Growing with just cow manure?

laccanvasFebruary 13, 2012

I just want to dig a hole and put a handful of cow manure in it. With this allow a decent yield. I have never grown like this before. I have read that cow manure has a rough npk of .5-.5-.5...is this right? I will be planting in a new area. No till style. Can I just dig a hole and put some compost in it? Will this produce a healthy crop? I mean will it take my tomato plant through season and survive inevitable blights?

I have planted before using Tomato Tone and Lime. This has produced good results...but I am trying to plant without using bone meals and feather meals etc. Will cow compost work with a little Lime?...or is the NPK just too low? I received tomatoes from a guy who gave me giant tomatoes. He wrote me that he amends with just a shovelful of cow compost. I am a little skeptical. Has anyone else grown this way with bountiful results?

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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

I just want to dig a hole and put a handful of cow manure in it. With this allow a decent yield. I have never grown like this before. I have read that cow manure has a rough npk of .5-.5-.5...is this right? I will be planting in a new area. No till style. Can I just dig a hole and put some compost in it? Will this produce a healthy crop? I mean will it take my tomato plant through season and survive inevitable blights?

The simple answer - no way. There are so many things wrong with this approach I'm not even sure where to begin. Sorry.

Dave

    Bookmark   February 13, 2012 at 9:35PM
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laccanvas

Please elaborate. I read that cow manure has beneficial bacteria that prevents e coli etc or something.

A guy that gave me beautiful giant tomatoes wrote that he only grows with a shovel full of cow compost. Is this impossible?

Have you used Bat Guano? I am thinking about using fruit eating bat guano. HELP.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2012 at 1:12PM
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donnabaskets(Zone 8a, Central MS)

This might work if the soil into which you are planting has been previously amended and worked so that it already has good tilth, reasonably good fertility, good drainage, etc. But to just dig a hole in native soil and add a shovelfull of manure is highly unlikely to produce the results you want.

That being said, I use alot of cow and horse manure in my garden. It is an excellent soil conditioner and adds some fertility. But I also add Blood Meal since my soil is very low in nitrogen.

The only way to know what your soil needs in the way of nutrients is to have it tested. Without a test you can do more harm than good.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2012 at 6:51PM
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Richard (chuggerguy)

I did a few plants like that in Ohio before and they were laden with nice big red healthy tomatoes. I didn't have manure but would have chopped a little in if I had have had it. I know nothing of the soil in the Knoxville area but if it were me, I'd try it and see. If it works for the guy that gave you tomatoes, it "should" work for you. I wish I could do that here in Florida... crap sand, nematodes, fungus, bacteria, should have brought soil from Ohio. Hey, send me some Knoxville soil. Just kidding. :)

    Bookmark   February 14, 2012 at 6:56PM
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laccanvas

Thanks for the replies. Normally I just barely dig a hole and put in 1/2 a cup of tomato tone and tbsp of lime and I have a good crop of tomatoes. I don't till b/c I don't want to do anything I don't have to...the reason about the whole cow manure question is b/c I am a vegetarian. I didn't know that tomato tone had bone meal and feather meal in it. I didn't even know that gardeners used bone meal and blood meal for gardening until a few months ago. I have always heard of using cow turd and horse turd. Dirt is dirt. But this whole bone meal thing is new to me. I am a new gardener.

It has been a sad and weary search trying to find the right vegetarian fertilizer for my soil. I guess just straw and leaves and some kind of manure compost.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2012 at 7:12PM
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laccanvas

To Chuggerguy in Florida:

I suck at growing tomato plants in containers...I can't imagine what kind of hell your in...:(((

I will send you dirt.:))))

    Bookmark   February 14, 2012 at 7:27PM
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springlift34

Only one way to find out. Never underestimate the power of experimentation. Just be ready for the results. I started many seed this year from compost laying on top of a fallen ash tree(very old). Laying on the ground,split in half.

Take care,
Travis

    Bookmark   February 16, 2012 at 8:40AM
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augiedog55

IF you want to see someone grow tomatoes in cowmanure only go to the blackcow website and watch the video. They take a bag of cowmanure put holes in the bottom for drainage and turn it over and cut 2 4" holes in it , one for each plant . Then they ad a tablespoom of ebsom salts add two cages... Yes it can be done.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2012 at 8:53PM
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Ohiofem(6a Ohio)

I read that cow manure has beneficial bacteria that prevents e coli ...

Uncomposted cow manure is a source of e coli, so I doubt that. Composted manure sold in stores is very low in nutrients. It can be a good soil conditioner in your garden, but I wouldn't count on it to feed my tomatoes for a full season. There are many organic fertilizers that don't contain animal products, like cottonseed meal for nitrogen, rock phosphate for phosphorous and greensand for potassium.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2012 at 11:05AM
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mudman93(3)

I would just try it. I have read many places that you should not grow in 100% compost so last year I planted several extra tomato plants in compost. There was no discernible difference between those plants and the ones in my garden.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2012 at 4:51PM
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homegardenpa

I just want to add something that should hopefully help this discussion along:

1.) Manure = Fertilizer
2.) Compost = Soil conditioner

If you till in dried or aged manure into your garden (a little while before planting, preferably), you've added fertilizer which will help feed your soil, and subsequently, your plants. If you mix in compost, you are adding a soil conditioner than helps add organic matter, improve drainage, improves nutrient retention and benefits your soils microorganisms.

Both things are good, both things serve slightly different purposes.

Adding composted manure to the planting hole isn't a bad idea, per say, but it wont' do all that much by itself. As you stated, it doesn't have much in the way of measurable nutrients. If you add fresh manure (in the fall) or aged manure in the spring (before planting), then you've added something to feed the plants. Once manure has been "fully composted", there is not much left nutrient-wise.

Either way, I find it hard to believe that the manure added just at the time of planting is enough for the whole season. You would need to add something later on to help keep things going.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2012 at 3:41PM
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nordfyr315(5)

In my experience, tomatoes are not really that fussy at all when it comes to soil. Give them enough sun and the right amount of water (usually less than you think) and they do just fine. Some of my most productive plants were put in rocky soil that I did nothing at all to amend.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 12:21AM
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tylenol(z10 Ca)

The story behind the pic

I recieved these AGG seeds years ago from a nice guy in Ohio. My first year planting was not very good- very few tomatoes- and the plants were on the small side. He advised me to use at least 75 - 90 percent cow manure.. so I did 90.. the next season. The 3 plants grew to 7-8 feet and I got 2 tomatoes from them.

We both got a good laugh and tend to plant with less
MUCH less.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 11:29AM
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sautesmom

I am hardly squeemish (look up "mouse" and "sautesmom" on this board, LOL) but even I wouldn't grow tomatoes in fresh manure, or even old manure. Corn, yes---pole green beans, yes---but tomatoes are too close to the ground, and all cows have e. coli in their digestive systems. If you really want to try it, dig a deep hole for the manure and cover it with a foot of soil as a "shield" for the tomatoes.

Carla in Sac

    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 8:37PM
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nordfyr315(5)

Hmmm, humans also have e. coli in their digestive tracts.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 11:39PM
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sautesmom

YES which is why we don't eat our own poop! (Well, that's not why, of course, but it is one reason why human waste is never used for fertilizer!)

Carla in Sac

    Bookmark   March 18, 2012 at 7:37PM
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Kevinitis(5)

My experience is that tomatoes are tough plants that are easy to grow. Thats why they are popular and widespread. I would not hesitate to try what you are talking about. I used lightly composted horse manure in my garden last year. It worked great, plants were healthy and productive. I knew a guy in AR who had a very productive garden in raised beds. The only two ingredients he used each year for his garden soil was a 50% mixture of dried cowpies and peat moss. He had no mineral soil in his boxes at all. The soil would decompose each year and he would just top his box off the next spring with that mix.

I have grown tomatoes in clay, silt, sand and loam. I have used cow manure, horse manure, rabbit manure, compost and commercial fertilizer. I have neglected the plants with water, and over watered them. They all grew tomatoes.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2012 at 10:48PM
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