer is applied too heavily.
This happens because fertilizers contain nutrients that are essential for healthy plant growth. But too much fertilizer can cause plants to become stunted and weak.
When this happens, the leaves turn yellow and wilt, and the plant may die.
Fertilizer burn can show up as discolouration. When a concentrated fertilizer, manure slurry, or fresh manure splashes on the leaves, it causes what's called a leaf burn.
Another case of fertilizer burn is through the plant roots. When too strong or too much fertilizer is applied, it stresses out the roots. The roots can stop growing or turn brown and rot.
This could also happen if you use manure as fertilizer before it's properly rotted.
To avoid fertilization burn, apply only enough fertilizer to meet the needs of your plants.
Avoid applying too much fertilizer at once. Also, don't use fertilizers that contain too many nutrients.
Instead, spread out applications over several weeks to ensure adequate nutrition.
Also, age manure properly.
The main causes of fertilization burn are the ammonia and salt present in the manure. They dry out or overly acidify your plants.
Although, it can also be because of too much nitrogen or too little water - among others.
These will inhibit your plant's ability to absorb water and nutrient. They can also cause your plant to absorb and retain nutrient content incorrectly.
So, the amount of manure needed depends on the type of plants being grown.
Basically, the plants need to be watered thoroughly, but not too much.
The water will help flush down the excess nutrients in the soil.
Nutrient runoff is usually bad, but in this case, it's needed, so the excess nutrients don't affect your plant as much.
Water your plants until water drains out, and then don't water them again until the surface of the soil is dry to touch.
If you see brown spots or curled leaves of plants without a distinct line between brown and green, it could mean fertilizer burn. For this, simply cut off damaged plant matter with clean secateurs.
Your plant will have a higher chance of recovering if your catch fertilizer burns early.
After flushing out the soil, it's only a matter of time before your plant recovers.
Manure generally benefits all vegetables when used correctly, but it can be too much for young plants and fruiting plants.
Root vegetables grow towards nutrients and produce better, more nutritious roots if they have to work hard to get the nutrients.
This is why root vegetables don't require fertilizer, and that includes manure.
Over-fertilizing root vegetables lead to forked or weak roots.
Nitrogen is the most active nutrient in manure. It helps plants develop roots and leaves, but it's not one of the essential nutrients for the growth of flowers and fruits. So, manure doesn't help plants produce fruits or vegetables as much as it does other plants.
Mixing manure in soil for flowering or fruiting plants won't hurt them. It will still improve the structure of soil - but you can achieve the same results through mulching with humus-rich compost.
Manure mulching should be avoided during the hot season when there is increased humidity and irregular amounts, and periods of rainfall. It could lead to fertilizer burn.
Controlled fertilizing is better for the growth of leaf, fruit, root, and vegetable crops and supports ripening.
Manure from cows and horses tends to burn plants more because they contain the highest levels of ammonia. Fresh horse manure and fresh cow manure are both considered the worst offender.
You have to properly rot down these kinds of manures to limit the ammonia content of manure that goes into your plants if you use them as fertilizer.
Rabbit manure is great for fertilizing gardens and lawns.
They also produce a lot of manure, and collecting is easy.
Their manure is easier to break down because the food rabbits eat can be digested twice in their complicated digestive system!
Because they break down easier and faster, there is less risk of fertilizer burn.
Doing this not only increases the risk of fertilizer burn but also increases the chances of contamination and getting diseases from harmful bacteria and pathogens like E. coli and salmonella!
As mentioned above, using fresh manure and even slightly aged manure can do more harm than benefit.
Ageing your manure properly can increase its benefits and lessen the risk of fertilizer burn and contamination on vegetables.
To age manure, simply leave them in a safe, undisturbed place with some carbon-rich materials like straw, shredded paper, or leaves.
You know it's ready when it doesn't smell anymore and is generally dry.
You can also put a little amount of manure in your compost. It can take around six months before your manure compost is ready to use.
Instead, sprinkle the soil with manure as manure mulch or mix them in around 6 to 8 inches deep,
The ideal time to apply manure is months before harvest. Apply them at least 90 days prior to harvesting for produce that will not come in contact with the soil. And 120 days before planting root crops.
In conclusion, manure is a natural fertilizer that could be great in the garden and is a great option for organic gardeners.
But they have to be used appropriately and adequately, or they can do more harm than benefits - especially in a vegetable garden.
Like the saying, too much of anything is bad, even for a source of nutrients.
But now that you've read this article, we're confident that you can avoid damaging your edible plants with improper use and get the most benefits of manure.
Hope to see you in another article.