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Author Topic: Horse Poo - how do I know if it's well rotted enough to use  (Read 9531 times)

Mrs South

  • Joined Nov 2013
Horse Poo - how do I know if it's well rotted enough to use
« on: November 21, 2013, 01:30:50 pm »
I have a few bags of horse poo from a friend who works on an estate. It doesn't seem to smell, but I'm wondering how I know if it's rotted enough to use e.g. in my raised beds over the winter and also to grow some mushrooms.

The poo sort of still has shape to it but it's quite dark.

Maybe I should take a photo and post it on here  :excited:

Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: Horse Poo - how do I know if it's well rotted enough to use
« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2013, 03:49:29 pm »
On more than one occasion, we've put fresh horse poo straight on the ground in early winter, covered with black plastic, then forked it in in spring - produced fab crops. So I wouldn't worry too much  :)

shygirl

  • Joined May 2013
Re: Horse Poo - how do I know if it's well rotted enough to use
« Reply #2 on: November 21, 2013, 04:17:06 pm »
im sure mushrooms can grow on fresh horse poo.

veggies will need it rotting down, usually it gets hot and decomposes in the muck heap but what to do with a small amount ? im not sure. personally id bag it for a few months then rake/dry it to break up any bits left. just a guess

HesterF

  • Joined Jul 2012
  • Kent
  • HesterF
Re: Horse Poo - how do I know if it's well rotted enough to use
« Reply #3 on: November 21, 2013, 08:30:32 pm »
Interesting I was wondering the same because I've just put some onto my asparagus - but then I've had it sitting around since the spring so I reckon I'm in the clear even if it's not fully rotted down. I reckon you'll be fine at this time of year though, even if it's fresh, because it'll have the winter to break down before it comes into contact with any delicate leaves. I had a few loads delivered in the spring so I'm hoping it last me a while and by the time I finish it, it'll just be superb - meantime it's a bit lumpy but hopefully still doing good (and it'll be going under my fruit trees too so I have to be sure it'll be OK next to the roots).

H

lachlanandmarcus

  • Joined Aug 2010
  • Aberdeenshire
Re: Horse Poo - how do I know if it's well rotted enough to use
« Reply #4 on: November 21, 2013, 10:26:01 pm »
I agree with the use it argument, I used it neat in new raised beds in autumn and in spring planted all sorts including carrots etc and they grew brilliantly.


As long as it has the winter to continue to rot and its already well on the way, it should be fine by spring!

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Horse Poo - how do I know if it's well rotted enough to use
« Reply #5 on: November 22, 2013, 12:15:01 am »
Is it just horse droppings or is it bedding?  If bedding, what does it contain - wood shavings or straw?
 
Horse droppings don't tend to burn like chicken droppings, although it's best not to use it touching plants.  I have rotted it down in bags, tied up and placed in the sun.  I have also spread and covered it as Rosemary suggests.
 
However, if it contains wood shavings then you need to rot it down for a year, otherwise the decomposition of the wood will deplete the soil of nitrogen.
"Let's not talk about what we can do, but do what we can"

There is NO planet B - what are YOU doing to save our home?

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the lifeblood of your land.

Spinningfishwife

  • Joined Oct 2013
Re: Horse Poo - how do I know if it's well rotted enough to use
« Reply #6 on: November 22, 2013, 07:46:06 am »
The accepted wisdom for compostables and manure is that once you can't really tell what the initial ingredient is then it's well rotted/composted enough to use everywhere. But like most of these things that's a  council of perfection, there's a lot of It Depends. For very young transplants and seed germination I think you have to be really careful about burning or retarding germination buy using fresh manure or part rotted compost on the soil, err on the side of caution here. But part rotted or even fresh manure is ideal for spreading on beds in winter when nothing is growing. Spread it on, cover it up with something to prevent rain damaging the soil structure and leaching out nutrients and also to provide protection and a little warmth to the soil critters. By spring when you pull back the covers the manure will be gone, worked down into the soil, and the fertile beds will be ready to be worked. 

As to mushrooms I may be wrong but weren't mushrooms once grown on hotbeds of fresh manure (to give the heat) and straw?

Greenerlife

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Leafy Surrey
Re: Horse Poo - how do I know if it's well rotted enough to use
« Reply #7 on: November 22, 2013, 02:07:44 pm »
The donkey poo I use on my veg beds always retains its shape, and I am never quite sure if it is "ready"  :innocent:   It always goes on though and never had any problems.  i always thought when horse poo doesn't smell - it's ready.

Mrs South

  • Joined Nov 2013
Re: Horse Poo - how do I know if it's well rotted enough to use
« Reply #8 on: November 22, 2013, 02:19:07 pm »
Thanks everyone. I'm just going to put it on the raised beds and let it rot down over the winter. There will be nothing really going in there until March/April I don't think. (Well, we'll have some onions in other beds and garlic, overwintering)

And I've got the mushroom spawn so will try that too.

Thank you

RUSTYME

  • Joined Oct 2009
.
« Reply #9 on: November 22, 2013, 03:44:04 pm »
It'll be fine to put on the plot now , for next year , carrots may be a problem though !
Is it wormer free though ? Any meds that go in the horse come out the other end .
I don't use any manure that is from medicated animals , any chemical that goes in the soil will end up in the veg you grow in it , and thus in you !

ladyK

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Conwy Valley
Re: Horse Poo - how do I know if it's well rotted enough to use
« Reply #10 on: November 22, 2013, 04:08:15 pm »
Is it OK to use manure mixed with straw to leave to rot on veg beds over winter?
I've got loads of donkey manure mixed with straw, collected only over the last few weeks, but I was thinking I could put in on my vegs beds as a thick mulch over winter, but not sure about the straw now. Or is it better to collect 'straight' poo off the field rather than from their shelter where Iit gets mixed with the bedding?
"If one way is better than another, it is the way of nature." (Aristotle)

Spinningfishwife

  • Joined Oct 2013
Re: Horse Poo - how do I know if it's well rotted enough to use
« Reply #11 on: November 22, 2013, 06:44:15 pm »
Is it OK to use manure mixed with straw to leave to rot on veg beds over winter?
I've got loads of donkey manure mixed with straw, collected only over the last few weeks, but I was thinking I could put in on my vegs beds as a thick mulch over winter, but not sure about the straw now. Or is it better to collect 'straight' poo off the field rather than from their shelter where Iit gets mixed with the bedding?

I'd be thrilled to have a bulk source of manure mixed with straw! But I'd stack it under cover for at least a few months, with something like an old tarp on top to stop it getting wet. Even better if you can turn it a couple of times too. It will heat up quite a bit as it rots down, then again when you turn it. Once it's finished rotting it will cool and it will be great to use. So what you have now will be fabulous to use next year. I'd just use fresh manure this winter though and in moderate quantities, stopping this side of Christmas to let it go down into the soil before spring.

Offgridgreg

  • Joined Nov 2013
  • Saddleworth
Re: Horse Poo - how do I know if it's well rotted enough to use
« Reply #12 on: February 20, 2014, 08:15:41 pm »
I was told by my friend (old school gardener) that if it's rotten down well and indeed a good manure it will have little red worms in it, when we've been for manure to our local stables, we dug deep and sure enough we've always found the little jewels.
I don't know whether is it significant to the age or whether it just signifies it's good ole muck!! It's worked it's magic on our onions  :thumbsup:

Lesley Silvester

  • Joined Sep 2011
  • Telford
Re: Horse Poo - how do I know if it's well rotted enough to use
« Reply #13 on: February 20, 2014, 11:48:03 pm »
I've mucked out my goats straight onto the raised beds in the autumn. By spring it's fairly well rotted down.

sokel

  • Joined Jun 2012
  • S W northumberland
Re: Horse Poo - how do I know if it's well rotted enough to use
« Reply #14 on: February 21, 2014, 01:21:00 am »
we are in the process of building our second muck heap. The first one (the one we are using for the garden) has not been touched for over 2 years so well rotted down. It has no resemblance to horse muck at all. Its just a dark brown/black  and when we dig into it the underneath  looks more like a soil than horse muck. It is full of both earth worms and red worms
Graham

 

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