Gardeners love to talk about their gardens. The range of topics is endless: the best beans to can, the tastiest tomato, how to deal with the variety of pests that challenge a lazy morning in the garden, and proven methods for improving soil texture, structure, and fertility. Manure application in an orchard affects all facets of soil health: texture, structure and fertility.
Soil texture is the term used to describe the proportion of sand, silt and clay in the soil. From a particle point of view, sand is the largest particle and clay is the smallest. The lower triangle provides a graphical representation of the combinations. Although the texture cannot be changed, adding organic matter such as manure changes the structure of the soil. From an agronomic perspective, soil structure refers to how soil components aggregate to form air and water spaces within the soil. Air and water are crucial for a good development of the roots and therefore of the plants.
Two commonly used examples of how manure affects soil are: For texture, adding manure (organic matter) to a sandy soil increases the soil's ability to absorb and retain moisture. Adding manure to a clay-based soil increases the soil's drainage, creating the same gaps. When considering soil amendment, keep in mind that adding organic matter (manure) cannot change the soil texture as the percentages of sand, silt and clay remain the same; However, the soil structure can be changed by adding manure to the soil. Although this article is mainly about the use of manure in a garden where edible foods are grown, the texture and structure characteristics are the same in any type of garden where soil is present.
Spreading manure is not a new farming technique. While manure is commonly believed to make soil more productive, technically it is not a fertilizer. Research by Amy Bogaard, an archaeobotanist at the University of Oxford, reported in this article Fertilizer History P1, published by the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, that the benefits of manure for plant growth were observed nearly 8,000 years ago. If you enjoy interesting scientific reading, check out the article. The dating description process provides interesting insight into projects where an archaeobotanist is a key researcher/investigator.
What are the effects of adding fertilizers to a vegetable garden? Remember that manure is not a fertilizer. With liquid manure there is no guaranteed analysis as with packaged fertilizer. For example, 10-10-10 fertilizer is guaranteed to provide equal amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. This is important to know, as nutrient requirements vary between plant types (e.g. tomato versus cucumber) and within a plant, depending on the stage of growth. For example, a fruiting tomato needs less nitrogen because vegetative growth must give way to fruiting, and phosphorus and potassium are directly involved in fruiting. If you want an analysis of the fertilizer you add to your garden soil, Penn State University's Soil Testing Laboratory offers manure testing. This link provides information about testing and analysis:Agricultural analytical services Labordüngertests.
Today, gardeners can obtain a variety of fertilizers from local farmers and garden stores. Some grocery stores even offer bagged fertilizer. In addition to numerous commercial and private sales opportunities for manure procurement, there is also a wide variety of manure types. Manure from livestock such as cows, horses, sheep, goats, llamas and chickens is commonly used in orchards. Local farmers may be more than willing to offer free manure as this reduces the amount of manure the farmer must safely handle. Horse and cow manure is often loaded with weed seeds, which can be neutralized by composting at a temperature of 140 ℉. Goat and sheep manure has the advantage of naturally pelleting. Pelletized manure is easier to handle and generally easier to spread in a vegetable garden, but it should be used according to the guidelines provided in the following sections.
According to several references, pig manure should not be used in a vegetable garden where edible foods are grown. The same applies to the feces of dogs, cats and humans due to the possible presence of parasites.
Many gardeners have easy access to chicken manure. Chicken manure is often referred to as "hot" due to its high nitrogen content. Chicken bedding added to chicken manure can dilute the nitrogen concentration in the manure. High nitrogen levels can burn young seedlings, so they should be composted before being used in a home garden.
Over the years, news reports have documented that people get sick and, in some cases, die from eating produce infected with parasites and/or bacteria. Most notable are the incidents involvingE. coli,salmonella, YListeriacontaminated vegetables. According to the University of New Hampshire article entitledGuidelines for the use of animal manure based on manure and compost in the garden, "To ensure that the pathogens have been killed, the compost pile should reach a high temperature (between 113°F and 140°F) for an extended period (several weeks)." The article goes on to say: "The compost also needs to be turned regularly and carefully monitored to ensure that all the manure is exposed to the proper temperature. The pile has reached an internal temperature of 140°C and the weed seeds are no longer viable.
According to an article by Steven Ingham of the University of Wisconsin-Madison,Use manure safely in the garden., the problem of edible manure contamination has been addressed by the USDA's National Organic Program. While the guidelines established by the USDA's National Organic Program apply to certified organic vegetable growers, these guidelines are considered best practice and are followed by non-certified organic growers as well. The guidelines below are simple, straightforward and can be easily followed by home gardeners.
To reduce the health risks of using manure in home gardens, the USDA's National Organic Program suggests waiting 120 days from application to harvest for edibles that grow or touch the ground. For other crops, the recommended withdrawal period is 90 days from application to harvest for these edibles.
Adding manure to the garden can increase soil organic matter and change soil structure.Adding manure to the soil does not change the soil texture. Autumn is the most common time of year to add fertilizer to a vegetable garden. The fertilizer can be spread on the ground or worked into the garden soil.
Pig, dog, cat and human droppings should never be used in a vegetable garden.Cow, horse, chicken/poultry, sheep, goat and llama manures are acceptable types of manure suitable for use in gardens.
There are differences in using raw, aged and composted manure in a garden.Manure can be composted in a number of ways, for the home gardener this is usually either hot or cold composting. Large amounts of agricultural manure are sometimes composted in heaps. The composting method is personal and the literature is full of options.
The USDA's National Organic Program has established guidelines for certified organic producers.These guidelines can also be incorporated into manure and compost management programs used by home gardeners.
flame shit. Copyright: Diane Diffenderfer.
Agricultural analytical services Labordüngertests
Bulletin #2510, Guidelines for the Use of Manure in Gardens, University of Maine
History of P1 Fertilizers, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources CROPWATCH
Guidelines for the Use of Animal Manure and Manure Compost in the Garden, University of New Hampshire
How to Fertilize a Garden, Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Easy Gardening
Introduction to Organic Practices, USDA
Safe Use of Manure in the Garden, University of Wisconsin Extension
Cheat Sheet: Slurry in Organic Production Systems, ATTRA Sustainable Agriculture
Using Manure in the Home Garden, Wisconsin Master Gardener
Horticultura, Penn State Extension