horse barn

banjoniqueMarch 20, 2013

our 16 horse boarding stable creates 10 4ft X 8ft. trailer loads every week of manure, urine soaked peat moss and sawdust with lots of spoiled hay. I dump these in windrows in my field and plant winter squash every 8" in June. At planting time the rows of fresh manure are quite hot from composting activity but the squash love it and thrive. The large leaves of buttercup and butternut squash shade the rows and the worms go madly to work and by October squash harvest they have turned raw manure and hay and sawdust into sweet smelling black compost. The rows are then planted with garlic. Hats off to the worms who break down these tons of organics in only 5 months and give me amazing compost and squash.

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Way to go! I love easy and simple. Those squash are heavy feeders and must REALLY produce. Do you seed your windrows with worms or let the native wigglers do their thing? I compost the waste of 1 horse and have lots of VC and worms With 16 horses, your windrows must be huge. Thanks for sharing. Pete

    Bookmark   March 20, 2013 at 5:25PM
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That's the way to go. Circle of life.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2013 at 7:16PM
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"trailer loads every week of manure, urine soaked peat moss and sawdust with lots of spoiled hay." Can't just post that on any board. Posting here we are all jealous. And then your post goes on with squash and garlic. I think you are posting from heaven because that is what I picture heaven must be like.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2013 at 11:02PM
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Thanks for your replies........I am just using spontaneously arising local wrigglers........what started out as a manure management issue has turned into my new line of work: organic garlic squash and kale for local markets.........the squash are particularly deep rooting plants and that may help the wrigglers navigate the rows, I don't know...........the rows I left unplanted as a trial did not break down much and I suspect the shade of the huge squash leaves kept the top of the rows from drying out in the sun..........16 horses times 15 tons of manure and bedding per horse equals 240 tons of material to deal with each may sound like heaven but there is a powerful bunch of work to get there, from hauling hay, sawdust, peat moss, cleaning stalls and paddocks and daily watering, feeding and emptying manure trailers........but always worth the effort......all the best, Mark

    Bookmark   March 21, 2013 at 9:02AM
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I wish I had a horse farm like yours close by, my worms would be happy campers. Thank you for sharing the news of your successful operation. Awesome!

    Bookmark   March 31, 2013 at 9:53PM
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Mark, I assume you keep adding manure to your fields year round. In winter, does it just pile up, or do your worms keep going even in cold weather?

I just moved a big bin of worms to an outdoor compost bin. They took to it immediately and are happily turning the spoiled produce into VC. I've assumed that in winter, everything will come to a stop and the worms will burrow deep in the bin where it never seems to freeze. We're debating whether to put heating tape into the bin to make sure the contents don't freeze. This is all an experiment to see if we can keep worms alive year round like you are doing.


    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 10:01AM
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Cheryl, if you are in zone 6/7 you will lose worms during the cold months. I am in zone 8 and found very few worms in winter. But come spring, they will re-populate, like this year in beginning of March.
It also depends what species you moved outside. The European Nightcrawlers can stand colder temps. Is your outdoor compost bin a DIY?

    Bookmark   April 4, 2013 at 12:32PM
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Otis - thanks, that's good info. But if you're losing worms in Z8, how does banjonique keep his worms going in Nova Scotia which is Z5/6? Wouldn't it take a while to repopulate enough to deal with almost 5 tons of manure and bedding a week?

Our worms are EF, and the compost bin is DIY, about 4' x 3' in cross section and 4' high. It's currently about 3/4 full. We checked it a few times during the past winter, and below the surface the contents did not seem to be frozen. This was without the heat tape. I haven't tested actual temperatures with a compost thermometer.


    Bookmark   April 4, 2013 at 5:03PM
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I live in 7B, I think, north Ga. near Tenn. I haul manure and wood shavings weekly from a woman with 12 horses. I have been piling it heavy in my garden and see an increase in native earth worms from what it was a couple of months ago. After a bunch cold weather and a few days in a row in the 20s I found worms 6 inches above the soil in the manure that had yet to be moved into the garden. I have manure in the garden a foot deep on either side of my raised rows and a couple inches deep on top of my rows. I found worms every where I dug when planting peas a couple weeks ago. The worms may slow down some in winter but they do not die. I would think that they do well in cold months if in large piles of manure,

    Bookmark   April 4, 2013 at 6:46PM
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cheryl: it depends on the size of the composter. Mine is one I bought many years ago. Size 24x24x36 (???)
With a 4'x3' I think you have enough mass to keep some heat in the bin during winter months and keep MO active which in turn will keep some heat going in your bin and keep your worms happy.
What banjonique is doing is not a "back yard" operation and I think just because of the size, worms were able to find refuge in his "pile". I envy people with big lots.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 8:05PM
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Cheryl........when I dig into the rows in winter there is enough residual heat from the composting process to keep the worms going thru the cold months...........we dump the manure hay sawdust peatmoss into the trailer from the stalls and paddocks and before the day is done there is already heat being generated.......this heat continues as the material is dumped into windrows and this must be the heat source that keeps them alive thru the "mild" Canadian coastal winter...........most stable managers love to get rid of this volume of manure so I would encourage people to connect with some local horse barns and load up......Mark

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 10:07PM
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I don't know how the neighbors would react to a truckload of horse manure. I assume it would be smelly for some time? I've thought about getting small amounts from local horse owners to feed the compost/worm bin. But I don't think I could get a lot of heat generated with a bin that is about 48 cu ft maximum volume.


    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 2:40PM
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Cheryl.......the strong small lasts only a 2-3 weeks and is soon can mulch the manure with straw or hay to contain the me the odor is the promise of more soil fertility and by June when I plant butternut and buttercup squash there is no odor at all...that better be true since both my daughters are getting married in July and August on the farm and only 50 feet from the windrows growing garlic and do need a certain volume to make the pile stay hot thru the winter.........I had a 7 foot tall pile that was very warm in Feb and full of active worms but it required a backhoe to build it so high............good luck, Mark

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 7:45PM
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