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Vegetable Gardening

Q.Is My Cow Manure Fully Composted And How To Use It In My Garden

Zone 77459. Houston Tx area | Katy3sd@yahoo.com added on October 2, 2022 | Answered

A friend has given me a few buckets of Cow manure from his pasture. It is very dry and has only a slightly earthy odor. I moved last year and have a new 20‘ x 6‘ garden. I have one row of mature okra. It will probably continue to produce for another month, maybe two. I still have two bell pepper plants (I am waiting to see if they produce any more before I pull them) and one banana pepper that is producing a little bit. The remainder of the garden has 1” to 3” Collard greens and broccoli seedlings. Also, Bush beans that are about 6 inches tall and looking a bit underfed. It has been so hot here that I am using my winter (freeze time) sheets over tomato cages to attempt to shade the small plants until it cools off a bit. I would prefer to use the natural manure fertilizer, but I keep reading about “composted manure”, And warnings to not use fresh manure in the garden because of diseases. So, here are my questions: Can I assume that cow manure ( described above) that has been in a field during some really warm weather(95 to 100 degrees) is now safe for my garden????? If you think that it would be safe, I need to know, since the garden will not be “empty” except for a few weeks (perhaps two months) during the year, is it OK (after breaking it down to almost dust) to work it into the soil around the plants? Or, would it be better to just move the leaves that I have covering the soil, sprinkle the manure in and then put the leaves back on top? I really appreciate any help I can get from you. I used to have an established Garden that someone else fertilized with all chemical fertilizer, so I do not have much experience. Thanks so much for any help you can give me!

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Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Answered on October 4, 2022

I use fresh manure quite often! It can carry some risk of disease, but I have never had much of an issue.

With that being said, composting it is much better. I do prefer this method when I have the time to do so. Fortunately, this composts very quickly. You could, simply, lay it out in the sun for a week or so, and it will be ready to use. What I do is put it into a large tote with some soil of your choice, and let it sit for as long as I can. Shake it, occasionally.



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