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does cow manure have weed seeds

Pile manure so the pile is at least 4 feet by 4 feet by 4 feet, either in a compost bin or directly on the ground. Water the pile. Cover with a tarp.

Manure is one of the best natural fertilizers available. However, it may contain weed seeds that will cover the garden with weeds if they are not killed. Composting the manure can kill the weed seeds and make the manure safer to use. The number of seeds that die depends on weed species, temperature, moisture and time. More seeds die at higher temperatures and at about 35 percent moisture, which is about as damp as a wrung-out sponge.

Turn the pile every three days with a spading fork. Measure the temperature at the center of the pile when you turn it. Add chicken manure, blood meal or grass clippings if the temperature does not go above 120 degrees Fahrenheit during the first week. Replace the tarp covering the pile after turning.

Water the compost if the center of the pile is crumbly and does not stick together when you squeeze it. Continue turning regularly as long as the pile continues to heat up. Spread the composted manure on your garden or landscape when it is dark, even-textured and looks like soil.

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Sheep & Llama
These animals spend a great deal of time outdoors leaving their droppings in the field. But any that can be collected is very valuable as garden manure. Like cows, these animals digest their food well. Their potassium rich fertilizer has an NPK rating of 0.4/0.3/0.8.

Mushroom manure
This product can be purchased in bags, or is sometimes available in bulk amounts. It is the residual waste of the mushroom growing industry, and is usually comprised of a mix of straw, horse manure, dried blood, chalk, and other ingredients that have been thoroughly composted. If you can find organic mushroom manure, it’s an outstanding soil amendment with an NPK of 0.7/0.3/0.3. Mushroom manure that is not specifically listed as organic may contain traces of pesticide residues used to control fungus gnats.

How to use it
Rotted manure can be spread on the surface of the soil or tilled into the soil. Many organic growers prefer a “no-dig” method in which manure and other soil amendments are added to the soil in layers, always on the surface. This encourages sub-soil microbes and creatures like earthworms to feed on the material at the surface, and drag it down into the sub-soil. Tilling works, too, but may be disruptive to sub-soil life. Because the texture of rotted manure is relatively fluffy, compared to soil minerals, most of it is going to remain near the surface, even when tilled.

Fresh manure can be spread over a growing area in the fall, and incorporated into the soil in the late winter prior to planting. By the time you are planting, it should have no unpleasant odour. Certified organic farmers are prohibited from spreading fresh manure for at least 90 days before harvesting crops intended for human consumption. For crops that come in direct contact with the soil, the minimum time period is 120 days. These regulations are useful to the home gardener, to indicate how seriously this is taken.

Fresh vs. “Mature” – how to store it
Using manure that has been freshly dug from the barn, coop, or paddock poses problems. Depending on the kind, it may be very high in ammonia, or contain so much nitrogen that it will burn the roots and stems of any plant it comes in contact with. It might also be full of weed seeds. Fresh manure may also contain pathogens from the animal’s gut. Storing manure allows it to mature in the same way that compost does—bacterial action causes a buildup of heat that will, ideally, kill weed seeds and other pathogens.

Rabbit
Rabbit pellets are high in nitrogen and phosphorus. Some of the literature suggests that if the pellets are kept dry, they can be used fresh, simply scattered around plants like pelleted plant food. This should be done with some degree of caution, as the pellets can be soaked with ammonia-rich urine. In a food growing system, it’s probably safer to compost rabbit pellets before use. Its NPK rating is 2/1.4/0.6.

The amount that you choose to incorporate should be relative to the area in question, and the existing fertility and structure of your soil. A farmer with depleted, dusty soil, for instance, might want to apply manure at a rate of 40 tons per acre. She might apply half that amount if the existing soil is thought to moderately fertile. In subsequent years, 10-20 tons applied every other year would maintain adequate fertility.