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 Post subject: Soil from horse barn ?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2009 12:12 am 
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Joined: Wed Apr 30, 2008 4:51 pm
Posts: 404
Location: Alaska
The farm I get HM from has a bunch of soil they dug out of the outside of the horse stalls.
The stall is inside the barn but each have openings to go outside in a small fenced area about the same size as the stall (maybe a little bigger) that the horses use year round. They just dug out the soil & replaced it with clean sand.
Don't know how many years since last cleaned but soil is dark black. HM & urine mixed in & walked on by the horses, rained & snowed on. Nitrogen may be leeched out by now.
Allot heavier than compost. I don't know if it worth the extra effort to haul it & use as compost.
Might be worth getting a load & trying it out with some plants to see how it works. Might be ready to use as compost immediately.
Any ideas as to what it may be good for?
What would you call this mixture? Top soil?

Maybe Breezy can give some advice (if she's not mad at me)
I researched on the internet & found nothing related to this. :|

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 Post subject: Re: Soil from horse barn ?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 04, 2009 1:08 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 25, 2009 5:24 am
Posts: 70
I don't know how often they all out strip their stalls down... or if it is just bare ground under the bedding or if they have it lined... but I would say skip it. Urine goes through the bedding and seeps into the ground (making it clay like). Horses get wormed regularly and you don't know if any were on meds. Not stuff you really want to add to a veggie garden compost. If they haven't stripped the stalls down in years... I don't know what the accumulation would be like (shudder).

I know when I had my horses' stalls I would all out strip them out way more often than most and lime it before putting the bedding back in.

When horses go... they go a lot (average sized horse... roughly 2 to 2.5g a day). Doubtful the stuff in the stalls are that dilute especially if it has been several years building up. Because it is so compacted you could be taking away from this wonderful tilth you have going with your compost mountains.

Skip the compacted stuff in the stalls unless you are going to use it in flowerbeds after it is composted with something else... it may be a lot of nitrogen in it.


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 Post subject: Re: Soil from horse barn ?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 04, 2009 1:56 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 30, 2008 4:51 pm
Posts: 404
Location: Alaska
Hi WiggleIt
(wiggle what :))

Good points all.
To heavy to shovel & haul anyway.
I think I'll pass & stick with known compost. I have plenty now anyway.
Thanks

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 Post subject: Re: Soil from horse barn ?
PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2009 2:59 pm 
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Posts: 942
I know a few commercial growers who pot their Cymb orchids in nothing but horse manure. I'm sure if they use it, it's ok for other uses also. I have been experimenting with horse manure on my tomatoes. It really helped the transplant shock and the heat problems I usually get.


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 Post subject: Re: Soil from horse barn ?
PostPosted: Wed Oct 06, 2010 10:28 am 
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Joined: Wed Sep 29, 2010 3:17 pm
Posts: 30
I think WiggleIt has said it well.....such compost additive should be passed by.
As a non-farmer, I keep reminding myself that hay and straw are two different materials.....hay is food.....straw is to be laid on....its bedding as was sometimes used in mattresses.
But both have seeds......lots of seeds...which takes time to drop from the material.
I imagine the straw in the mix that is in the barn has still some seeds that should not be wanted in any garden.
How bad, for the soil, really, is horse urine....its nitrogen....is nitrogen lost in so short a time that a barn is cleaned as regularly as they are. Any breakdown would naturally be helped and if one could give such material an area all by itself .....say for a year....wouldn't that material be usable.


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 Post subject: Re: Soil from horse barn ?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 11, 2011 3:10 pm 
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Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2010 1:30 pm
Posts: 6
Location: Puyallup, Washington
I think the potential for nitrogen to be an issue is highly dependent on the number of horses involved, the number of years the area was used, etc. However, I can almost guarantee that weed seeds will be a problem! Even though I should know better, I have used similar soils and/or spread straw on my gardens, flower beds, plant containers, etc. Needless to say, was I ever sorry! The use of both the soil and the straw resulted in a tremendous infusion of weeds, most of which are common to barnyard situations. Thankfully, the soils in the containers could be easily manipulated, but I still have to ever vigilant for the weeds in my garden and flower bed areas.


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 Post subject: Re: Soil from horse barn ?
PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2011 5:34 pm 
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Joined: Sun Nov 02, 2008 10:08 pm
Posts: 221
Location: Zone 5
There is a solution to the seed problem, though. At least it's worked well for me. Make sure to maintain the mulch 5 or 6 inches deep and never turn it into the soil. Let it break down on the surface. If you do not walk on your planting area and it is always mulched you will never need to turn the soil. The worms will move in and till it for you. It will stay light and pliable.

I have done that for several years running on several properties. Simply use a trowel to move aside enough straw/hay to plant the seed or seedling. I would add a good sized scoop of manure to the bottom, layer a bit of dirt over that and water in the seeding well. Once the plant is established move the mulch closer to the plant. No weeds, no work. Even less water is needed. My plants love it. The soil stays at an even temperature and as the mulch breaks down it constantly improves the soil. As needed during the growing season, you can also add scoops of additional composted manure under the mulch to keep the plants producing at their peak.

If you're planting crops in rows such as carrots, simply move aside the mulch along the planting row and follow the same procedure.

This system works particularly well with soaker hoses laid under the mulch. No water is lost to evaporation, so even if the hoses are not on a timer, you save a lot of time. It's as hand's free as you're going to get with a garden! Using this sort of planting method allowed me to have a much bigger garden and landscaped area than otherwise would have been feasible for a lone person to manage.

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