bly
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Location: Bakersfield, Ca zone 9

Manure salt removal?

Has anyone tried soaking manure in water to remove some or most of the salts?
Road apples and used coffee grounds are readily available here. The soil is mostly clay and is very tired. It's been growing lawn and plants in a subdivision for 48 years. I have been advised here to add a lot of organics and coarse sand to this soil to improve it. Would soaking road apples in water for a while- days or longer- dissolve enough salt to allow me to use a lot of it in the vegetable garden soil?

Are road apples and used coffee grounds ok for a compost pile in a turn barrel? Are more ingredients needed for a better nutrient balance, maybe spoils from a market produce dept.?

imafan26
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Re: Manure salt removal?

I haven't heard of that. Usually, you only use a thin layer of manure and a thicker layer of compost.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Manure salt removal?

I don't know about the soaking, people do make manure tea.

I think composting would be a good choice, but you do need other ingredients, but not just the spoiled produce. All three (the coffee grounds, manure, and produce) are "greens" in the sense that composters use the term, meaning nitrogen rich, moist. What you need to mix with the greens are "browns" which are dry and carbon rich. Browns would include fall leaves, straw, corn stalks, shredded paper etc. (check out our composting section for more details, lists of greens and browns, etc).

Just be aware that if you are talking about amending a lawn sized area of soil, you will want a LOT of compost. No matter how big a pile you start with (and there is a limit to how big you can go unless you do the row shape, where it is piled maybe four feet high in a long windrow / cylinder shape, which can then be as long as you have material and room to make it) it will cook down to a surprisingly small amount of stuff. Starting this late in the season, you are unlikely to have enough finished compost by spring to accomplish what you need. You are likely to have to purchase some. But keep working on the compost and it will become a steady supply for you.

Best wishes and congratulations on working to actually improve your soil, not just keep pouring more fertilizer on it (which is a dead end in the long run).
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bly
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Re: Manure salt removal?

My bad, I forgot to post that this effort is for3 3 1/2 x 10 ft. raised beds. Food growing is the goal.

imafan26
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Re: Manure salt removal?

For such a small bed you don't need that much manure. But if you are growing edibles, you either have to apply the manure 120 days in advance of harvest or make sure you use composted manure.

You only need about a 1/4 inch layer of manure over the garden and 2-4 inches of compost worked in prior to planting. That should not add that much salt. If this is a raised bed, rain and water should leach it, unless your water has a high salt content. If you are worried about that you can install a filter to help remove salt from the water. They do make filters for the garden. One of the brands is boogie blue. It is not cheap about $50 but it will filter up to 35,000 gallons of water. There are other filters you can check out. You need to figure the value by the number of gallons of water it is able to filter.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

bly
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Re: Manure salt removal?

The local state ag advisor suggested 15-15-15 fertilizer, compost, and a cover crop this winter to boost the soil. That is now the plan.

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jal_ut
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Re: Manure salt removal?

Good plan.

I would be very careful with manure in small beds. A little in the fall and worked in and left over winter would be OK.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

bly
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Location: Bakersfield, Ca zone 9

Re: Manure salt removal?

The soil in the beds has been fallow, with the manure already layered in, for 1 1/2 years. The ag advisor told me it was illegal to grow food with manure in the soil.

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