manure tea

donnamn3June 6, 2006

Once more I didn't get a load of manure for my veggie garden. So this year I decided to make manure tea. I bought 40 lb bags of cow manure at Home Depot and put 1/3 of each bag in 15 gal drums of well water. They sit by my garden and I plan on hand watering the plants. I can't imagine there would be a problem with this method, but need input if there is.



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pablo_nh(z4/5 NH)

Home Depot sells dehydrated manure and composted manure IIRC.

I would, personally, not foliar feed food crops with this concoction if it's not composted. Others may disagree. Also- if you let it sit there anaerobic- it is going to start smelling something fierce.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2006 at 9:11AM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

Dehydrated animal dung is full of pathogenic microbes that can cause infection or disease. The only use for a bag of dehydrated manure is to put it in the compost pile to heat it up, IMHO.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2006 at 1:16AM
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byron(4a/5b NH)

I use 3 lbs in a leg of panty hose, placed in a 5 gal bucket.

I use about 1 tbsp of tea to a gal of water. Some times I foliar feed using a 6 gal hose end sprayer.

Pathogens in composted manure???, Been around rural communities
over 50 years, The only place I hear about pathogens is from Monsanto sponsored events, IE $100 Million PAC money to the politicians that control the USDA, 6% from Monsanto to the USDA if Terminator seeds work..

    Bookmark   June 7, 2006 at 4:29PM
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pablo_nh(z4/5 NH)

Byron- he said "dehydrated", not "composted". They sell both.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2006 at 9:22PM
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The E-Coli and Salmonella poisoning outbreaks that have been in the news a lot over the last 20 years are from manure contamination of foods. These are very common disease pathogens found in all manures, fresh, dehydrated, composted, animal or human. Simply because many people have not experienced these does not mean that they are not present, just that most of us have been very lucky over the years.
This is not meant to discourage anyone from using manures, but is meant to encourage people to properly utilize the manures in out gardens, compost them first.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2008 at 7:37AM
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Definitely do NOT use this on vegetables you're going to eat without first composting it.

As for manure tea, make sure it's well-diluted. I burned the roots in half my vegetable garden the first time I used sh!t-tea.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2008 at 12:55PM
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There are a bunch of myths and misconceptions about using manure and manure tea in vegetable gardens.

Manure and manure tea has been used for growing crops for hundreds, if not thousands of years.

Sure, there are precautions you need to take when using them. The manures should be well-aged and dried before using as a tea to condition soil.

The large chemical corporations (Scotts, the maker of Miracle-Gro and Monsanto, the maker of Round Up) have tried to drive fear into the consumer/gardener about using organic substances in gardens. This is mainly by saying there are dangerous pathogens and bacteria in compost and manure.

Of course, this is to drive you away from organics and towards their chemical-based products.

As long as you get manures from reliable sources, which are sources that have grass-fed livestock, and use clean husbandry practices the manures are great to use. As I stated, the manures need to be well-aged and composted in the sun for at least several months and allowed to dry.

Using manure tea in your garden is a great way to grow green and promote lush growth with good production.

Here is a link that might be useful: Manure Tea

    Bookmark   June 19, 2010 at 9:03AM
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For Salmonella and E. coli

Risk of getting these organisms and make you sick is very low for the following reasons.

1) These two bugs could not survive long outside host (digestive system). These two organisms need warm guts and quite rich nutrient to multiply. After the bugs are excrete from the warm guts (digestive system) it will not survive long due to competition for nutrient, competitive exclusion from other microorganism, sub optimal growth temperature, physical destruction factors ie UV, heat generated during composting process. If you notice most of the food borne outbreaks associated with relatively fresh manure.

2) It will take at least 50 days for any vegetables to reach harvesting period. Number of the bugs by that time if survive will be very extremely low. These bugs require relatively high infective dose to successfully infect a person. Most of food borne outbreaks associate with population of people who are immuno-compromised from old age, diseases and from medical intervention techniques (ie chemotherapy, tissue/organ transplant).

3) These bugs have weight and subject to physical destruction of Mother Nature. UV is very effective in killing bugs. Plant leaves designed by nature to maximize exposure to sunlight which UV is a component in it. The bugs finally will be washed down into dirt by water and wind with help of earth gravity. The very small number of survive bugs, if any, finally would be trapped away from plant, into dirt/soil and gradually completely die off.

The above explanation of bugs fate would explain an extremely low incidence of food borne diseases associate with fresh vegetable relative to billions of meals people consume fresh vegetable per year. There is an unpublished risk assessment model developed to predict risk associate with getting food born diseases from consumption of fresh lettuce. The model reveal an extremely low risk.

However, there is a survival strategy, especially for Salmonella, for maintaining population in nature. This strategy involves a dormant stage of the bugs in a relatively dry environment. The strategy is similar to lyophilization of live vaccines (containing live microorganism). The bugs could survive, in a very small number, in dry foods; powder milk, spices, peanut butter etc. Before reaching this dormant stage most of the bugs population that subjected to dryness would die off in a magnitude of 3 to 5 logs.

Gardeners please do not allow this food borne bugs issue make you reluctant to use manure tea.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2010 at 9:25AM
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donnamn3, go ahead and water your plants with the manure tea. Pour it on the soil around the plants, but try to keep from pouring it directly on the plants. Your plants will love you for it and as odd as it may be to believe, you're not going to die of E Coli, salmonella or the manure rapture or anything else. :)

Here is a link that might be useful: My version of compost tea

    Bookmark   August 3, 2010 at 9:46PM
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In case you haven't noticed, I posted this in 2006. It worked fine and I haven't died (or even felt ill).
I also haven't done it since. Now I use Fish Emulsion in the water barrels and hand water immediately and empty the barrels completely. We've been lucky enough to have sufficient rain in July so haven't needed to do any watering for the first time in years. Hand watering doesn't work as well when the plants are big. It's hard to get enough water on each plant in a large garden with a bucket so will have to rely on sprinklers when it gets dry again. Only hope "Mother Nature" sees fit and continues weekly rains.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2010 at 8:27AM
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Along with all everyone else has said, it can also be helpful to wash your food before consuming.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2010 at 7:16PM
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I bought six 55 gallon barrels. 3 for compost tea, 3 for manure tea. I built some 3ft. tall stands to set the barrels upright, on top of the stands so that there is plenty of room for a 5gal. bucket to collect the tea. I drilled a 1/2'' hole directly in the middle of the bottoms of each barrel. I then placed a 2'x 2' peice of window screen inside the barrels, directly on the bottom to catch larger debris. For years, I have been using this system and has worked great for me. Yet, then again, I have a constant supply of horse and cow manure...I have a ranch in central Texas. My livestock graze strickly on native grasses and all of my grazing pastures are managed holisticly. I learned from my grandfather. Long ago, I tried 10 cubic yards of cow manure from a beef feed lot. I tried making tea out of some of the fresh stuff and it burned the heck out of my plants. But with the manure from my live stock, I do not have to worry about that. Feed lot cattle are fed high amounts of sugared-up corn products and God knows what else. The bovine's digestive system is designed to process grasses. I have witnessed many of feed lot cattle with digestive issues-not to mention that many of them become diabetic. That bagged manure at those stores all comes from these feed lots. If you compost it to full maturity, then you'll be fine but- do not use it, otherwise.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2011 at 2:13AM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

I believe we need to listen to Mr Thompson. I know several people using holistic resource management for their livestock operations. They have all gone beyond the norm in studying what happens in their pastures and why. When the average rancher finally goes out of business, his land will be purchased by holistic ranchers who are doing things right.

One thing feed lots do that Mr T probably does not is inject dewormers, hormones, steroids, and unneeded medicines. It is interesting that the grass fed manure is more mild than the production line manure.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2011 at 11:07AM
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Interesting discussion...I just wanted to point out that dry steer manure, purchased in a bag at Lowe's, is about 2-1-3. Once diluted in water, the nutrient content is even lower. I would be surprised if this level of nitrogen would burn a plant. Burning might be caused instead by salts in the manure, which come from urine contamination. Salt level will vary with the lot of manure. Normally, dry manure placed into the soil should be watered a lot to leach out any salts before planting. With the tea however, the salts are diluted already...not sure even if that would burn the plants now that I think about it. Fresh manure is more like a .5-1-.5, so burning is even less likely, but again the salts could be an issue.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2011 at 10:12AM
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Aged Manure tea (4-5 days) begins to turn green from the huge colonies of micro organisms that are growing and multiplying in the nutrient rich water. This living cocktail is beneficial to your plants and soil. My heavy clay soil does not turn into adobe around my plants after the second application. Constructing a simple wash and trim stand near your garden cleans your veggies and fruit before taking them in the house and the trimmings go right into the compost.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2011 at 3:38PM
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I would not use commercial composted manure, It surely came from a feedlot where the cattle were fed antibiotics, hormones, and who knows what else. Most e-coli poisoning comes from cow manure, Salmonella comes mostly from poultry. I believe the chemical fertilizer companies will say ANYTING to scare people away from organic gardening. Horse manure, compost vs. chemicals?? I'll take the manure any day.Chemical fertilizers are to plants what drugs are to people. Fast fix, no health benefits.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2011 at 7:23PM
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