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Is horse manure good for vegetable gardening?

Updated June 13, 2017

Horse manure, when well-composted, is a beneficial source of nitrogen which is readily available to plants. Even one horse provides a large amount of manure and if you live near a horse stables, you may have the added benefit of getting manure inexpensively or even free if you move it yourself.

Composting Manure

Horse manure is not suitable for vegetable gardening unless it is thoroughly composted. E. coli has been associated with fresh manure. Horse manure also often has wood shavings in it from the horse's bedding. Wood shavings will take nitrogen from the soil in order to decompose. An area for composting and knowledge of composting procedures are necessary for its use.

Bottom Line

Utilising horse manure in a vegetable garden is desirable when handled properly. It promotes sustainable growing practices and is useful as an amendment. The knowledge and ability to compost manure thoroughly is necessary to allow sufficient decomposition and to prevent E. coli contamination.

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About the Author

Based in California, Andrea Peck has been writing science-related articles since 2006. Her articles have appeared in "The Rogue Voice," "Information Press" and "The Tribune." Peck holds a Bachelor of Arts in mathematics and a minor in biology from San Diego State University.