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Farmyard Manure - Natural Fertiliser

Improving Your Soil

Traditionally the best way to improve the fertility of your soil has been to apply farm yard manure, often just called FYM. In today's world of city living and agribusiness it's not as easy to get as it once was but do not despair, there are alternatives you can use effectively.

Horse Manure

Considered by many gardeners to be the finest sort of animal manure you can use. Riding schools and stables often have large quantities of horse manure that they will be happy to give away or at least sell cheaply.

Often they are prepared to deliver and even in a city you may well find sources. In London the army and police both have stables that have been know to give away a problem to grateful gardeners.

Check your local paper for an advert or just call local stables and ask.

The best horse manure comes from stables that bed their horses on straw. Manure from horses bedded on wood shavings takes much longer to rot down but is still well worth having.

Check the manure and if it contains a large proportion of wood shavings in relation to dung and urine, then pile it for a year before using it in the garden

Cow Manure

Often dairy farmers will deliver rotted cow manure for garden use, but usually in large quantities. Although not as good as horse manure, it is well worth using and will add humus as well as fertilise the soil. Some gardeners consider it a little wet for clay soils but better for light sandy soils.

Poultry and Pigeon Manure

If you keep a few chickens then you will have a constant supply of chicken droppings as well as a daily delivery of fresh eggs. You can always approach local free-range egg suppliers who may well have poultry droppings to dispose of.

Pigeon fanciers are often in the same position of having a waste disposal problem you can help them with. Remember the pigeon fancier may well be in the centre of a city.

With all poultry manure it is generally too strong to use directly on the garden but it does make an excellent activator for a compost heap.

Pig Manure

Pig manure is only really useful if it is mixed with straw. If it is neat it will not have much organic matter and it should just be added to a compost heap. The main problem with pig manure is that it is unpleasant to smell.

Goat Manure

Goat manure has a similar proportion of minerals and trace elements as horse manure so is well worth seeking out and using if you can find a goat keeper willing to part with it.

Sheep Manure

To obtain sheep manure you will probably have to collect it yourself with the permission of the landowner. It is unlikely that you would be asked to pay for it. Although it is a fair bit of work to collect it, sheep manure is excellent for making a liquid manure feed.

Just place the droppings in a hessian sack or any porous container that you can place in a barrel of water. After a couple of weeks remove the sack and use the contents on the compost heap. The liquid feed can be applied to boost ailing plants in need of extra nitrogen.

Cat and Dog Manure

Both cat and dog droppings can carry organisms harmful to human beings and should not be used as a fertiliser

Fresh Manure

Never use fresh manure directly onto the soil as it will most likely harm the plants. Leave it to rot for six months to a year. Just pile the manure into a heap and water if it is dry. Cover with a plastic sheet or tarpaulin to stop rain from leaching the nutrients out and to help keep it warm enough to allow bacteria to operate

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