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PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2014 9:54 am 
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Location: Parker County
I know the preferred method is to compost. Ive read plenty about composting and I have a compost pile at the end of my chicken area working right now. I do not want to buy local compost due to the amount of growth hormones and antibiotics that are given to cattle and pass thru to their manure.

Problem is, I have a newly bought property and want to get a garden in immediately without buying compost for the afore mentioned reason.

So I cleared about a 50'x100' area that appears to have decent soil conditions. I piled up all the growth that I cleared and burned it in the middle of the field. Box bladed out the ash.. Smooth and clear.

Then I plan to use my loader to collect the cow patties that are around my acreage and dump them on the surface of the field, box blade them out all over for an even coverage, then use my 5' roto-tiller to work it into the soil real well. Let it rest for a week or so. Then bed up rows with a twin disc row bedder. Rest another week or two. Then plant seed and transplanted plants the second or third week of April after the last frost.

Am I moving too fast with the introduction of fresh manure?

Would I be better off NOT putting the manure in the soil and just seeing with this first year of production what the soil by itself will do?


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2014 11:18 am 
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Howard advises against mixing the raw manure into the soil uncomposted (unless it is rabbit droppings) because you'll burn your crops. If you can till it in and wait longer to plant, or pile the patties and compost them hot (get a source of green material in there like cut grass or the weeds you've pulled) and let it cook for a few weeks (turn it in addition to watering it to keep it hot) and then distribute it around the crops (a lot harder to do if you're doing all of this with tractors and such.) Rather than burn that groundcover you should have composted it. Perhaps you can mow some of the surrounding area to mix into the manure?

You can do a number of things to improve the soil while the manure is composting. The ash that resulted from burning can be left in the garden. Getting a soil test is a good idea, but also in general it is prudent to add soil amendments (greensand, lava sand, dry molasses, etc.) and treat with beneficial nematodes and put out some Trichogramma wasps - you'll have some resident pests in the area that need to be addressed in order to have a productive garden. Find a source of a good quality hardwood mulch from local trees, if you can.

Take a look at the guide for Bed Preparation for more ideas. Good luck with this project! That manure is a resource you don't want to waste, but you need to use it in a way that will help the garden, not singe the tender young crops.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 08, 2014 5:41 am 
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Ok I'll change that plan then...

I went ahead and got 10 - 20 yards of compost from a dairy operation that swears that they don't use antibiotics unless a cow was sick, or hormones...

I really didn't want to introduce anything from anywhere else into the soil here but if I want a garden THIS year it sounds like I am going to have to...

It will probably be just fine... Im just very leery of the "stuff" in every level of our food supply...


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 08, 2014 8:40 am 
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It's difficult to avoid all of those compromised products, but the more things you can produce for yourself (make your own compost, shred your own tree trimmings) the better you'll be. Good luck!

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 10, 2014 4:23 am 
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northwesterner wrote:
It's difficult to avoid all of those compromised products, but the more things you can produce for yourself (make your own compost, shred your own tree trimmings) the better you'll be. Good luck!


Thank you!


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2014 2:35 pm 
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I would like to explore why you have cow patties. Are you feeding Ivermec to your animals? Another dewormer? Because the general class of medicinal dewormers are insecticides which persist through the animal and into the dung. When that happens you will not get the beneficial insects to your pasture that you need to carry the dung down into the soil for you. If you're doing it right, you should see dung beetles everywhere, and the patties should be gone in 24 hours.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 23, 2014 10:04 am 
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The things you learn here. That didn't occur to me, but of course the drugs in the cow's system would impact the dung beetles. Good point.

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