new home owner
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Horse poop

Hi folks. I have a problem in my backyard. The previous owner of my house had a horse in a small pen and it is full (about 10' X 15' X 3' deep) of hay and horse poop. I keep walking by it cause I have no idea how to get rid of it. I was thinking about just digging a hole and burying it. Would that be detrimental to anything? Or is there a better way to go with it?

The Helpful Gardener
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AARGH! :shock: STEP AWAY FROM THE POOP! :P

Throw it out? Bury it? :cry:

They have left you a pile of garden gold and you are going to dispose of it? :?

(long silence as HG composes self and thoughts...)

Okay, I'm better.

Yes there is a better way, and you will find a dozen or so threads on composting here. What you have is the makings for the best garden soil on your whole block, maybe your whole town, no exaggeration! Those new trees would LOVE to get planted with heaps of that stuff as long as it's composted.

First of all, how old is the pile? If it's a few months already you are a good way there already; if not here's the recipe...

Layer of leaves, layer of poop, layer of grass clippings, layer of leaves, layer of poop, ad infinitum or until you run out of poop. Needn't be exact, and you can substitute cocoa hulls or softwood bark for leaves and vegetable leavings for grass clippings. Hit up the neighbors for their garden trash (leaves and grass); we all do.

I ignored my green friends for years about this; I was a professional and we all used chemical fertilizer and pesticides cuz they were easy. I have been organic for four years now and am still not done kicking myself in the a** for not starting sooner. Less disease, lower maintenance, lower cost and better for me and the environment...

So don't hesitate! Start that compost heap today! Those new trees and gardens are going to be much more successfull than you know if you utilize that pile instead of discarding it...

Scott

grandpasrose
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If they kept horses there for several years, and the poop is three feet thick as you say, then the stuff on the bottom is already aged and composted, and could be used mixed with your soil now. Don't use the green, smelly, new stuff though. Put it in the compost! :wink:
Val.
VAL (Grandpa's Rose)

opabinia51
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Hmmmm, looks like enough has been said but I will add this:

Nitrogen, Phosphorous, Potassium (NPK):
Horse Manure (fresh): 0.44/0.35/0.3

Composted horse manure will have slighly less Nitrogen for sure and perhaps some less P and K as well.

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Grey
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I wish I had a big pile of horse poop! (Grey turns green with envy)

Enjoy your "garden gold"! :lol:

opabinia51
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I have an endless supply of dirt cheap horse manure from local farmers. It's great stuff. Horse manure can have seeds in it but, I don't really find it to be a problem.

Plus if you place it in a pile with some leaves and allow it to hot compost all spring and summer (or all fall and winter) the seeds will be killed.

Horse manure is the second 'green' that goes into my sheet compost. And it is the last green that goes on top for the Corn, Squash, Pototoe, Bean area of my garden.

The Helpful Gardener
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Or you could just use it as the base for new flower beds (basically burying it). Take out soil, pile it, put in poop, replace soil on top, plant. Watch what happens to those plants!

opabinia51
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Loaded up this bed that I did for my landlord/lady for winter veggies with horse manure and you should see how well things are growing. My pitiful winter vegetable bed out front looks horrible compared to there's! (Of course, earlier in the summer I buried sour compost beneath my bed).

new home owner
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I think I'll go with HG's idea for now. There is just too much for me to try to do those other things. It isn't fresh, it's more like a black sludge mixed with hay.

I'm really enjoying this forum, but I must admit I'm a gardening idiot. I read the rest of the posts about composting and whatnot, but I'm still confused. I read on a website that I should dig a hole, and make a box out of wood palettes and then make another one to turn it in. This seems rather bizarre and backbraking work. Am I to shovel my compost from one 4 foot deep hole into another? Does not sound pleasant.

I also saw something on the Discovery Channel that looked interesting. A guy was putting worms on the ground then he put a mound of organic waste on top of them and covered with plastic and kept it wet. Then the worms worked their way to the top and left a pile of black dirt underneath. He scooped up the worms, sold the dirt and started all over.

grandpasrose
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Hi NHO! Don't feel overwhelmed! It's really easy once you start, it just sounds complicated! :?
Regarding your compost - no it does not have to be back breaking work! There are probably hundreds of ways to make yourself a compost, but this is. one of the easiest ways I have seen.

Build yourself four squares of 6 or 8 inch boards that are about 3 feet across. Then stack them on top of each other, it will then be about 2.5 to 3 feet tall. Some people put small (1/4 inch) slats in between each square to let air get to the compost. You can also have more than 4 squares, or less, it's all up to you! 8)

Now, fill this with your compost following the rules of a layer of green (coffee grounds, kitchen scraps, manure, green grass, fresh prunings from the garden, etc) and then a layer of browns (dry grass, straw or hay, paper - without colored ink, etc.). Some people often put a shovelful of soil in on top of that, some don't. You can also add stove ashes, egg shells, pond cleanings, vacuum cleaner contents, vegetable pods, chipped up branches - anything that is not or does not contain a meat product. In other parts of the Organic Forum, there is lots of good information about what can go into your compost. You don't have to be a scientist though!

Nothing needs to be measured or anything, just a couple inches of green and then brown each at a time. You also need to make sure that your compost does not totally dry out. You don't want it soaking wet, but it does need to be moist in order to work properly.

Once in while this compost needs to be turned so that everything you have in there is getting well composted. Again, everyone has their own routine - weekly, bi-weekly, monthly.... The way you do this is remove the top square and place it right beside your stack. Shovel the compost into this square, stirring things up as much as you can, until it is filled and then move the next square on top of it. Keep doing this until you have restacked all the squares.

When it is time to harvest the compost, which for me is every fall, but everyone has their own routine (when it looks like nice dark soil) you just empty your stack and use your compost in all your gardens. Whatever has not been fully composted yet can go back into the compost stack to start your next batch!

Don't feel that it is too much for you, start small, and you'll get the hang of it! Hang in there and let us know how you're doing. If you have any other questions, feel free to drop in and ask - we'll be here! :wink:

Val

The Helpful Gardener
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NHO, I fought this for years 'cuz I thought it would be too much work. Then I tried it. The results I got have me with two piles working at all times and a tumbler for fast finishing so I always have some on hand. I fertilize with it (my garden got nothing else for nutrition this year and I blew the neighbors away, especially when the weather got hot and dry), I mulch with it (or you can spend $25 a yard for mulch), and I use it as a soil amendment in potting, garden beds, even my bonsais! And all it costs me is a little sweat.

So don't waste it, make sure you plant in that, even if it's just to put under those trees or a new bed. You really have gold there...

HG
Last edited by The Helpful Gardener on Mon Dec 05, 2005 6:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

dlbm300
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You are lucky you discovered that treasure cheast in you own backyard. I have to go to the local stables to get my poop!

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