As we plant so intensively in a backyard situation we need to restore nutrients. In a perfect world we’d be resting beds, letting animals aerate and fertilise the soil naturally before replanting but that’s not a reality for small scale intensive gardening – we need to replenish what we take out. And the easiest way to do that for an organic garden is using manure (and of course compost).
So the question comes up a lot, what manure is the best if you have to buy it from a shop? And the answer is, it really depends. What is in each manure will greatly depending on the animal it comes from, what it’s been fed, how it’s been treated and how long it’s been composting down for. And also what your current soil profile is missing, which isn’t really a realistic thing to test for just your average backyard garden.
With that in mind this is just a really broad general guide of each manure that we have found you can purchase from nurseries and why we choose one over the other.
If we have to buy manure, this is our go to. It’s nutrient profile is quite balanced across the board so makes it a good all rounder for everything we grow including root veggies.
Sheep manure is high in potassium and nitrogen, so if your goal is lovely tasting fruit you might want to go with sheep manure.
Poultry manure is very high in nitrogen, so this is best for your leafy greens.
Blends and Mixes
There are a couple of products that are mixes of manures, rock minerals, blood and bone and compost. These are great, but they aren’t that potent. I’d use these if you want a balanced top up and you aren’t really adding extra compost as well.
There are also loads of pelletised manures on the market some are specifically poultry but others are blends and are generally used as a slow release as they release the nutrients as the pellets start to break down. We use them in conjunction with a manure and compost blend, and the main reason why we don’t use them exclusively is because our garden beds are quite full of organic matter that is breaking down, the beds drop considerably so we are always topping them up.
Tips for purchasing manure
If you’re searching for just manure and not a blend always opt for the ‘premium’ version. It will have less fillers than the cheaper alternatives.
What manure we use
If we have to buy manure I always grab cow as it’s a great all rounder. It’s gentle enough to use across an array of plants and not excessively high in any one nutrient so won’t cause issues of nutrient blocking.
The best manure is what you have available locally, so if have chickens use it. If you have a horse stable near by, grab some of that.
What manure do you use on your patch? Leave a comment below
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