horse manure for tomatoes

blb88April 11, 2010

I live in St. Louis,MO. in county. I would like to know if hrse manure is good for tomatoes. If so, how is it applied? Also, how deep should you plant tomato plants?

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

Fresh manue? No. But well-aged or well composted manure is good for any garden as a soil amendment and nutrient source.

As to planting depth? That all depends on how tall the transplants are. A common recommendation is to bury all but the top growing tips - usually the top 3-4" of the plant. You can strip off the lower leaves or leave them in place. New roots will develop all along the buried part of the stem.


    Bookmark   April 11, 2010 at 4:26PM
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brdldystlu(5b Mo)

I agree with Dave, fresh no as it will burn your plants. I live just west of you in St Charles, I have put layers of stall waste over my garden in the late fall, early winter then cap it with leaves. By spring it has been worked into the soil by the worms. I have not done it the last couple years though.

Now I always pick off all but the top set of leaves, and plant it deep.


    Bookmark   April 11, 2010 at 7:18PM
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IMO, horse manure that is mixed with lots of junk(hay, wood shaving,,,),
is not that potent in the first place.Cow manure is.
Then if you till it in, in small propertion to the soil mass, it is not likeky to burn anything, unless a big chung happens to be next to a tender root.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2010 at 10:37PM
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If you have fresh manure dig a large hole and place a shoveful or two in the very bottom of hole. Fill with earth or compost and pack down. The tomatoe plant likes the heat generated from the fresh manure. Also when you plant your tomatoe plant you bend the stem (not so you break the stem) so it goes horizontally along the surface ( about 5 or 6 inches down in the hole.) That way you do not have to go down so far so you get into the fresh manure. The roots will still grow along the stem growing down into the hole instread of sideways in the hole. I do this 99% of the time. I get nice large Brandwine tomatoes from my plants this way. I live in zone 3 so you can see I live where it is quite cool and a short season. This is the only way I can grow them.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2010 at 10:43PM
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how close to fresh manure can i place tomato seedling?
I have fresh horse manure that i want to use as bottom heating in unheated GH using suggestion in your message.
I want to know how many inches of soil/compost i need to put on top of fresh manure to insure that tomato seedlings (i always bend them in the same way as you are describing) will not be burned.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2010 at 1:34PM
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susan2010(6 Massachusetts)

I saw a suggestion in a book once that suggested piling manure (probably doesn't have to be completely composted, but ewww) in the middle of a bed and plant tomato plants around it. Sort of a do-it-yourself time-released organic fertilizer.

I've never tried it, but it sounds interesting.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2010 at 1:55PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

The use of fresh manure in the food garden has been strongly discouraged for many years now by most of the AG research universities - UC Davis being one of the leading institutes that has published several papers on the issue. The now standard recommendation is for the use of composted manures only - aged and/or composted for 90-120 days prior to application and planting - and that fresh should be applied only in the fall of the previous year.

The reason is not so much the potential for nitrogen burn, tho that is a valid concern, but because of the pathogens, parasites, and medications often found in the manure.

Studies show that while the pathogens primarily pose a problem with direct contact vegetables such as lettuce, spinach and such, the antibiotics, other meds, and even some forms of e. coli in the manure are absorbed by the plants and have been found distributed throughout the entire structure of the plant up to 160 days after planting.

It is a topic that has been discussed in great detail over on the Soil and Compost forum here - complete with links to the research - if interested. But is worth considering I think.

For me, while we have plenty of fresh manure available, I have found the benefits of using it to be minimal at best and easily outweighed by the potential risks. Much safer substitutes are readily available and stockpiling and aging it is easy to do. So I prefer to compost it first before using it in the food gardens.


    Bookmark   April 16, 2010 at 5:01PM
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I'll be adding a couple of cubic yards of HM with straw (from a horse stable) to my raised bed project next week. But... it is at least five years old. Humus! Might have to deal with a few weeds as it has been exposed, but big deal.

I'm enthused about this project.


    Bookmark   April 16, 2010 at 9:08PM
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if using fresh manure it should b worked in in the fall / use composted manure in the spring

    Bookmark   April 17, 2010 at 1:10PM
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