So I'm doing the Back to Eden gardening and I'm having a hard time finding manure for my top layer and live in Colorado does anyone have any suggestions?
Also if I'm unable to find manure would I be able to use compost as my top layer just curious
Horse boarding facilities and stables will almost always give you free manure, and there are nearly always some around outside of urban centers. You could also buy chicken manure at a big box store. It is cheap and high in nitrogen which will help to break down your chips, which I believe is your goal.
It is also not strictly needed to add, if you chips are ramial and deep enough and you are willing to wait. They will break down quite nicely on their own.
Yes, horse barns are a source of manure . . . but:
While I've never experienced this, there are numerous horror stories of people who received manure from animals fed with Round-Up resistant fodder (alfalfa, and other hays). Those herbicides passed right through the animal and right into their gardens. The result: they had all sorts of detrimental side effects for years.
Picloram, or grazon as it's sometimes marketed, is a weed killer marketed for use on grazing land. It's been shown to hang around for a long long time. There are numerous stories of it being transferred through the poop of horses to barns/stables where it is gathered for use in someone's garden. "Help yourself to as much manure as you want -- we muck the stalls and pile it up over there."
Monsanto now markets a Round-Up ready alfalfa. Unlike corn or soybeans, in a hay field the stuff is sprayed directly on the end product. An ear of corn that grows after the field has been sprayed, and is conveniently covered by a husk, Round-Up ready alfalfa takes the full brunt of the spray. What's the half-life of Round-Up? Studies have tracked it showing up in products way down the production cycle, and again, that's when it's NOT sprayed on the end product. Even if it doesn't stunt the growth of my garden plants, knowing what we do now, I don't want those residues in my garden.
Even worse than horse poop laden with herbicides, if you are using hay as a mulch from a bale of sprayed hay, you're bringing that stuff directly into your garden.
If you get horse manure or any manure from a confined feeding facility where you cannot be sure of the source of their fodder, I'd compost it for at least 4 months in a passive (fungal dominated) pile.
One other thought: the digestive tract of a horse doesn't do a good job on weed seeds. Horse poop is basically a seed bomb waiting to go off. As long as the hay is relatively clean it's not a big problem, but if they get a lot of weed seeds in their fodder, that passes right through them and is ready to germinate.
Sorry to be such a wet blanket. I'm a poop optimist and a Back to Eden enthusiast. My solution: I bought chickens and I park the chicken tractor right over the top of the BTE mulch, moving it about every two weeks. I've got all the nitrogen I need now.
"The rule of no realm is mine. But all worthy things that are in peril as the world now stands, these are my care. And for my part, I shall not wholly fail in my task if anything that passes through this night can still grow fairer or bear fruit and flower again in days to come. For I too am a steward. Did you not know?" Gandolf
posted 3 weeks ago
Yes those are all realities and things to keep in mind, agree. Horse manure is a waste stream that is available freely and in wide supply and must go somewhere, so the benefits of putting in the time and effort to sort through with your local stables pays dividends for everyone if you so choose. It can be a highly effective source of carbon and nutrient available at scale.