Senior Member
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Joined: Sun Mar 05, 2017 9:00 pm
Location: United Kingdon, England, Yorkshire

What ratio compost/manure ?


I am wanting to put some new compost and manure over my soil in readiness for planting next month, just wanted to know can i mix manure and compost and then spread it everywhere , what ratio should i mix them both? I live in UK


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Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:32 pm
Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: What ratio compost/manure ?

You don't need a lot of manure. I usually spread about 4 inches of compost over the soil and put about 1/2 inch of steer manure over that if I use manure. If your soil is acidic and you want to raise the pH about a half a point then you can use chicken manure. Make sure the manure is well composted or you are not going to harvest anything that touches the ground for 120 days after you add the manure.

I will turn the compost into 6-8 inches of the soil. You could use a tiller for a large area. I have a small garden and the tiller is a pain to service every 24 hours of use. My soil is workable since it is an old garden so it only takes me about 30 minutes to turn the soil and it is a good workout.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

Full Member
Posts: 17
Joined: Mon Mar 20, 2017 1:54 pm
Location: Southern Oregon

Re: What ratio compost/manure ?

Hi, it depends upon the type of manure and the age of the manure. Fresh manure should be used sparingly. Composted manure can be treated the same as compost because it is compost.

First understand that the Nitrogen in manures come from the Nitrogen in the air, Manure contains Ammonia excreted by the animal. The Ammonia bonds with Nitrogen in the Air making the manure high in Nitrogen. As the manure ages, the ammonia dissipates and the amount of nitrogen in the manure drops. The remaining Nitrogen is transferred to the soil when the manure compost into the soil.

Chicken and Pig manure is very high in Nitrogen and will kill your plants if not used sparingly. Sprinkle Chicken and Pig manure very lightly over the surface of the garden and till it into the soil.

Cow and Sheep manure is high in nitrogen when fresh, but the nitrogen drops significantly after composting. Again age of the manure will depend on whether you use it as compost, or just a light covering.

Horse manure is very low in nitrogen. It is the lowest of all the manures, and is usually diluted with wood shavings that lock up the nitrogen so plants can't get it. Compost horse manure that contains wood shavings until the wood shavings break down and release the nitrogen. For years, I have used fresh horse manure directly in my garden with no apparent bad effects. Just use a manure fork and separate the horse manure from the shavings and then compost the shavings.

Greener Thumb
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Joined: Wed Sep 23, 2015 1:20 am
Location: Canada zone 8b

Re: What ratio compost/manure ?

All I do is mix 1/2 garden soil and 1/4 mushroom manure and 1/4 cow manure. My tomatoes love it!
Zone 8b, Canada

Greener Thumb
Posts: 969
Joined: Thu Sep 09, 2010 8:50 pm
Location: MO

Re: What ratio compost/manure ?

Quite true that composted manure is 'compost'. It may be a bit higher in nitrogen than other composts, but once composted, it won't 'burn' plants so you can use about as much as you want. It may be a bit higher in salts but only an issue if you live in a very dry climate where salt accumulation is a problem. I do like to mix different composts if I'm having to buy them. They all have a bit different ingredients and the resulting nutrient ratios are different.

One clarification I'd like to offer on the earlier post about ammonia 'bonding to nitrogen in the air'. This is not actually what happens. Ammonia (NH3) will form in fresh manure and in many other materials - green grass clippings for example, if left to themselves, can start giving off a lot of ammonia gas. Ammonia can also dissolve in the water (moisture) that is present in the pile and form ammonium ions (NH4+). Is in constant equilibrium between gas and dissolved forms. Microbes will use it from the water, thus drawing more into the water from the gas phase and keeping it from wafting away. To accomplish this, you want plenty of 'browns' (leaves, straw, wood chips, cardboard, etc.) so the microbes will capture and use that ammonia while digesting the other stuff. It then becomes part of the compost (fixed nitrogen in the form of proteins, nitrate or nitrite salts). The nitrogen cycle is actually quite complex (we've hardly talked about nitrite/nitrate or fixation of nitrogen gas (N2) from the air!).

There is a lot going on in there. Fortunately we don't have to know ALL of it to make compost! But it helps to know some.

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