Are All Animal Manures Safe for an Organic Garden ?

captaincompostal(z7 AL Bham)January 1, 2013

What do you do with animal manures in an organic garden?

Frequently many people ask questions about the use of animal manures in their gardening schemes. Thousands of years ago, the ancient organic farmers used animal manures as a mandatory and essential agent for soil conditioning and plant fertilization. Today many people are fearful of the use of any animal manures in gardening, due to more and more scary reports of potential diseases. Also there are less farmers today that apply animal manures in their farming techniques, than several hundred years ago. So the world is finding it harder and harder to dispose of animal manures in our society today, than several centuries ago.

So what do you do?

First of all you must understand that any type of fresh animal manure behaves a lot differently in the soil than mature compost or well aged manures. NOTE: Well aged manures act a lot like mature compost in the soil.:

1. Fresh manures are too strong and raw for most growing plants. It contains a lot of available soluble nitrogen in the form of ammonium or proteins. Most raw animal manures contain the wrong form of nitrogen and the wrong form of bacteria for gardening use, from the original animal's digestive tract. This can burn or kill plants if abused. Compost will never burn or kill plants.

2. Also animal manures by themselves are classified as "greens" or high nitrogen sources. The soil needs composted organic materials that is a blend of "browns" (high carbon materials) and "greens", in order to maximize the correct balance of soil microbial activity and the availablity of nutrients in the soil for plants. Animals manures are best incorporated in a soil building program when mixed with high carbon materials like straw, leaves, or untreated sawdust. Using more browns than greens in any animal manure based compost will also help neutralize NaCl salts via aerobic microbes faster. Using molasses products in a tea form is a even faster and better way to speed up microbial activity, growth, and internal heating in the pile, to stabilize and balance out the nutrients in the organic matter in the compost pile.

3. Fresh manures also contain too many complex undigested materials like pathogens, or NaCl salts from animal feeds, that may harm plants or soil organisms if not careful. Compost has all these things broken down and digested by aerobic microbes.

4. Many animal manures have urine mixed in it. All raw bird manure is always premixed with urine and manure. Urine contains mostly urea in it. Urea is one of the oldest, safest, and free sources of nitrogen known to man. Urea breaks down fast in the soil, the compost pile, or in a compost tea brew. Human urea alone, has a NPK ratio near 45-0-0.

Vegetarian animals like cows or horses, produce poop that is more easily digestable by aerobic microbes than say carnivorous animals like chicken or pig manure. Chicken manure is a great manure, but it is more...

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