What Are the Benefits of Adding Free Manure to Soil?


Quick Answer

The advantages of using manure for fertilizer are that it adds nutrients to the soil, is readily available and is easy to apply. Early farmers began using manure for improvements in crop growth 8,000 years ago.

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Full Answer

Manure contains nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium, the key three nutrients in commercially prepared fertilizers. It also includes thousands of other nutrients plants require for growth. Fresh cow manure with bedding or other litter also provides the organic materials soils require to retain moisture, preventing the drying of the plant roots.

Manure provides free or low-cost fertilizer. Dairy farmers often offer free manure to anyone willing to haul it away. Even if the farmer requires payment for manure, the cost is usually very affordable. Fresh manure requires different treatment and application than aged manure, so before applying it, gardeners should inquire as to the type of manure they are using.

Other than when vegetables are actively growing, gardeners can apply aged manure to their plot anytime. Fresh manure requires aging a minimum of six months. Composting is one method of aging, and allows mixing other organic waste, such as tree leaves and grass clippings. Another aging method is covering the garden plot with fresh manure at least six months before planting season. Just prior to planting, till the plot, mixing the now aged manure with the top 6 inches of soil.

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