» FAQ Categories » Compost and Manure

How important is humus or decomposed organic matter in assuring healthy crops?

Completely decomposed organic matter can have a beneficial effect in the soil, if it has no diseases or weed seeds in it. If available it should be incorporated in the garden. However, crops of the same quality and performance can be grown on land containing no humus, no compost, or any red worms.

Using Zoo Manure in the Garden

Q. I want to try some manure to improve my soil tilth, and zoo animals have healthy, weed-free diets. Is that a good choice? And if I went to my local zoo, which animals’ manure should I ask for? A. First of all, only use the Herbivores’ manure. Carnivore–doo is much more likely to have […]

Disposing of Plant Residues – Burn, Dispose of, Compost, or Till into the Garden.

Q. I’m considering 3 methods of disposing of my cornstalks. 1-trip to the dump, 2-tie them up and sell them, 3-borrow a chipper-shredder and then till them right back into the rows. I would like to chip/shred them and till them back into the rows along with some nitrogen. Any downside to this? I have […]

Are Nutrients Used Up in Decomposition – & Is Adding Organic Materials to Soil Beneficial?

Because microorganisms use nitrogen to decompose organic material, such as sawdust, the process of decay can temporarily lower the amount of available nitrogen in the soil. Remember that the loss is temporary, and that proper application of a balanced natural mineral nutrient mix, like the Mittleider Weekly Feed, will almost always eliminate any deficiency. The […]

Rock Dust & Compost as Fertilizer for Vegetables

Q. So, what is the deal about rock dust? A. There is something of a buzz going around about rock dust for growing vegetables – as if it’s a new discovery. The statement is made ( that “By spreading the dust we are doing in minutes what the earth takes thousands of years to do, […]

Rock Dust & Compost Continued

Q. What if it is granite dust? I don’t understand that example. A. I wasn’t slamming granite dust, but only suggesting that it is different from limestone – and by inference that every kind of dust is going to be somewhat different. That is not to say that whatever rock dust you use won’t have […]

Should I use Chicken Manure?

Q. I have access to lots of chicken manure. Shouldn’t I use it, since it’s almost free? A. If you’ve got it, use it. However, the vast majority of people who want to grow gardens do not have ready access to it, and that is one of several reasons we don’t teach and advocate its […]

Proper Use of and Timing for Applying Compost and Manure to the Garden

Fall is the best time to put materials into your garden, because they have 4-6 months to compost before you plant again. However, you can do it in February-March also, but be sure it is clean and free of bugs, weed seeds, and disease! If you can find clean, finely ground-up leaves to use, they […]

How to Properly Grow a Healthy Garden Using Compost and Manure

Q. Even if it’s a poorer source of nitrogen than oil-based products (urea, ammonium nitrate, and ammonium sulfate), won’t compost (particularly composted manure) get the job done? That’s a completely free and renewable resource. My garden beds this year are heavily composted with manure and the plants are all absolutely gorgeous. Next year I want […]

Manure Suspected in E-Coli-Tainted Produce Affecting 110,000 Yearly

An article in the New England Journal of Medicine by Dr. Dennis G. Maki, titled Don’t Eat the Spinach — Controlling Foodborne Infectious Disease is an important read for any of you using manure on your gardens. It is in the Files section of the for your consideration. The article identifies manure as the […]