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How to Make Liquid Horse Manure Fertilizer

Many gardeners create a liquid fertilizer from composted horse manure. This concoction, affectionately referred to as manure tea, provides an ample supply of liquid fertilizer for watering vegetables and flowers in home gardens. Although there are many recipes for manure tea (with slight variations), all are basically the same and provide quick nutrients for growing plants. With a supply of composted horse manure and fresh water, you can make manure tea for all your gardening needs.

Fill a grain sack or pillowcase with well-composted horse manure. Raw manure is not suited for making compost tea as it may contain e coli and other pathogens. Composting manure in a pile that reaches 130 degrees kills harmful bacteria and other disease-causing agents.

Place the bag in a 55-gallon barrel filled with water. Allow to soak for two to three weeks. Some gardeners prefer to add Epsom salts to the mixture after soaking. According to the Epsom Salt Council, an application rate of 7 to 8 cups per 55 gallon barrel is sufficient to add magnesium to the soil.

Use ½ gallon per plant when watering shrubs or vegetables as the mixture is strong. Some prefer to mix one to two cups of the manure tea with a gallon of fresh water to apply to flowers and vegetables. The strength of the tea varies depending on the manure used, length of time it is steeped and water temperature.

Cow Manure For Fertilizer

While it is generally more sloppy and difficult to handle than horse manure when fresh, cow manure can be composted into a relatively nutrient-rich material. Many farms sell or give gardeners cow manure that has been composting for six months or more. Cow manure should not be used fresh. First, it needs to rot -- turning into a more flexible compost in the process. Fresh cow manure can contain dangerous bacteria, such as E. coli, which are destroyed during the composting process. Spread around 40 pounds of cow manure per 100 square feet of land, suggests Cornell University Department of Agriculture. If you plant to apply fresh manure, do it in the fall -- never in the spring or growing season. This won't have as immediate an impact as chemical fertilizer, but will provide nutrients over a longer period of time.


Cover the container to keep insects out of the barrel. Place in an area away from the home, as the odor is strong.

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