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Best Manures For Your Veggie Garden

Updated on June 22, 2012

Today's Topic is Manure

Yes, you read that right. Winter is ending and we are all getting spring fever. It is almost time to go outside and play again! That is play in our gardens and start planting some veggies! But before we start planting there is some work to do first. We have to get that soil ready first, so here are some tips on the best manures to use in your garden. Hope it helps!

Horse Manure

Horses are grazers. Most of what they consume is roughage like grass or hay, which produces a humus-rich manure. However it contains relatively low levels of the three essential elements (nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Nitrogen). Horse manure should be well composted before using it on a garden during the growing season.

One of the pluses of horse manure is that it is easy to get in quantity.

Why Do You Have To Compost Manure? - Reason # 1

Cow Manure

Cow manure's NPK is pretty low, but it does have benefits. It will eliminate harmful ammonia gas as well as other pathogens. Cow manure will add sufficient amounts of organic matter to soil. You are improving the moisture holding capabilities with cow manure, so you will be able to water less. It will also improve the aeration in the soil by helping to break up compacted soils. It also contains beneficial bacteria, which convert nutrients into accessible forms so they can be slowly released. This helps them to not burn the plant roots.

Composting cow manure also creates much less greenhouse gases, making it environmentally friendly.

Why do you have to compost manure? - Reason # 2

Sheeps and Goats

The manure from goats and sheeps is better then that from horses and cows. The are much easier to deal with and collect since it is just pellets. If a goat is kept in a stall the urine will get into the mix, which will increase the value of the manure adding more nitrogen into it.

Another plus when using goats and sheep pellets is that composting is much quicker because the pelletized form of the droppings allows more air into the compost pile. You'll be able to cover a greater area and it will dry faster then the other manures. It is also nice that these dropping are odorless.

Why do you have to compost manure? - Reason # 3


Rabbit manure is very high in nitrogen and comes in handy little pellets. It has more of all the three nutrients needed for a good fertilizer, higher then cows, horses, and ghats. The difference, of course, is quantity.I guess the biggest downfall to bunny poop is that it comes in smaller quantities then the others.

To help this matter, some gardeners make a "bunny brew." Find a five gallon bucket and add water to it. Put your bunny droppings into the bucket and let it sit for a day or two, stirring occasionally. Then use that water to water your garden. Don't let any bunny brew actually get on any foliage however.

Red worms love bunny poop. And having your garden full of red worms, helps to break up the soil. There waste(castings) also contains many beneficial micro-organisms such as, enzymes, humus, and plant stimulants than regular compost.


Birds produce the most valuable manure of all. Pigeon manure especially is very high in all the three essential elements. The only issues if finding it and quantity. It is also best to compost pigeon droppings if you don't buy it packages already.

To Compost Bird Droppings:

Add the manure slowly to the compost pile over several weeks, to your other organic matter like leaves and grass to break up the manure and speed curing. Make sure you turn the com poster keeping it mixing. Stop adding the manure two months before you plan to use itWhen it is ready it will produce no heat and won't smell very strong.

Alpaca Manure

This manure as fertilizer is beneficial. It has a lower organic content, but is a rich soil conditioner. It will improve the soil quality and its ability to retain water. It has a fair amount of nitrogen and potassium and an average level of phosphorus. What is nice is alpaca manure does not need to be composted. You can spread it directly into gardens.

Alpaca manure is available in retail gardening stores.

N-P-K Manure Chart

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GRO MAX LLC ACM40 ACE Manure 40 Lb.

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50LB Compost Cow Manure

Espoma GM2 Garden Manure 4-2-2, 2.75 Pounds

Liquid Fence CP3-12 3-Inch CowPots, 12-Pack



How to Build, Maintain, and Use a Compost System:

Secrets and Techniques You Need to Know to Grow the Best Vegetables


(Back to Basics Growing)

Let it Rot!:

The Gardener's Guide to Composting

(Third Edition)

(Storey's Down-To-Earth Guides)

Composting For Dummies

Soilsaver Classic Composter

Suncast TCB6800 6.5 Cubic Foot Tumbling Composter

Keter 17190023 Dynamic Composter

Leave your gardening tips here!

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    • paulahite profile image

      Paula Hite 3 years ago from Virginia

    • GardenerDon profile image

      Gardener Don 5 years ago

      I've always used sheep droppings (called dags here in New Zealand). Collect them when they're dry and they're easy to handle

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Very nice lens, great job!

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 5 years ago

      You seem to have everything needed here. Great job!

    • flinnie lm profile image

      Gloria Freeman 6 years ago from Alabama USA

      Hi thanks for all the info and tips.I love gardening.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Thank you for sharing all of this information, this is very helpful. :)

    • GonnaFly profile image

      Jeanette 6 years ago from Australia

      What a helpful page! I tend to use mostly horse manure because I can get that for free. But I also like to mix in some chook manure. This lens has been blessed and added to my Growing Vegetables and Herbs lens.

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 6 years ago from Colorado

      Very helpful tips here. I never really knew much about manure before. Horse manure is the most readily available to me. Now I know what I need to do in order to properly use any of these manures. Thanks! Appreciated the scoop on poop.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      thanks for sharing

    • flicker lm profile image

      flicker lm 6 years ago

      Thanks for the useful information. I'd never heard of using Alpaca Manure before.

    • profile image

      StaCslns 6 years ago

      We use horse manure! I learned a lot from this lens!

    • Rosaquid profile image

      Rosaquid 6 years ago

      I use horse manure, thanks to an obliging horse next-door. Thanks for the informative lens! (And fun, too.)

    • wheresthekarma profile image

      wheresthekarma 6 years ago

      @anonymous: Awww thank you Outback Jack! I really appreciate the blessing AND the tips on camel manure! Thanks so much!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      A great and worthwhile lens. I use many different manures but my favourite is camel poo from the stall as the camel's large feet break it down and it has a consistency of potting mix which makes it very easy to spread or mix in. I get very few weeds coming up from camel poo as well. I am also lucky as an elderly farmer friend gives me a trailer load of cow poo that has been broken down each year. I find sheep poo takes a while to break down but that is ok as I call it my slow release fertilizer. Horse poo seems to be the best to get the worms active in my outback garden. P.S. Yours is the first lens that I have blessed since becoming a squid angel.

    • MacPharlain profile image

      MacPharlain 6 years ago

      I'm using cow manure for the first time this year. Got a load of it last fall, hopefully it's had enough time to compost.