Full Member
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Joined: Sun Jul 02, 2006 7:57 am

What can be done without manure?

A friend of mine has a large farm in a remoted country area, they want to grow some fruit trees organically, but they do not have any livestock or fowls. What fertilizers can they use? Can they make compost without manure?

Senior Member
Posts: 127
Joined: Sat Jul 15, 2006 1:37 am
Location: 5a - Maine

They shouldn't have a problem. Compost is a great way to get nutrients to your plants organically, and manure is not vital to a good compost mix. Manure is kind of already composted, which is why a lot of people use it alone on their gardens (tilled in of course, never just straight on the plants), and it can help enrich a compost thats lacking a little, but really isn't necessary. Also, if they wanted to get manure, they should contact local people who do have livestock or fowl (many people don't suggest using chicken manure because it can be a little harsh sometimes, but I know some people who have had great results with it) and ask them about picking some up, assuming they have a truck they can use and don't mind riding home with the smell. A lot of ranchers are happy to let someone else shovel out their barns for them.


Super Green Thumb
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Joined: Thu Oct 21, 2004 9:58 pm
Location: Victoria, BC

Manure is just one of many greens (compostables with a C:N ratio that is close one or less than one). Grass, coffee grounds, green plant matter, corn husks are really high in Nitrogen all make great greens. You can get buckets of coffee grinds from coffee shops, I get mine from a place that uses organic coffee beans and roasts them themselves.

If they live near a coast, seaweed makes a great green. Remind to not forget the browns though. Leaves are my favorite and I like to use a wide a variety of leaves as possible.

The best are apple, then would be maple. Linden tree (aka basswood (Tilia americanus)) are quite good. Oak leaves are good but, if you plan on growing any grasses (like corn) in your compost don't use Oak because they have a chemical (called Coumarin) that retards the growth of grasses.

Some people like to use newspaper but, I personally don't like it because it has a C:N ratio of about 200:1 and is very slow to break down and doesn't have any nutrients. Don't use colour articles because they contain dioxins that are bad for plants and for the soil community.

Newly Registered
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Joined: Sun Oct 29, 2006 7:25 pm
Location: Peterborough

Ruth Stout - the mulching guru - started with manure, then switched to cottonseed meal (I think) if she thought something needed a fertiliser. She mulched her fields heavily with hay and that was it! If you google Ruth Stout, you'll find plenty of info on the method. :D

Super Green Thumb
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Joined: Thu Oct 21, 2004 9:58 pm
Location: Victoria, BC

Thanks for the information Supersprout!

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