Animal manure has been used in fruit and vegetable gardens for centuries. However, it has also caused problems for growers. It is good to add manure to your garden to aid in developing a healthy soil. Still, you need to know that it might do more harm than good if you use it improperly.
First of all, you should avoid using fresh or un-composted raw manure on all your fruits and vegetables. Mainly the root vegetables such as radish, carrot, beetroot, and potato. It can burn and damage your crops.
But, this is not the case for composted animal manures. When manure is composted correctly, it can be used as a fertilizer without any adverse effects on your fruit and vegetable gardens.
In this article:
- What Vegetables Do Not Like Manure?
- How To Avoid Health Risks And Contamination Caused By Manure?
- Where To Get Manure That Is Safe For Your Garden?
- Is Manure Good For All Vegetables?
- How To Use Manure In A Vegetable Garden?
- What Kind Of Manure Can Be Composted?
What Vegetables Do Not Like Manure?
Animal manure is beneficial for growing plants. In fact, it is considered to be the best organic fertilizer that you can use. Manure can be added to your soil to give your plants the nutrients needed to grow as long as it is composted animal manure.
It is not recommended to use fresh or un-composted manure in fruit and vegetable gardens. Especially for vegetables that grow underneath the soil, such as:
And the ones that lean or sit on the ground surface, such as:
They are at high risk of contamination due to pathogens, diseases, and bacteria that live in the fresh manure. The vegetables listed above can be susceptible to these disease-causing organisms. Fresh manure should be composted before using it in your garden.
In addition, to pathogens, diseases, and bacteria, animal manure can contain herbicide residue that can damage your vegetable garden. The plants treated with herbicides can retain their herbicidal activity even after passing through an animal’s digestive system and even after composting. 
The vegetables sensitive to manure containing herbicide residue are vegetables such as:
The use of herbicide-contaminated manure can kill seedlings and cause the malformation of new leaves.
How To Avoid Health Risks And Contamination Caused By Manure?
Knowing the risks and keeping your soil fertile is vital when growing your own food. The best soil is usually organic soil that contains manure. However, there are risks with using waste from cows, pigs, sheep, horses, and other animals. This can be a big concern due to bacteria such as E. coli, and pathogens can cause health issues.
You can still take specific preventive measures to avoid risks. You should always avoid using fresh manure in your vegetable garden.
If you need to use manure as fertilizer for your plants in your garden, you should know that manure needs to be adequately aged before you can use it. Otherwise, it can cause burns to plant roots and germination problems. The best time to use fresh manure is at least 3 months before planting your seeds or plants.
Put manure in the soil for at least 3 months before you intend to sow or plant your crops to ensure optimal growth and nutrition.
Soil has bacteria, fungi, and other organisms living in it. These organisms heat up the manure to high temperatures and eliminate harmful bacteria such as E.coli.
Manure goes through a similar heat process when it’s being composted. This heat also destroys weed seeds and most pathogens. So, you can easily use composted animal manure for your fruits and vegetables.
To avoid contamination, you will just need some time and patience.
Where To Get Manure That Is Safe For Your Garden?
It is true that, as a fertilizer, manure is highly valuable. But where do you get safe manure for your vegetables and for the rest of your garden?
The safest way is to buy composted manure from a reputable source. Reputable farmers that grow lamas, goats, sheep, cows, horses, pigs, or chickens can have a lot of composted manure. These types of manures are all considered to be safe for crops. The manure should be free of any harmful chemicals and strong odors.
Another option is to buy manure that is sold as a fertilizer. The manure must be labeled as composted manure.
Is Manure Good For All Vegetables?
Manure is an excellent source to add organic matter to the soil. But here, a question arises is manure good for all vegetables? Fresh and un-composted manure is not recommended to use for fruit and vegetables. It contains harmful bacteria and pathogens that can contaminate your crops.
However, you can use composted manure for vegetables that are heavy feeders. These include cucumber, squash, eggplant, cabbage, celery, melons, tomatoes, and many more. You can work the composted manure into the soil just before sowing or transplanting. Plus, you can add a handful of composted manure to the side of mentioned vegetables after the blooming has started.
Composted manure improves soil texture and adds nutrients, but it is not a well-balanced fertilizer. 
How To Use Manure In A Vegetable Garden?
The use of manure in adding organic matter to the soil is an ancient method. It is used in many organic gardens. Overall, manure is the best soil conditioner for your fruit and vegetable garden. The only thing you should be careful about is applying fresh manure at the wrong time.
Here are the tips for how to use manure in a vegetable garden:
Avoid using manure that is contaminated with herbicides. These days it is hard to tell what is the source of animal feed. The primary culprit in herbicides is an aminopyralid. It is a weed killer that kills persistent weeds and requires fewer applications than other weed killers. If the animal feed is contaminated with herbicides, it can spread through manure and contaminate everything around it. Some herbicides remain active even in 12 months old manure. So, if you are not sure that manure is herbicide-free, avoid using it in your vegetable garden.
Use Composted Manure. It is crucial to use composted manure. The compost pile temperature can reach approximately 160oF (70oC). This heat kills weed seeds, bacteria, and most pathogens.
Apply manure at the end of the growing season. The end of the growing season is the best time to add manure to your garden. Even if it is fresh manure. It will have enough time to break down and prepare the soil for your crops at the start of the growing season.
Get manure from a trusted source. You can order manure from a trusted source online or your local garden center. You can also buy it from your local farmer. If he is not using herbicides, that is!
Practice good hygiene. You should wear gloves when handling manure and, of course, wash your hands after.
With all that said, watch Charles Dowding’s experiment where he grows some vegetables in fresh horse manure.
What Kind Of Manure Can Be Composted?
Composting can be done for many different types of manure, such as cows, chickens, horses, goats, sheep, pigs, and donkeys manure. They can be composted and are safe to use in a vegetable garden.
Manure should contain a large amount of animal bedding material such as wood shavings, sawdust, spilled hay, or straw.
Manure has been a great source of adding organic matter to the soil since ancient times. The use of synthetic weed killers has destroyed the originality of manure. In fact, it is much more likely to harm sensitive and leafy vegetables in your garden. It also increases the risk of health issues due to bacterial contamination if fresh manure is used.
Do not use fresh manure for your fruits and vegetables. Especially for underground vegetables and some fruits such as strawberries. However, you can use it several months before planting as a soil conditioner. Also, ensure that manure is free from chemicals used in herbicides.
If you are using manure, you should always use composted manure. It is safer and more effective.
What To Do Next
Check out our other Gardening How To articles to learn more and help your plants when they need it.
Also, check out other similar articles in our Soil and Fertilizers section.
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