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General discussion regarding the techniques and methods used to successfully grow tomato plants in containers.

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Old May 23, 2017   #1
bower
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Default Would you be tempted to use horse manure in your container mix?

Happy my day when out of the blue a pickup load of horse manure was delivered to my garden. Last week I bought a scoop of peat from my supplier, which was exciting work to bag up and carry home in the back of the car (two trips!). I also have a half dozen bags of their compost on hand with the plan of mixing compost and peat for my containers. It is not enough compost by any stretch, and it would be cheaper to buy by the scoop once again and bag it and haul it myself. $60 and a hard afternoon's work.

Soooo... yes it's true. The sight of that horse manure made me think, what if I used that instead of the lovely finished compost. What do you think? Crazy bad idea?
I can tell you that it's fresh enough to smell like a horse, but overall fairly well rotted. There is lots of straw visible though and fine wood chips too from the stable. Worms galore, but also quite a few little flies. Still I am tempted....
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Old May 23, 2017   #2
Worth1
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I think it would turn into a sewer if it wasn't fully finished.
But I'm no expert and could be way off.
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Old May 23, 2017   #3
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Hmmm. I read somewhere that it should have no smell if it is aged enough. Interestingly, the aged cow manure that I get from the farm has NO worms in it! Presumably, they have done their job and moved on to other delicacies, so perhaps the presence of worms also indicates that your horse manure isn't ready yet

I would play it safe and keep the manure for next year.....

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Old May 23, 2017   #4
Worth1
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You could top dress.
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Old May 23, 2017   #5
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I had some similar quality manure from the same guy last year which I did dig into the containers and it did no harm. Except the mix I was using last year was so unsuitable in the first place, anything to lighten it up was a good thing. And of course digging in 'a bit' is not the same as mixing it 50 50 with peat... I think you guys are right. Sigh.....
I should probably use the manure to build a new garlic bed for the fall.
Sooo... guess I gotta go pay up and haul the compost too.
Thank you for stopping me from my crazed lazy plan.
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Old May 23, 2017   #6
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I have heard of people planting directly in it once it stops cooking.
Why not try just one to see what happens.
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Old May 23, 2017   #7
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As others have mentioned, the issue is not that it is horse manure rather it's whether or not the manure has been properly aged/composted.
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Old May 23, 2017   #8
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It's a good idea, Worth, to try just ONE !. Or maybe try it on my 'extras' if /when I run out of the good stuff (which I still will have to get - but a scoop is quite a bit.)
Being a little warm doesn't worry me - that's on the plus side, considering the weather. A bit of a 'tomato root hotbed' would be great. I don't really think it's raw enough to hurt them..
OTOH, I would hate to 'learn a lesson' on the whole tomato crop for the year. Been a bit too much of that lately.
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Old May 23, 2017   #9
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I agree with letting it age some more. When it's lightweight and dry - it's ready. There won't be any smell either.
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Old May 23, 2017   #10
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There was a guy here that said in Great Britain they would put a thermometer in it.
When the temperature when down they planted tomatoes in it.

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Old May 23, 2017   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Worth1 View Post
There was a guy here that said in Great Britain they would put a thermometer in it.
When the temperature when down they planted tomatoes in it.

Worth
This is much like the hotbed idea. I've never done it but it sounds... perfect for this fickle climate!! However it's for seedlings under glass, afaict, otherwise the heat just dissipates.
Wonder what would happen with a layer in the bottom of the container...
hotbeds are cool!
http://www.holon.se/garden/howto/hotbed_en.shtml
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Old May 23, 2017   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bower View Post
This is much like the hotbed idea. I've never done it but it sounds... perfect for this fickle climate!! However it's for seedlings under glass, afaict, otherwise the heat just dissipates.
Wonder what would happen with a layer in the bottom of the container...
hotbeds are cool!
http://www.holon.se/garden/howto/hotbed_en.shtml
Cool?
Not at this price. They've been doing this a long time.
Quote:
Garden Supervisor Nicola Bradley of the Lost Gardens of Heligan in Cornwall, with the pineapple that experts say is worth £10,000
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Old May 23, 2017   #13
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That is a crazy pineapple plan! Extreme hotbedding.
Bjbebs your plants are looking great, and not a bit stressed by cold/wet conditions or by manure either. That is good advice about judging the mix, and I will pay attention. I got the wrong stuff last year - 'triple mix' I was told 1/3 compost 1/3 peat and 1/3 sand, but when they delivered it turned out 1/3 was topsoil instead of sand - and that means clay in this area. It was alright for garden but not for containers and I was stuck with it. Other materials arrived after plant out bit by bit... it was a real shambles trying to fix the stuff after the fact.
The peat and compost that I have are excellent quality, kelp helps to aerate a bit until it breaks down, so I'll see what the texture is like using 1/4 or maybe 1/3 cut of the manure.
I also thought about keeping 1/4 or less of last year's just to make up volume but may be better to cycle it all outdoors.
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Old May 23, 2017   #14
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Try one tomato in it as a bio-assay.
Most hay fields are sprayed with 2-4-d, which passes right through the horse.
Tomato is exquisitely sensetive to this chemical.
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Old May 23, 2017   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nematode View Post
Try one tomato in it as a bio-assay.
Most hay fields are sprayed with 2-4-d, which passes right through the horse.
Tomato is exquisitely sensetive to this chemical.
That sucks!!
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