Learn the Benefits of Cow Manure
Compost in Gardens
The use of cattle manure, or cow dung, in the garden is a popular practice in many rural areas. This type of manure is not as rich in nitrogen as many other types; however, the high ammonia levels can burn plants when the fresh manure is directly applied. Composted cow manure, on the other hand, can provide numerous benefits to the garden.
Using it in Summer
Composting cow manure has several benefits. In addition to eliminating harmful ammonia gas and pathogens (like E. coli), as well as weed seeds, composted cow manure will add generous amounts of organic matter to your soil. By mixing this compost into the soil, you can improve its moisture-holding capacity. This allows you to water less frequently, as the roots of plants can use the additional water and nutrients when needed. Additionally, it will improve aeration, helping to break up compacted soils. Composted cow manure also contains beneficial bacteria, which convert nutrients into easily accessible forms so they can be slowly released without burning tender plant roots. Composting cow manure also produces about a third less greenhouse gases, making it environmentally friendly.
Composted cow manure fertilizer makes an excellent growing medium for garden plants. When turned into compost and fed to plants and vegetables, cow manure becomes a nutrient-rich fertilizer. It can be mixed into the soil or used as top dressing. Most composting bins or piles are located within easy reach of the garden. Heavy manures, like that of cows, should be mixed with lighter materials, such as straw or hay, in addition to the usual organic substances from vegetable matter, garden debris, etc. Small amounts of lime or ash may also be added. An important consideration when composting cow manure is the size of your or pile. If it’s too small, it won’t provide enough heat, which is essential for the composting process. Too big, however, and the pile may not get enough air. Therefore, frequently turning the pile is necessary. Composted cattle manure adds significant amounts of organic material to the soil. With the addition of cow manure fertilizer, you can improve the overall health of your soil and produce healthy, vigorous plants.
Here’s How the Compost is Made:
Select a location where you can build a 3- to 4-foot square pile and have room to turn it.
Spread a 3-inch layer of dry organic material on the square area. Spread two inches of manure on top of it. Continue layering until the pile is 4 feet tall. Water the pile as you build it so it is slightly damp all the way through. Cover with a layer of soil.
Turn the pile every 3 days. Keep the pile moist but not soggy. Check the temperature of the center of the pile when you turn it. It should be between 120 and 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
Use the compost when it stops heating in the center and is dark brown, crumbly, and has an earthy smell.
Things You Will Need
High carbon material (leaves, dry grass clippings, weeds)
Spading fork, pitchfork or shovel
A Major Tip
If the compost does not heat it is too dry or does not have enough nitrogen. Add water if the pile feels dry. Add more manure if it is damp but cool.
If the pile has a strong unpleasant odor it is too wet or has too much manure. Spread it out to dry if it is too wet. Add more high carbon material if it has too much manure.
A bin is not necessary but will contain the compost as it decomposes.
Do not use fresh or incompletely composted cow manure on edible crops.
If the pile is getting too hot, turn it more often. Temperatures above 160 degrees will kill the microorganisms that make compost from the fresh materials.