Organic Manure Gardening – Benefits of Using Manure Tea
What really makes manure so beneficial to plants? Manure is made up of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium which are very important to plants. Nitrogen allows for the production of proteins needed for creating plant tissue while phosphorus aids in the transfer of energy in plants. Potassium, on the other hand, helps in adapting to sugars which are critical to growth. Potassium is especially helpful in root crops such as potatoes and carrots.
Manure tea can be used for periodic feedings or diluted and used every time you water. Do not allow undiluted manure tea to come into direct contact with foliage. To make manure tea, simply place a shovel or two of manure in a large container filled with water, and after a week or so, strain out the manure. To make the straining process a little easier, you can tie the manure in a burlap bag before placing it in the water.
Horse manure may contain a good many weed seeds, so compost it in a hot compost pile before adding it to your garden.
Diluted manure tea is perfect for spraying on plants as many plants absorb moisture through its leaves. Misting manure tea on plant provides them with essential nutrients for a better harvest.
Methods of using Organic Manure Tea
A simpler method of using manure tea involves the use of a watering can. Simply water your plants with diluted manure tea to enjoy its benefits. If you need to apply it over a large area, using a hose-end sprayer would be the most convenient method.
You can also use manure tea to speed up the composting process. Simply pour the manure tea into your compost piles and the helpful microbes will do their thing.
Unused manure tea can be stored only for a couple of days. Besides, what benefit would you get from storing manure tea? Let your plants have it to make the most out of it. If for some reason you do need to store manure tea, keep in mind that you can only store it for a couple of days in a sealed container.
When preparing manure for use in your garden, bear in mind that using manure from household animals is not advisable. Dog and cat manure may contain elements that can be harmful to humans. You can use manure from chickens, cattle, sheep, goat, horses, rabbits, and birds. Rabbit manure is especially rich in nitrogen. Bird manure is the best manure to use for your garden.
Also, because of health concerns, using fresh manure on root crops such as carrots and potatoes is not advised. In such cases, manure should only be applied at least four months before the expected harvest date. As a general rule, never use fresh manure unless you are only preparing the soil for planting in the future. Fall is the perfect time to prepare the soil with fresh manure. Come spring, the soil would be in the perfect condition for planting.
Organic Manure Precautionary Measures
Composted manure should always be the preference. Also, fresh manure can transmit microbes, is difficult to handle, and can burn roots or seedlings because of high ammonia content. Fresh manure also has high salt content which can be bad for plants.