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I have bags of well rotted horse manure

1. Do I spread it on top of the earth now

2. Do I dig it into the bed now

3. Do I store it as I am doing in bags until later

4.If yes when do I spread it

5.Do I add it to my 2 week old composter


It depends what sort of garden you have and what you are growing and want to grow in the future.



Its an allotment and I got it in January this year

I have grown beans , peas , potatoes , carots , parsnips and leeks

Its to put on the bare earth ( after I have pulled up all this years growth )  for possible planting of all vegetables from Winter onwards



Decide where you're going to grow your potatoes next season, and manure and dig into that plot, then leave for the winter frosts to break down the soil.

As for the rest, I would stack it and cover it for the winter.  In the spring when you've planned out what you're going to grow and where I would spread it and dig it in over your allotment, except where you are going to plant root vegetables.  

Root vegetables do not do well in freshly manured ground, but by the following season the areas you manured the previous season will be fine for them.

I use a bit more on the area where I'm going to grow beans, to improve the structure of the soil and aid water retention.

Brassicas (cabbage family) do not do well in freshly manured soil, but the addition of a little lime can counteract this.  However you can't grow potatoes on land that has been previously limed as they will get scab - that is why it's important to plan where you grow things and understand a bit about crop rotation. 

Information on these sites should be helpful:

If it's not clear ask away, there's loads of people on here only too glad to help 

I suppose I ought to add that some people worry about using stable manure, because of the risk of getting oat seeds in the manure.  It doesn't worry me on a veg patch as they're easy enough to hoe out.  It would be more difficult if I used it in a herbaceous border.

There have also been concerns because some straw has been treated with a herbicide which remains in the soil and affects the plants grown in it although I think that this is less of a problem than it has been.  For your own peace of mind it would probably be good to check with the person supplying your manure, but there are probably other people on this forum who are much more knowledgeable than me about this.





Cooo....very helpful.

I will consider the above over the w/e

Many thanks Vic or is it Bob



No probs - hope it's helpful and best of luck with growing stuff.

We're big fans here, plus we have pigeons in the garden , but 'fraid it'd have to be Victoria or Roberta

jim lad

Hi  I have an allotment where we are lucky to have a large heap of stable manure ,

its often all used up by the end of march and if one is not quick none left all cleaned up real smart, I used some a few year ago and spread it all over one piece of ground 2inches thick in october, and dug it in early march with little weed growth other than some thistles that just pulled up with no struggle, but I wondered if the weed growth the following years were due to that manuring from the years before, I did wonder at the time just how old the stuff was, I do realise it should be 6 months or more if poss, and as for the manure having some sort of hebiside on it some people on my allotments had a problem and their spuds looked just like they had blight , a sample was sent off and it was confirmed about the stuff that was sprayed onto the grass that is for the horses grazing is to keep down broadleaf growth, sorry I seem to have gone on rather a lot,  Jim





Hi Jim

I am piecing together a fuller story re horse manure

Got some 4 months ago and just spread it on a couple of my beds to sink in over the autumn

Will get some more soon and experiment with 1. spread some now 2. Spread it in new year 3. spread it just before i sow / plant

Thanks for your input


Why do we have to use Manure on our plots anyway,as far as im concerned it just gives you more problems later with weed.Surely veg can grow quiete well without any manure.


You can grow things in pure sand or other substrate if necessary.  manure helps to bind sand together, holds clay particles apart, and holds nutrients.Or you could grow it all hydroponically.


You don't 'have to' anything Jonboy. Your garden, your choice


If its well rotted and you're laying it on vacant land , Yes. using as a mulch now is likely to lead to too much soft growth.

What do you want to use it on.?

man in a shed

Hi ! what about tomato beds in greenhouse ? do I put manure in them when I pull my tom plants (oct'ish) or wait till spring or not , soz to butt in . cheers



I'd go with horse myself and work lightly in in winter, don't know about cow.

I have just laid horse manure on my veg patch. Is it 'safe' to plant in 4 weeks time and if so what. Sorry to go over this again!!!!

We have an allotment and are new at the game. A new batch of cow manure with lots of straw in it, has been delivered. Is it safe to use around the runner beans (others on the site have done this and some say no)



KFH2, I wouldn't recommend using fresh manure on growing plants.  It really needs to be composted first and if it has straw in it, I'd say it isn't ready yet.  Either make a compost heap with it or mix it in with your existing compost heap if you have one.  By the end of the year it should be fine to use and you can spread it over your veg beds before the winter sets in.


I use tonnes of well rotted horse manure in my garden every year.   As far as I'm concerned there's no such thing as a wrong time to use it.     We also give tonnes of it away to some very good gardeners.    (My partner runs an equestrian centre and trains horses)

When we first moved here the house had been empty for several years and the "garden" was a total wilderness.    I started by strimming and getting rid of weeds and then when I started digging borders tonnes of well rotted horse manure was dug in.  

Now the garden is established I tend to use it after everything is cleared out in Autumn.   It's spready all over round the plants and just lightly forked in the soil if there's space to do so or else it's just left on the top to for nutrients to leach down.   It makes a great mulch to help protect things in winter too.

We bed our horses on sawdust not straw.   When it's well rotted down - no matter what the bedding is, then you should not be able to see any bedding at all.   It looks just like very nice compost.  It smells quite earthy.

It's the only fertiliser I use and believe me my garden soil is fabulous.    Yes I get weeds but not from the horse manure.   Our horses don't eat nettles, buttercups and docks.    They eat grass, hay and haylage (made from grass) and barley.   I've NEVER had barley growing in my garden but then I'd not expect that because I only use it when it's well rotted down. 

I do occasionally sling fresh manure on the gardens.   If he's had a horse through on the drive and it's 'readily available' then I just clear it straight onto where the Rhododendrons and Azaleas are.