Horse manure can be mixed into compost in place of fertiliser to supply organic material used as a medium for vegetable gardens. The manure provides beneficial nutrients to micro-organisms that help break down the composting matter. Horse manure alone won't support growing vegetables, but using it in place of fertiliser in a compost blend is beneficial for all of your crops.
Before planting early vegetable crops such as asparagus, runner beans, sugar snaps, broccoli, beetroot, cabbage, corn, peas, cauliflower or early tomatoes, till clay-based or sandy soil blending the existing soil with 5 to 7.5 cm (2 to 3 inches) of your prepared compost, rotting leaves or horse manure. Choose only one type of organic matter or equally mix all three choices into the soil. Once the soil has been mixed, apply commercial fertiliser and plant your spring vegetables according to seed or starter plant directions.
Courgettes, marrows, squash, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, lettuce, spring onions, aubergine and other summer vegetables can be planted in soil that was treated with the horse manure mixture in the spring, or you can sprinkle the compost blend that includes the horse manure and till it into the soil prior to planting summer crops. Scatter the composted material or commercial fertiliser over the top soil around the plants in the middle of the growing season to boost mid summer plant growth. This process, known as side dressing, allows sprinkled material to work into the soil as the plants are watered.
Autumn and winter vegetables
Crops that will yield autumn and winter produce are planted during summer months. Plant these vegetables, which include carrots, kale, pumpkins, greens, celery, sweet onions and potatoes, in an area that remains sheltered from extreme cold. Plant with a supportive top dressing of healthy soil that includes the horse manure compost blend. Some of these plants will need protection from slugs. Turn the soil well with your compost blend prior to planting to help keep the slug populations down or use eco-friendly slug control traps until the first frost.