How to Add Manure to Your Home Vegetable Garden

If you love growing great tasting vegetables in your home vegetable garden then by now you should know that in order to maintain that yearly success your soil needs to be rich in nutrients. There are a number of ways you can add these nutrients to your soil, from decayed organic material, to your food scraps to a variety of chemicals. One of the best ways is to add manure. Certain manures are nothing more than organic matter rich in nutrients waiting for them to be released. When you work manure into your soil you provide a food source for your soil’s ecosystem to feed on. In turn that ecosystem releases the nutrients from the manure that your plants need to grow and thrive. Here is how you can add manure to your home vegetable garden.

It goes without saying that the first step in this process is to actually obtain the manure. There are a number of varieties of manure to choose from such as chicken, cow, horse and green manures such as alfalfa, winter rye and buckwheat. Never use human, dog or cat manure in your garden. The first place to look for manure is the free website Craigslist. Go to the farm and garden section in your area and search on manure. You’ll be surprised how many farmers, horse breeders and so on will just give it to you for free. If you are unable to find free manure you can always buy it at your local home or garden center.

Now that you have your manure you need to understand that the fresher the manure the longer you need to let it sit in your home vegetable garden’s soil before you plant your seeds. A good rule of thumb is to use the manure in the autumn months giving the soil’s underlying ecosystem plenty of time to feed on it so the nutrients can be released.

With your manure added to your soil, now is the time that you work it in. You can use a pitchfork, garden tiller, garden ho, you name it. The tool you choose is completely up to you. I use a pitchfork since my garden is a size I can handle within reasonable physical limits. If you have a very large garden, you may want to consider buying or renting a tiller.

Now that the manure is worked into the soil, wait until a week or two prior to the following season’s planting dates for this next step. Using your tool of choice, work the soil again so that you are mixing in the broken down manure. This helps spread the nutrients around. Your seeds are now ready to plant.

In some cases spreading manure can be a messy (and smelly) job, but the benefits for a home vegetable garden can be tremendous. Follow this every year and you will have great soil for your fruits and vegetables in no time.

About the Author
Mike Podlesny is the owner of Mike the Gardener Enterprises, LLC, the exclusive home of the Seeds of the Month Club, which has appeared on NBC, ABC and MSN Money as a great way for consumers to save money.

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