University of Florida

Using Animal Manure as Fertilizer

Gardeners have long used animal manure in their gardens, since it’s a good source of nutrients and organic matter. But it’s essential to follow safe practices when using manure in vegetable gardens, since it can carry dangerous bacteria like E. coli and salmonella.

Manure should be properly composted to reduce pathogens to a safe level. You can use manure from chickens, cows, and horses.

If you must use raw manure in the garden, apply it according to the 90/120 day rule. If the manure touches the edible plant part, like watermelons, apply it at least 120 days before harvest. If edible parts are high above the soil, like corn, apply it at least 90 days before harvest.

Look online for the nutrient content of specific manures and use correct application rates.

UF/IFAS Publications

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