Reader Question About Manure

My reader asks "I have my share of chicken manure mixed with wood shavings and straw as well as sheep and llama manure with hay and straw and straight llama manure. What is the best way to use these manures in the garden?"
  8 answers
  • BarbM BarbM on Apr 17, 2014
    I have taken mine and mixed it all together and use it as a mulch around all my shrubs and trees. We have rototilled this into our garden over the years and boy has that helped! Hope this gives you some ideas!

  • Bonny McDaniel Bonny McDaniel on Apr 17, 2014
    Although straw can be used as a mulch, it robs the soil of nitrogen in the process of decomposing. If you rototill or turn it into open soil and let it fallow out for a year or two, it should loosen up clay soil or add to sandy soil. If the "straw" is not actually straw but the stems of alfalfa, then that is OK to put around plants as that adds to the nitrogen.

  • Sandy Sandy on Apr 17, 2014
    Animal manure should have time to compost or break down before you apply. Fresh manure may burn your plants and will make your yard smelly.

  • Christine Christine on Apr 17, 2014
    Chicken manure, even when well composted, can be too 'hot' and burn your plants. Go very easy with it. We have had llamas and goats. It best to make 'tea' with their manure as it doesn't break down easily. If you don't want to make the tea, it is great for soil tilth as well. Make sure it's tilled in thoroughly! Congrats on having a stash of organic fertilizer!!

  • Yvonne Moore Yvonne Moore on Apr 17, 2014
    I would mix it real well with other ingredients and make sure it's good for the plants to be close to in the mixture. The straw is good mainly for putting into sandy soil so that it can be decomposed of properly. Also good to put on the bed if you live where it snows for plants that come up annually like roses, succulents and other tender plants, i think bark is good between rows for keeping out weeds providing that it;s mulched by shredding and isn't from treated wood. Newspaper and barrier material keeps weeds down so does black plastic cut out in circles to leave the minimum of weeding and watering in order conserve water.

  • Nell C Nell C on Apr 17, 2014
    Wood shavings are not something you should be putting around your plants. Everything else you've mentioned should be composted before you apply it to your plants.

  • Tracy Daniels Tracy Daniels on Apr 17, 2014
    you can make manure tea, put manure in a burlap bag and then in a bucket then fill the bucket with water, place a lid on top but not sealed and let it "steep" for a week or 2 then remover the bag and the liquid can be used at the base of pretty much any plant, and it stores well in jars, you can dilute it for house plants, like a cup in a gallon of water.. hope this helps..

  • Anna Anna on Apr 17, 2014
    Where I grew up there were a lot of chicken ranches. The alfalfa farmers would reclaim the manure, but they left it in piles for a year or two to compost before they would use it. NEVER use uncomposted chicken manure. It will burn your plants. The best manure is from dairy farms. The cows's digestion removes all the weed seeds They are happy to give it away.