Uncomposted horse manure in my garden!

joanicole(7 ashland, or)June 2, 2013

We made a mistake and mixed fresh horse manure in with the soil before planting our vegetables. Now we have yellow leaves on some plants and slow germination.

What do we do to amend the soil and save our garden?

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Yikes. My gut says soak the area to attempt to remove as much nitrogen as possible but this may also rot the vegetable roots. Probably best to play the waiting game and hope some can survive the high levels until they are naturally reduced to "safe" amounts in the soil.

Worst case, you lose the current crop but can replant into GREAT soil once the compost has matured.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2013 at 6:52AM
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joanicole(7 ashland, or)

We are going to test the pH of soil next. If it was strongly nitrogenous, as in lots of ammonia, wouldn't it test out highly basic?

I am going to try your recommendation of watering heavily. We'll see what happens !

    Bookmark   June 3, 2013 at 3:35PM
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I would not rely on the soil pH to give nitrogen level. Bottom line is while the soil test is a great idea regardless of whether you had an issue or not it is not going to be helpful for your intended purpose. The manure is still cooking and so the amount of nitrogen detected today will different from a couple days from now as it ages.


    Bookmark   June 4, 2013 at 6:30AM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

Agree. Sacrifice this crop to the mistake. Water it a little too heavily and repeat in a week. You might want to cover the top with a little compost and mulch. Let that sit for a few months and you can have a fall planting of something.

Compost is finished and ready to use when it smells wonderful. Your nose is the best instrument to test with.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2013 at 3:52PM
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