manure

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  #1  
Old 06-18-02, 04:14 PM
texas lady
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Question manure

newt, hi this is Texas Lady. have a guestion was just browsing the garden section , and seen a question about chicken manure. my question is the commercial manure you can buy from garden centers, is worth putting in your gardens, or flower beds? just wondering. Texas Lady
 
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  #2  
Old 06-18-02, 08:03 PM
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Hi texas lady,
Newt must be outside doing some planting or something.

Most of the bagged manure I've seen at Lowes/HD is composted cow manure with a .5-.5-.5 fertilizer composition. Anything you can add to to your soil will improve it's growing ability. Over the past two years I've bought about 300 bags of top soil, humus, and the cow manure, plus a huge pile of sand.
Since my native soil was mostly clay and rock, the humus has been the best additive.
As a test, on my deck, I have a couple cuke plants in 100% composted cow manure. These two plants look pathetic compared to the ones in the 'mix'.
But, like I said, anything added to your soil should help. And it always makes it easier while digging deep or planting bulbs in the fall.
fred
 
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Old 06-18-02, 08:33 PM
Gami
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Hi Fred and all,

OK, let's discuss this a little bit. I bought what was called compost/humus two years ago for the first time. It was stacked on the driveway, and it rained on it. Some of it didn't get used until it was very dry. It was harder than concrete. You would have had to use a sledge hammer to break up the clods. What benefit was that to my soil which is already clay?

One of the big problems I have when planting is that the soil is mostly clay. I can't just dig a hole and stick a plant in and move on to the next. I have to work amendments into it so that water will soak in, and so that I'm not pushing muddy clay up against the plants that will eventually turn into concrete, etc. It's a real pain. I've used up all the compost I made. I'm resorting to peatmoss which I understand has no nutritional value, but it does the job.

I asked a question earlier about mushroom compost. After Newt told me it had salt in it, I was afraid to use it. Luckily, I have a LOT of flower beds and a pretty good sized veggie garden. I'm not adding it thickly. I open a bag and throw it around so it just goes here and there. I have several more bags to go. I did a search, and of course, everything you read is contradictatory. Some of the posts on GW and other websites said that the bags you buy at Lowes and similar stores (compost, humus, etc., etc.,) were nothing more than dirt. If you make compost, you know what the real stuff is like. Can something that looks like black dirt be as good? Be it compost, humus, manure or whatever.

Gami
 
  #4  
Old 06-19-02, 04:13 AM
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Hi Gami,
You are exactly right on almost every statement, except the "just dirt" part.
The composted cow manure does compact to a very hard mass. My test cuke pot after watering a few times turned very hard on the surface. I had to bust it up in order to water it.
Now remember, I had to replace a large amount of clay and rock. No way was I going to just mix a little in. And no compost pile was going to supply my needs. And I refused to buy 'topsoil' which would be part clay with some rock. Nothing local in this area is 'shredded' topsoil.
Here's what else I have learned on the store bought bags. The top soil is more than just 'dirt', it has a small amount of humus and a fair portion of sand. The humus is 90% humus, I like it a lot. I have found that a mix of the three, mostly top soil and humus, with a small amount of the manure works fairly well.
The only problem I've discovered is that most plants need a little boost because the mix really seems sterile and does not contain many nutrients. So the last truckload of bags was spread on the veggie garden, tilled in and then a portion removed for a new perennial bed. This method seems to have added some needed nutrients and beneficial bacteria and has created a nice flower bed. The addition of peat moss has been a bonus since my ex-marine works at Southern States and gets the large busted bales for a quarter. The peat will always help lighten the soil. I tried gypsum pellets many years ago on clay and had minimal success.
So I guess the bottom line is - almost anything you can add to clay soil is going to help.
fred
 
  #5  
Old 06-19-02, 06:48 AM
Gami
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OK, Fred, thanks a lot. That makes me feel a whole lot better.

Did you know if you buy the busted bags of ANYTHING at Lowe's they are half price? Some bags are full with just a little tear.

The other day I had to drive behind a nursery to pick up some big bags of potting soil. There were a lot of busted bags out there. Maybe we should start asking what they get for those anytime we see them. It could be a real savings--particularly if it's a place you go all the time and they know you.

Gami
 
  #6  
Old 06-19-02, 12:03 PM
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Hi Gami,
Your right about the busted product prices! Always a good deal.
I have found potting soil prices a bit high, so all my large pots(and even my seedlinds) get guess what, - a mix of bagged topsoil, humus, and peat. It's only missing a little vermiculite.

later,
fred
 
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