Using Manure As Natural Fertilizer In Your Compost

by Texas Homesteader ~ 
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By now you know the amazing benefits of compost – both environmentally as well as botanically. Living on a Texas Homestead I’m blessed to have constant access to one of the most important components of my compost:  Manure

We have constant access to one of the most important components of my compost - Manure! Come read how we use this precious resource #TexasHomesteader

(Note: Some links in this post will take you to other related articles for further information. But links preceded with * are affiliate links. If you click and buy something I could receive a tiny commission.)

The difference in the vigor of our growing veggie plants is pretty amazing when using compost as a natural soil amendment & fertilizer. 

Plus adding aged manure to sandy soil helps the soil’s ability to soak up & hold onto moisture. That’s important for my raised beds.

Recently RancherMan cleaned out the cattle trailer and I was quick to harvest this now easily-accessible precious material.

Compost: Black GOLD For The Garden!

Several years ago I discovered how easy it was to compost. (Be sure to check out my Easy Compost Guide.) 

Building healthy soil, compost, mulch for garden planting. #TexasHomesteader

Really, making compost is as simple as:

    • Add ‘greens’ such as veggie peels or green plants

    • Mix in ‘browns’ such as dried leaves, paper or cardboard

    • Keep compost lightly wet like a wrung-out sponge

    • Mix compost often to add oxygen

That’s it!

Enclosed Compost Tumbler Makes Composting Easier!

I’ve been so thrilled with the ease of using a *compost tumbler. My old manual method of making an open top & bottom wire compost collection area and then taking a compost fork and turning the compost was not very successful. That’s because I just couldn’t seem to keep it turned often enough.

Oh I still made compost. But usually only a very small amount each year because of my lack of action. It was just too hard to get my wire enclosure moved and the compost turned frequently enough.

Since obtaining my tumbler though, I simply give it a quick turn each time I dump something in there. Now I make compost in just a few weeks instead of several months. 

Since I have a compost tumbler I am always in various stages of making compost. Whether I’m tossing in veggie peels or cores, adding cardboard or paper, or even weeds that have not yet gone to seed.

I also have a *Tandem Composter which is basically two separate enclosures on one stand. (Mine actually has two whole separate tumblers together on one stand.)

That way when one side gets filled I can leave it to finish making the compost as I’m adding material to the other side. Let me tell ya it’s been game changing!

Can You Add Fresh Manure To Compost? 

Although dog & cat feces should not be used, other manures from farm animals such as cattle can enhance your compost and garden by:

Adding phosphorus

Additional nitrogen

Increase water filtration

Improve soil texture

Raising cattle means I always have a supply of cow manure on hand.

Mama cow and baby calf on Texas Homestead. #TexasHomesteader

I often add manure fresh from the fields. But now that RancherMan’s put back this aged manure for me from the cattle trailer I figured I’d add it to my compost tumbler.

I gathered up a healthy portion of the aged manure & tossed it into my tumbler, giving it a few quick turns to get everything mixed together.  

Then I gathered the rest into a large bucket and dumped it into a now-idle location in my garden to age further.

Can You Use Fresh Manure In Your Garden?

Using manure that’s too fresh is very ‘hot’ and the excessive nitrogen will burn your plants. 

According to the North Dakota State University, it’s best to first compost the manure.

To make sure harmful bacteria and pathogens are killed the NDSU recommends that farm animal manure be composted in a hot compost. (ie: compost that reaches 113 – 160 degrees F. & is properly maintained) 

How Long To Harvest After Manure Application In Garden?

It’s recommended to have at least 120 days between manure application and vegetable harvest veggies that grow in (or near) the soil such as:





Strawberries grow in a galvanized raised bed. #TexasHomesteader

For other taller harvestable crops such as tomatoes, peppers and okra it’s recommended to have at least 90 days between manure application & harvest.

I’d be planting a fall garden soon so this aged manure would definitely come in handy then as well.

So I allowed this well-aged manure to sit here for awhile. Then when planting my fall garden I mixed it into the soil throughout my garden.

We have constant access to one of the most important components of my compost - Manure! Come read how we use this precious resource #TexasHomesteader

Do you use manure in your compost or garden planting?


This post categorized in

My Favorite Garden Hacks

My favorite gardening hacks all in one place. #TexasHomesteader

Garden Planning

Seed Planting

Soil Health

Garden Styles

Garden Plants/Harvest


Weed Control

Garden Tips

MORE Gardening Posts

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8 thoughts on “Using Manure As Natural Fertilizer In Your Compost

  1. Marci @ Stone Cottage Adventures

    When we clean the rabbit house as well as the chicken coop, it all goes into the compost! It makes such a wonderful difference! Marci @ Stone Cottage Adventures

  2. Heather

    Every fall we get a truckload of horse manure from our friends and spread it all over the garden. It works beautifully! This year I actually planted my pumpkins in the left over pile of manure, and then have grown so well…will definitely be doing that again next year!

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Heather – your friend benefits by getting rid of a byproduct of stall cleaning, your garden benefits by having healthier soil, you benefit by having a productive garden. Love it! ~TxH~

  3. Linda @ A La Carte

    What a great compost barrel. Thanks for sharing such a great idea at TTF.


  4. S. Johnson

    I would be really careful to know your source for manure. With GMOs being so prevalent in feed these days, it can kill your garden.

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      I guess that could be true – I’m very sure of my manure source since it comes from my animals. LOL ~TxH~

  5. Barb @ A Life in Balance

    I’ve thought about using manure in our compost, and worried a bit about the smell since we’re in a suburban area. Definitely something to look into next spring. Thanks for linking up at Fabulously Frugal Thursday.

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Barb, properly aged manure has no smell. I’ve added manure to my compost even with the open system I used to have, mixed it in and there was no animal smell at all. Of course now with my tumbler there’s never any smell anyway, manure or not. Properly maintained compost doesn’t smell bad – it smells only earthy. If it begins to smell, it’s more than likely out of balance (usually too many greens or too wet – add some shredded paper or cardboard & mix thoroughly & the problem is rectified quickly.) ~TxH~


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