Sheep, donkey or rabbit manure???

julianna_il(z6 IL)April 14, 2009

Which would be the safest to use on a fresh bed?

I'm trying something different this year: straw bale gardening. I'm basically building a garden from straw bales, and making a bed inside the rectangle to grow tomatoes.

The tomato bed will be as follows (suggestions welcome)

Put down newspapers to smother grass, followed by thick layer of good leaf mold. Then I wanted to add a layer of manure (or should that go UNDER the leaf mold?).

I have access to rabbit manure, donkey manure, or sheep manure mixed with straw.

I don't want to burn my tomato seedlings. Which of these would be the best choice?

And then, I thought I'd probably add a layer of bags of soil/compost from Lowes. I don't have any finished compost right now, although I've got one batch might be close to being ready when I plant.


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No animal manure should be put onto a garden plot, especially one that will grow food, until it has been aged 12 months and then there should be 90 to 120 days until harvest, or unles that manure has been properly composted. Disease pathogens in animal manures, in spite of antibiotics or maybe because of the overuse of antibiotics, over the last several years.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2009 at 6:43PM
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leira(6 MA)

I'd use the rabbit manure, myself.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2009 at 9:28AM
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If you rely on outdated information, that available before mid 2008 you will find that the 90 to 120 day recommendation is fairly standard, but if you look at later information you will find the recommendation that all manures be aged at least 12 months or properly composted and that no manure be added to a vegetable garden earlier than the 90 to 120 day window.
Only someone unconcerned about the health and welfare of their family would not follow these guidelines.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2009 at 7:07AM
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I don't know where you get your information, but you are way off base. Here are links to 2 reputable sources that both say 120 days if the crop touches the soil and 90 day if it dow not touch the soil when raw manure is used and incorporated into the soil.

Maine Cooporative Extension - 2008

Cornell Cooporative Extension

The garden Guy
New articles & garden journal entries!

    Bookmark   April 16, 2009 at 6:46PM
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And both of those sources rely on the NOP Standards which are a compromise of good organic practices and people that do not want to use good organic practices but still wish to label their products "organic". The NOP Standards are watered down and do not reflect good organic practices.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2009 at 7:58PM
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Really! So what is your source or "good organic practices" that is more of an authority than Cornell Cooperoative Extension or the dozens of other institutions all across the country that have the same views! Since when does Cornell Cooporative Extension have anything to do with selling products or labeling any product organic??
You have made that 1-year claim repeatedly but I have never seem you substansciate it with any studies or quotes from the experts?

    Bookmark   April 19, 2009 at 10:37AM
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I've raised rabbits for about 8 years now, and I've used their manure on my vegetable garden for 6 years, then on the (bad) advice from some people, not for 2 years, and then again this year. Rabbits do not carry any known diseases that humans can catch. They do carry a type of coccidosis peculiar to them, and it does not even infect my dogs who eat the raw droppings all the time (there are many different types of coccidosis). I spread the manure on the garden in the fall, cover it with leaves, and usually till in the spring. I didn't even bother tilling this year. My soil was loose from preceding years, so I didn't bother. Once again, great garden, large fruits, no disease. I would not be so fast to put donkey or other manure on my garden, but I happen to know a bit about rabbits. I even add to the garden all winter, and the urine dissipates, not harming the garden either.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2010 at 6:14PM
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ndstitch(Zone 5)

I should add that my biggest problem this year was an *excess* of bees. I had everything from cut bees to bumble bees in there, it was dangerous!

    Bookmark   August 24, 2010 at 6:17PM
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IMO as long as you can see to walk & are not stung, you can not have too many bees.
I know a few people who still use rabbit manure & it never burns they plants, even with the higher N.
I no longer have rabbits, hogs or cows, but our family of 8 was raised on fruit grew from these manures & none of us have ever had a problem because of it. Some of my family do not even use the 120 day rule.
So I think as long as the manure is composted for 30-60 days or turned under 60-90 days before planting seeds you will never have a problem. It least we have not.
I am going to believe what I know & what Cornell says.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2012 at 10:30PM
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jolj, I am sure you will find that Cornell and Clemson will advise you to follow the guidelines established by the Center For Disease Control and others which is the not apply animal manures where you are growing food crops for 90 to 120 days before harvesting those foods.
Whether 30 to 60 days in the compost pile is enough depends on temperatures reached and how completely composted the material is.
If you never had what is refered to as the 24, 48, or 72 hour "flu" you probably never have had food poisoning from the disease pathogens from manures, but if you did the mosat likely cause was from those animal manures.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 7:45AM
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I will probably get them all for real, for saying /typing this. I have not had the flu or any other virus in many years.
The only foods poisoning I had was traced to raw fish, not manure. It was bad for 3 day, but no fever, just blood.
If one compost 30-60 days or tills under 60-90 days before planting seeds, only radishes will be ready before the 90 ABOVE ground rule or the 120 BELOW ground rule.
As I said many on the net has preached the rule, but one gardener use Raw horse manure as a side dress & his family did not have a virus all summer, that includes his 60 year old mother.
I guess the organ garden food make my family strong or we are composting everything the right way.
I think one should own what they do & take responsibility for it.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2012 at 8:38PM
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I am probably not the "best" parent, I sometimes do not follow what the "overparenoid experts" recommend. As far as manure on the garden, with the fresh rabbit manure... July - December on Asparagus, January - April on raspberries, May - June sweet corn and then back on asparagus again. I sometimes wonder if by us being around the animals daily if we aren't always exposed to some bacteria giving us some resisitance. People who get sick have weekened immune systems and/or are not constantly exposed to some of the pathogens to build up immunity. I think I would use all the manure, especially if you can get it this fall yet.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 7:51PM
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Being raised on a farm, I see your point.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 8:05PM
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From the New York Times:

--"In studies of what is called the hygiene hypothesis, researchers are concluding that organisms like the millions of bacteria, viruses and especially worms that enter the body along with "dirt" spur the development of a healthy immune system. Several continuing studies suggest that worms may help to redirect an immune system that has gone awry and resulted in autoimmune disorders, allergies and asthma."--

Now tell that to the paranoid health freaks that pop up on the pathetic "network news" often and they will burn you at the stake as a witch or warlock.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2012 at 1:59AM
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A weakened immune system might also be genetic, not just the failure to be exposed to as many disease pathogens as possible as early in life as possible. There is nothing wrong with using common sense, washing hands and foods and following recommendations from knowledgeable people for example, to help keep you and your family from being exposed to disease pathogens.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 6:10AM
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Of course one should always use common sense. Sometimes I think "knowledgable people" and "experts" should use some common sense. I think the average person using common sense would not put manure on lettuce and harvest the next day, but I think composting manure for 12 months, applying to garden and then not harvesting that part of the gardenfor another 90-120 days is extreme. I would not have any reservation putting FRESH manure on my garden in the fall and then planting it in the spring and eating a carrot straight from the garden although I am sure some experts would probably get food poisening just hearing what I am doing.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 1:07PM
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Sheech. Wash your food. Billions of people around the world live in horrendous hygiene conditions, and the vast majority don't get sick if they either cook their food or wash it off with soapy, then clean water. The soapy water destroys bacteria - has been doing so for millennia.

Go to all the trouble you want with aging manure and so on, and the flies buzzing around your garden - and that one that landed on your tomato - just came from where? That heap of fresh raccoon poop down by the pond?

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 2:23PM
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I do not use fresh manures, because it can burn my plants.
But I have had a gardener laugh at the ideal that it hurts the vegetables or the people, as he is spreading the fresh/raw horse manure along the rows.
I would not chance it, nor will I say that it will kill you.
I think you have to do the research & make your mind up for yourself. As the gardener did, when I told him of the 90/120 rule.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 11:29PM
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The guidelines refer to not applying fresh, uncomposted animal manures to a garden for 90 to 120 days before harvest. If you put fresh, uncomposted, animal manures on your garden in the fall that falls outside that time freame, if you plant in the spring. If you put fresh, uncomposted animal manures on your garden in March and do not harvest until July, or later, that falls within those guidelines.
Composting animal manures is better then applying them fresh to the garden since as you apply them them and they sit there they loose valuable nutrients which composting can hold. If you smell manure you are loosing valuable nutrients.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 6:23AM
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