How to Compost Manure in a Garden


Most manures need to be composted before being used in a garden. The exceptions would be goat and rabbit manure. This is due to the lower urea content from those animals. Cow and horse manure need a minimum of three to four months to compost. Poultry and pig manure need a minimum of six months to compost. Cow and horse manure will compost well over winter in most outdoor gardens. To use poultry or pig manure, it is recommended that it be placed in the soil in early fall to allow enough to compost for spring planting.

Step 1

Mark the garden with a chalk line to divide it into smaller sections. Filling smaller sections with manure is more time consuming but reduces back strain. Fill a wheelbarrow with manure. Use a shovel to cover each section with six to eight inches of manure.

Step 2

Fill a drop spreader with lime. Lime will neutralize the acidic value in the soil and provide some odor reduction. Walk slowly to spread a 1/8-inch layer of lime over the manure. Rake the manure and lime to ensure even distribution over the garden.

Step 3

Add a thick layer of straw over the manure and lime. As the straw breaks down it will absorb odors and keep the manure from becoming compacted as it composts. Set a rototiller to a depth of eight inches. Till the manure, lime and straw into the soil.

Things You'll Need

  • Chalk line
  • Fresh manure
  • Shovel
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Lime
  • Drop spreader
  • Hard rake
  • Straw
  • Rototiller


  • Fine Gardening
  • Certified Naturally Grown - Certification Standards for Produce
Keywords: organic compost, manure, composted manure

About this Author

Currently residing in Myrtle Beach, SC, Tammy Curry began writing agricultural and frugal living articles in 2004. Her articles have appeared in the Mid-Atlantic Farm Chronicle and Country Family Magazine. Ms. Curry has also written SEO articles for She holds an associate's degree in science from Jefferson College of Health Sciences.