Oh Horse Poop!

What a wonderful warm weekend we had here. We were playing in the mud over the weekend and today it snowed….

We have been saving our poop pile for a couple of years for the farmer down the road who wants it for his hay field, he promised over and over to come get it but we haven’t see him…

We were making plans for the coming season and decided to list our LARGE pile of horse poop on Craig’s List for the spring gardeners and farmers. Plenty of folks interested in it and promised to come and pick it up.

I got the funniest message from one guy:

hay and grass has seeds in it which often gets passed through the digestive tract then deposited into your garden where eventually you’ll need to weed…straw is best for gardens (no seeds) but I believe bad for horses.”

I think he was concerned I would weed up everyone’s garden. or maybe warning me not to feed my horses straw…I’m not sure.

I wrote back:

You are so right! Most who use it will take it home and compost it, killing the seeds or make a compost tea. Also many farmers like it BECAUSE of the seeds to spread on their hay fields. I also have a woman who uses it in the bottom of her hot bed covered with sand to add heat for early season growing.

  Have a great day and think spring :)”
This was his reply:
well thanks for the education..in manure ;}”
Do you think I ticked him off? I hope not because I’m sure he was trying to help.
Give it a few more weeks and I’ll e-mail them all and invite them over to the poop pile with the loader running…. for a poop shoveling party….
Woo-hoo poop free at last….





Posted on March 9, 2009, in Gardening and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. If you’re feeding hay that wasn’t cut too late, it shouldn’t have seeds, right? I don’t think you annoyed him, after all, he did smile. So why don’t you use all that good stuff on your own land? Elliot Coleman says horse manure is the cat’s meow.

    Have fun with your poop!

  2. lizzylanefarm

    Hi Kristin,
    The hay is let to grow to produce seed heads for feed. So there are lots of seeds. 🙂 I have tried several time to compost it, the compost thing isn’t working for me just yet. Also I have a HUGE pile of it. 4 plus years worth. I do use it to make tea and will use it as a foundation in a new bed the cover it with newspaper, compost and soil then mulch. I use it to completely cover my rose bushes each winter and in the spring dig it into the dirt when I uncover them.

    It’s a learning process and like everything else takes time. For now I would like to get rid of the entire pile, build a container of some sort( huge concrete blocks) and try again to compost.

    I will have to see what Elliot Coleman has to say about it. Thanks for telling me. His book is on my want list.


  3. lizzylanefarm

    Oh yes poo free! happy dance here. I would like to say that once the pile is gone I am going to build some sort of container for it and try composting it again.

  4. Horses are certainly different than dairy cows when it comes to hay. Seeds are nice but the cows need “leaf” to produce milk. There’s still seed in my hay but at least it sprouts and helps build our pastures.

    I find that seeds don’t “die” when composted….even if it gets hot. And I hear you on the learning process! We’ve had some many compost pile iterations around here! Every time I read something new, I’ve got to try it. My poor husband! Last year, I did all the building and turning. Being pregnant, it’s his job now!

    Elliot Coleman shows a method for building “temporary” compost bins using straw. I think it is a great idea and tried it last Spring. The only problem is that straw is so expensive anymore ($3.50 a bale from the grower around here!!). So while the straw does add to the organic matter and makes nice “bins”, we just can’t afford it anymore. Once upon a time, straw was cheap. Not these days!

    Make sure you post whenever you build your bins!

  5. Hi Kristin,
    You are so right, I guess I wasn’t clear, horses do need high quality, thin blade hay. While seeds aren’t what they need thats how we know to cut the hay when the Timothy has seed heads just before they turn brown.

    I was always told that hot compost would kill the weed seeds but never have put it to the test. This is good to know. I have read about that method of straw bales, you are right straw is so expensive. I just bought 2 bales for bedding and paid 6.50 each for them. They were cheaper than the bags of pine shavings at the moment which are almost imposible to get right now. I usually buy pine or hemlock saw dust and fill our trailer up at the saw mill. The mill hasn’t been sawing all winter, a sign of the times no one is building.

    I sure wil post when I get the bins built. Not sure when, first on my list this spring is housing for the chicks that are coming.

    Good to hear from you!

    🙂 Karyn

  6. Mitchell Webster

    Good Morning K,

    Everyone in the country, knows that horse poop is the best thing for a garden, nothing makes gardens grow better!!

    Also, if you like Dahlias in the garden during the summer for blooms, then this is the way my grandmother and I would plant them every year.

    In the early spring, before the last frost, we would go out and dig holes where the Dahlia tubers were to grow, (I mean this is early, probably like now (at least in VA) and in the bottom of the hole, we would put a mixture of composted horse manure and some that was fresher, we would cover with a couple inches of dirt (so the hole had to be pretty deep) then we would add some water and let it settle in, in a couple of weeks when it was cold out we could see steam coming out the holes!!! then about two weeks or so later we would take our Dahlia tubers and plant in the warm holes on top of the warm soil, and cover with more soil (do not fill up the holes now though. just enough to cover the tubers, then if it really go cold during the next week (s) we would put the milk bottle tops over the holes. as the sprouts pushed through the soil, we would cover them over with dirt, sometimes adding a bit of Triple Super Phosphate in the soil. This promotes root and bloom growth, but has no nitrogen (something like 0-60-0)
    we would do this until the hole was filled, (also if the weather gets really warm a couple of days we would take the caps off the holes, don;t want the sprouts to grow too quickly. Then by mid May (down here) the frost was past, the shoots were already about a foot + in the ground, and the stalks also grow roots, plus makes a much stronger stalk. and ABUNDANT BLOOMS TO CUT AND TAKE IN THE HOUSE!! we would have plants reach 6-8 feet by end of season with hundreds of blooms!!!!


  7. Hi Mitchell,

    I would just love to grow these here! They are on my want list, but I don’t think it will happen this year…. I printed this out and put it in my gardening binder.

    🙂 K

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