How To Use Manure to Fertilize Your Garden

If you’re a homeowner who takes care of their own lawn and garden, then you know the importance of fertilizer. Many people think that the only way to get good quality fertilizer is to purchase it from a store, but this isn’t always the case.

You might think of fertilizer solely as a bag of chemical-based product that you spread on your lawn and garden. But did you know that manure can also be used as a natural fertilizer? There are many different types of manure available for free, and it can be just as effective as commercial fertilizers.

If you’re looking for an organic and affordable way to fertilize your garden, manure may be the perfect option for you! Manure is packed with nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, which are essential for healthy plants.

In this blog post, we will discuss how to use manure to fertilize your garden. We will also provide some tips on selecting the right type of manure for your needs. So, read on if you’re interested in learning more!

What is Manure?

Manure is a common term for organic matter that is used as a fertilizer, such as animal manure, compost, or green manure. It can be applied to the soil to improve its fertility and structure.

Manure is usually high in nutrients, which can help to boost plant growth. It can also help to improve the water-holding capacity of the soil and reduce weeds.

Manure can be sourced from a variety of animals, including chickens, cows, rabbits, and horses. It can also be made from composted vegetable scraps and other organic matter.

When using manure on edible crops, or just in general, it is important to follow good hygiene practices and wash your hands thoroughly after handling it.

Is Manure Good For Your Garden?

Now that we’ve answered the question, “what is manure?”, let’s move on to discussing whether or not it’s good for your garden. In general, manure is an excellent way to add nutrients and organic matter to your soil. It can help improve the structure of your soil, which will make it easier for roots to penetrate and absorb water and nutrients. Manure can also help increase the populations of beneficial microorganisms in your soil, which can improve plant health.

As we mentioned before, manure is packed with nutrients that are essential for healthy plants and vegetables. The three basic components of manure are nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium are known as macronutrients, and they are required in large quantities for plants to thrive.

In fact, these three nutrients are often the limiting factors in agricultural production. This means that if your soil is lacking in any of these nutrients, your plants will not grow as well as they could.


Nitrogen is essential for producing proteins in plants that will produce green stems, strong roots, and lots of leaves. Phosphorus contributes to the movement of energy throughout the plant, particularly during maturation. Potassium aids in the conversion of nutrients required for growth and is especially useful for root vegetables and crops.

These three elements, when combined, give rise to the magic formula N-P-K, the foundation of all fertilizers, whether they are organic fertilizers or chemical fertilizers.


Manure also contains a lot of humus, which is an excellent soil amendment. Humus is a type of organic material that comes from plant fibers and animal remains, and it is important in a variety of functions: it improves clay soil tilth; provides food for soil flora and fauna; maintains moisture during droughts while maintaining good drainage during wet spells; and it is a nitrogen storehouse in the soil. In a nutshell, humus serves as a reservoir, allowing nutrients to transmission.

While manure is an excellent source of macronutrients, it’s important to remember that it also contains other elements that may not be as beneficial to your plants. For example, manure can contain high levels of sodium, chloride, and sulfate.

Too much of these elements can actually be harmful to your plants, so it’s important to use manure sparingly. We’ll discuss how to do this later on in the blog post.

Sources of Manure

In spite of all these different types of fertilizer, only cow dung is widely available at garden stores. However, there are alternatives, and you can discover a hot spot for manure that’s much superior than bagged cow and perhaps free to boot if you take some time to read and make a few phone calls.

How do you go about searching for more manures? The best places to look for free manure are farms and zoos, however farmers and zoo keepers are learning and selling their waste as a source of additional income as gardening becomes more popular. It’s still very cheap, even if they aren’t giving it away; especially if you have access to your own transportation.

However, the quality of the compost is what matters most, and not the type of manure used to make it. It’s not just cattle dung or zoo animal droppings that can make excellent compost; so can crickets or rabbits for example. Any mature, stable, and composted manure should have a uniform granular appearance and should not be warm to the touch.

Nutrient Content of Different Manures

The nutrient content of manure varies depending on the type of animal and its diet. For example, chicken manure is typically higher in nitrogen than cow manure, while rabbit manure is higher in phosphorus.

One small detail that you may want to know are that rabbit and chicken manure are the two smelliest kinds of manure, while sheep manure smells the least and is the easiest to handle and spread in your yard.

Here is the N-P-K ratio of certain animals


Cow manure has an N-P-K ratio of: 0.25 (N) – 0.15 (P) – 0.25 (K)


Horse manure has an N-P-K ratio of: 0.7 – .0.3 – 0.6


Chicken manure has an N-P-K ratio of: 1.1 – 0.8 – 0.5


Sheep manure has an N-P-K ratio of: 0.7 – .0.3 – 0.9


Rabbit manure has an N-P-K ratio of: 2.4 – 1.4 – 0.6

How to Add Manure to Your Garden

Follow these steps to add manure to your garden:

Mix It Well

To get started, combine equal amounts of “something green” (e.g. grass clippings and food waste) and “something brown” (e.g. leaves and straw). Unless it is already combined with a lot of barn straw or sawdust, fresh manure is classified as “something green.”

In the latter situation, you won’t need to use as much of “anything brown.” You’ll figure out the ideal proportions for your substance with practice and error.

Let It Age With Air and Water

A healthy decomposition pile must have enough moisture to keep the microorganisms alive while allowing air to enter. It takes approximately six to nine months at least to compost manure actively (turn on and off) or passively, depending on your method of management.

Mix It Into The Soil

In the fall, some farmers will cover their fields with a fresh layer of manure and let it mature over the winter. This is effective, but it’s not the most-used method of manure. We advise that you apply fresh manure 120 days before harvesting root crops that come into touch with the soil and 90 days before harvesting low-growing leafy veggies, such as tomatoes and peppers.

Using Composted Manure as Mulch

Using composted manure as mulch is also beneficial. Manure is a slow-release plant fertilizer, so it gives nutrients in tiny amounts over an extended time. Because manure is thought of as a slow-release plant nutrient, it may be used as mulch.

However, make sure it’s not completely fresh manure, as that is too strong for plants since it includes a lot of nitrogen, which may harm them. Furthermore, some manure fertilizers have urine as an added ingredient, which is also high in nitrogen.

To ensure your plants are not harmed, the manure you use should have been aged at least two or three months.

Tips For Using Manure In Your Garden

Here are some tips for when you are adding manure to your lawn or garden.

Don’t Use Household Animal Manure

You should not use manure from animals that you keep as pets in your house, such as dogs, cats, and hamsters. The reason for this is that these animals may be carriers of parasites or other diseases that could potentially harm you or your plants.

Keep It Away From Food Sources

Manure is high in nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus. It’s also teeming with potential negative microorganisms. Applying fresh manure to an edible garden isn’t the greatest idea for us home gardeners. The danger that it will burn and dehydrate your plants takes a back seat to the bigger concern of disease-causing germs such as Salmonella and E. Coli.

Also, be sure to practice safe and health-conscious practices when handling and dealing with manure. Wash your hands before and after, always wash your clothes and do not handle or carry the manure in any method of transportation that you would use in any other capacity. It’s best for you to use a specific bucket or wheelbarrow that you only use when handling manure.

Check For Pesticides

If you are using manure from a farm or any other local, non-regulated source, it’s important to check that the manure does not contain any traces of pesticides or medications. These chemicals can harm your plants and potentially kill them.

You can ask the farmers about their practices and what kind of products they use on their crops. If you’re still unsure, it’s best to play it safe and not use the manure.

Apply Manure Early

The best time to add manure to your garden is early in the season, well before planting. This gives the manure time to break down and decompose before your plants need it. You want to add manure about 90-120 days before you start to plant. This will give it time to break down and become more nutrient-rich for your plants.

If you add manure too close to planting time, your plants may not get the full benefit of the nutrients, and they may be stunted or even killed. Plus, the manure might be composted or fully aged enough so it could be more toxic and still contain a lot of negative bacteria.

Ending Thoughts

Manure is a valuable resource for your garden and can help improve the quality of your soil while providing important nutrients to your plants. It can be used for both organic and inorganic gardens and lawns, and it is high in nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, as well as other nutrients that help plants grow.

Manure can make a great fertilizer, and can be found from many different sources. By understanding what it is, where to find it, and how to add it to your garden, you can make use of this natural fertilizer and enjoy healthy plants and a beautiful garden.

We hope this blog post has helped you understand a little more about manure and how to use it in your own garden. Have you tried using manure in your own garden? What tips would you share with other readers? If you have any questions or would like to share your own tips on using manure, please leave us a comment below!