Horse manure, grass clippings and leaves.

Central Texas, TX(Zone 8b)

Okay, I got some horse manure, grass clippings, leaves and coffee grounds. Can anyone suggest the best way to mix it all togthether. I got it in trash bags now. I also have souces for more manures (chicken, donkey, cow, horse) and grass clippings. Or should I just start dumping it into my piles one bag at a time?

Fredericksburg, VA(Zone 7b)

Dump it in your piles one bag at a time but in different layers. Once you get everything in the pile, you can get in there with a pitchfork and flip it around! Good job, son :)

Burwash Weald, United Kingdom(Zone 9b)

Dean, you don't by anychance have a cement mixer? I got one for christmas (bright orange, with an long builders extension cord - just what every girl wants! Good husband, good good husband) and I am using it for blending mulch, particularly for my woodland beds - I think it would work a treat for mixing up your wonderful gatherings - not necessary, but extremely good fun for someone as committed to compost as you are!

Fredericksburg, VA(Zone 7b)

WOOHOO! Good deal, Laurie, your hubby is my kinda guy!! Mine bought me a baby Troy tiller......gotta love a guy that's got it together and understands what's really important. LOL

Burwash Weald, United Kingdom(Zone 9b)

To true, Doccat - and I'm so glad he always finds it me.

Central Texas, TX(Zone 8b)

Thanks you all. Laurie, no I don't have a cement mixer. I wish I had one though. I'll have to do it by hand.

Burwash Weald, United Kingdom(Zone 9b)

No need to do it now, when you turn the pile it will blend - I'm using mine because a) its so much fun, and b) I'm blending leaf mould, extremely well rotted manure, compost and partially composted chippings for my new woodland beds (these are lasagne beds I set up last year, and I want to adjust the soil - and the beds are really big!) So hand blending is helped along by using the mixer (I put a load in while I barrow the last load to location

Central Texas, TX(Zone 8b)

I have so many leaves that I'm using them in the aisles between the rows. I guess I could use some grass clippings too. This would get a lasgna bed started correct?

Fredericksburg, VA(Zone 7b)

That will work, Dean. Lasagna is a fancy name for sheet composting. You can also lay down some wet newspaper/cardboard and cover with leaves and grass.

Central Texas, TX(Zone 8b)

That's great. I got alot of cardboard from this new desk I bought. I already used some cardboard from my daughters desk. I put leaves on top of it.

Fredericksburg, VA(Zone 7b)

Just wet it down real good. That will suppress the weeds and bring the worms.

Disputanta, VA(Zone 7a)

Ooops. I forgot that step when I initially made my "layers". Can/should I go back now & give it a good soak? Can't remember if we've had any heavy rains since I put it all down.

Burwash Weald, United Kingdom(Zone 9b)

Davis - since I don't have plumbed water in my garden (just water barrels) - I leave this step out, find it does very nicely anyway -

Disputanta, VA(Zone 7a)

thanks Laurie, any idea how long would it take to have this area ready to plant? Maybe a better question would be how should I check it or what should I look for?

Burwash Weald, United Kingdom(Zone 9b)

I think it is dependent on several things - time of year, composition of the pile, rain and heat -
I think that would give me a rule of thumb between 6-12 months depending on position. I think the best thing to do is dig down a bit and see what the underside looks like: I would look for fairly broken down material, and the start of a change to the area I'd covered over (absence of viable roots, a more friable surface texture). The cardboard should be all but gone. If the cardboard is still there, and the compost material not disintegrating, just cover it up and wait.

I do find the best way of waiting is to start another one - very distracting, and allows you to plan the next stage.

Pittsford, NY(Zone 6a)

just lurking here and found this topic helpful.
didn't know about composting in anything other than a bin or pile at the back of the property.
we are composting leaves,garden debree and houshold waste except for protiens, its working pretty well.
I'll come back again.

Central Texas, TX(Zone 8b)

ge1836, welcome and feel free to jump in. Laurie, that sounds like it makes alot of sense. I noticed that with some of my grass clipping there are stickers in the bag. I hope these won't sprout in my garden. Hopefully, the compost will get hot enough to destroy the seeds (stickers).

Burwash Weald, United Kingdom(Zone 9b)

Dean - if the grass is going into the lasagne bed, yes they probably will germinate. But I wouldn't worry about it - my experience is that lasagne beds don't get as hot as compost piles, but even piles heat in an uneven way. The beauty of lasagne beds is that they weed out easily because the soil is so friable, so you will be able to remove them before they get established.

Pittsford, NY(Zone 6a)

I'm back with a question
When you sheet,lazagna,layer a open bed, can you just toss any composting material on the ground above the barrier(newspaper,cardboard)?
We don't have access to manure but we do compost vedg rinds and eggshells and leftover salads.
Can those be spread on the layer? or would it attract critters.

Central Texas, TX(Zone 8b)

Thanks, Laurie, so far I've only used tree leaves for my lasagna beds. I put the grass clippings into the compost piles. But I do feel better because if they escape from the piles it will be easier to rid the garden of them as it is surrounded by my beds. Thanks

Burwash Weald, United Kingdom(Zone 9b)

GE, you can - it might get a bit unsightly, so you may want to keep some bags of leaves or grass clippings to cover over. You will get the same animals you get for your compost heap - one way to discourage them (and add acidity) is to urinate on the pile. Male urine is far more effective than female. You just need to do this occassionally - if you have immediate neighbours, I suggest using a bucket and not telling them what your magic addition is. Really effective against foxes, badgers, and rabbits that dig up the garden.

Pittsford, NY(Zone 6a)

Thanks for the info.
My Son in law is shy but my grandson might accomodate.

Burwash Weald, United Kingdom(Zone 9b)

I knew grandson's were good for helping out!

Pittsford, NY(Zone 6a)

I'm hopeing.
We live in a far suburb and use a Black compost bin as there isn't any where to hide a pile and compost that way.

Burwash Weald, United Kingdom(Zone 9b)

sounds good - probably makes very good compost as the black container should heat up very well.

Pittsford, NY(Zone 6a)

Ohh yes ,hardly any snow stays on it in the winter.

North, TX

I'm wondering what constitutes "well rotted" manure? the neighboring cows come by to graze occasionally and drop off manure.......how long before it is well rotted??

Might as well add the gifts to my compost as a benefit.

Guess it's been awhile since any posts made here, but hoping for some help on this??

Pittsford, NY(Zone 6a)

I am by no way an expert on this but here is the best I can do.
If the oder is nearly gone I should think its OK to put on the compost or the garden.
If its too fresh it will burn plants.
I would give it 6 months to a year .
I know there is someone on this forum who can help both of us.

North, TX

Thanks for responding ge. I guess if it is hard and dry? I just don't know....

Central Texas, TX(Zone 8b)

Yes, if it's to fresh it'll burn your plants. Once it kind of dries out or whatever it should be fine. The only problem I have noticed is sometimes the cows will eat some weeds with seed heads on them and it doesn't get digested in their gut. Wahlah, introduction of new seeds to your garden. I'm just saying.

But if you also use mulch, straw, leaves, hay, newspaper and what not you should be okay. Just try to get the weeds out before they go to seed.

All The Best,
Dean

Pittsford, NY(Zone 6a)

I knew there was an expert here.
Thanks Dean
Weeds dont necessarily come from manure. I get compost from a friend who uses a front loader to turn her pile.
Its huge, and the weeds from fields around have settled in it. Thats where mine come from.
Ahhh wellll.

North, TX

Thanks ya'll !! I appreciate the info Dean. I gathered the manure and put it in a pain yesterday.. once I broke into it, it looked pretty much like some nice dark soil! LOL
Yes, the weeds have many ways!! I will do my best to avoid them !!!

I have enjoyed reading this thread and all the great tips on composting too!!

Paxton, FL(Zone 8a)

I don't know if I'll ever use unsterilized manure again. A helpful neighbor brought me some dry cow manure and I ended up with weeds I had never had, and can't get rid of. Well, I haven't sprayed them, just try to pull them up, but the next year there always seems to be more than before. I'm getting to old for that much weeding, but hesitate to use poisons, afraid I'll kill the good stuff.

My DH bought me a cement mixer a few months ago when he was feeling guilty about all the money he spent on tools he wanted. His idea. I've enjoyed using it for mixing potting soil, mulched leaves, ect.

North Ridgeville, OH(Zone 5b)

Concentrated vinegar's a non-selective foliar herbicide. Nice & organic, as well as easier than weeding by hand.

You might want to consider no-till gardening too. It's easier on one's body & doesn't expose dormant weed seeds waiting in the soil. Mulching (and/or planting cover crops) helps prevent erosion, improves water retention, stabilizes soil temperature, improves soil biology, and chokes out weeds.

Since I'm a paraplegic, low-physical-impact gardening helps me get more done and saves my strength.

Pittsford, NY(Zone 6a)

Hello everyone! I'm here from Northeast Garden Forum mostly but will hang around for the great tips and advise If thats OK
Puddle Piret :Thats such a good idea. I started using compost this year, we compost in a black box plus a friend of mine has a freestanding pile.
She generously gave me 8 bags this fall and I used it on all the containers and DL's.
Her compost sprouted a carpet of weeds,while the smaller amounts we develope in the black box have none.
I can guess why.
Do you have any tips for non impact gardening PP?
I discovered lazagna gardening last spring its a gawdsend.
I am not young and have joint problems,what other tricks do you use to make gardening easier.

Paxton, FL(Zone 8a)

I had decided a couple of days ago that I will mulch one particular new bed that is full of green weeds right now when everything else is brown. I'm going to put down cardboard/newspapers and then cover with some chipped bark from piles I've had sitting for 4-6 months. Maybe I'll spray with vinegar first since none of the good plants have leaves right now.

Slidell, LA(Zone 8b)

Hi! I seen mention of cow manure - what about horse manure. Saw an ad on craigslist for horse manure and was unsure if I could use it. Am very new to composting and am a little dazed with it all lol I would imagine the horse manure is fresh.

Burwash Weald, United Kingdom(Zone 9b)

Ems, you can ask them if it is well rotted or fresh. If it is fresh it will be too acidic for putting straight on the beds, but if you have space, it is always worth getting it and letting it sit so you have a resource pile.

Biggs, KY(Zone 6a)

I have used horse and rabbit manure fresh and not burned anything. My tomatoes love it.

Oak Hill, FL

Horse manure seems to not only depend on age but also what it is mixed with. In the "old" days horses were stabled with straw or hay as bedding but now various types of wood shavings are the preferred bedding material. I can remember my Grandfather complaining about the shavings, that they took longer to break down than hay and if incorporated into the soil too soon could "sour" it. What this term actually means (anyone know?) and the type of wood the shavings were from I don't know. I have found success by layering old or stale hay, fresh horse manure (not from stalled horses),and oak leaves and grass clippings beginning and ending with hay. This gets a bit of water and then is tarpped. 2-3 months later it's garden ready.

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