Floyd FainMay 24, 2017
Getting your yard ready for summer usually involves cleaning up the yard after the long winter months and getting your soil prepared to for flowers. A properly fertilized garden will help not only grow your garden faster, but also produce more hearty plants.
Composted manure is an excellent way to fill your soil with the nutrients plants thrive on. While it may seem like a daunting task, it's a lot easier than you might think. Below are a few simple steps to composting your animal's manure for your home garden.
1. Buy The Right Bins.
You will need two bins for the different stages in the composting process. The bins should be approximately 5 to 6 feet high and 4 to 5 feet wide. The first bin will be where you gather the compost; the second will be used for the later stage called curing.
2. Fill The First Bin With Manure.
Gather manure in the first bin, regularly adding to this bin as you clean up after your animals. Alternate manure layers with layers of straw, hay or brown leaves to stabilize the carbon-to-nitrogen ratio. If this ratio becomes unbalanced, it will slow the decomposition process.
Avoid making your layers too thick, as this will throw off the balance. If using manure that contains bedding, such as manure removed from a barn, you will not have to add alternating layers as the bedding helps to create the balance.
3. Check The Moisture.
The compost pile will need moisture to aid in the decomposition process. While wearing gloves, pull up some of the compost and squeeze the water out. If you are able to squeeze it out in more than a few drops, the moisture level is fine. If you can't squeeze any moisture, add water. If the water is streaming out, add more dry layers.
4. Turn Your Compost.
Using a pitchfork, turn your compost pile a few times a month. This will help to balance the moisture and warm the pile. During this process, the compost will heat to approximately 130 degrees. This can take a couple of days or as long as a month, depending on weather conditions.
5. Transfer To The Curing Bin.
Once the compost pile has cooled to air temperature, transfer it to the curing bin. In this bin, your compost will break down and decay into usable fertilizer for your garden. The process can take anywhere from 2 to 6 months, depending on the conditions, and the type of manure and dry material used.
Once cured, spread the compost on your garden. Composting will save you the cost of extra fertilizer and make use of animal waste. And your plants will love the moist, nutrient-rich compost boost.
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