Bryant RedHawk wrote:hau Emmaline, welcome and thanks for posting.
Where you live (up state NY) is a great place to use a windrow of composting materials for winter. (I lived in Newburg for two years way back in the 60's)
I'd try to simply use wood chips and urine at this point of the year, that will not only help hold any ground heat in place, the urine will add the N and it will also do other good things that you will discover once the last frost has past.
If you pre-compost the horse stall cleanout materials, they will add less P than if you place it directly on the garden soil, plus you could then add mushroom slurries directly to the manure/bedding mix and should you accidently spill some soured milk on that mix, bacteria will do great things too.
I like to build a windrow right on top of where I will plant with about a foot of extra width (if planting directly in the soil at soil level) and I shoot for a height of 3-4 feet at the center of the windrow heap.
It doesn't matter if you don't have all the needed material to do this from the start, simply make your additions in layers. You can make additions every time the snow melts away.
Once spring arrives, pull off what is left of that windrow and you should find really fluffy soil at the surface and down several inches. The more years you do this sort of composting during the winters, the better the soil below will become and the nutrients should also level out from all the microbiome activity.
Emmaline Jones wrote:Thanks for the input!
In all honesty, I had to look up windrow. I've kind of been doing something to a similar effect this summer. The garden is being expanded and I've been throwing big sheets of cardboard, kitchen waste, yard trimmings, the horse bedding/manure mixture along with ton of fall leaves. It was probably 2 feet at the highest point. This coming year I'm hoping to plant in this section. I'm thinking ahead for the coming years... do people windrow over their established garden areas in the falls and then rake aside and then just plant into the soil come spring? If so, the window of opportunity between taking the last harvest and the arrival of snow/freezing weather is short; I'd need the windrow material on hand and a large chunk of time in order to move it. I'll need to think about how to make that idea work.
I don't have anywhere to compost horse manure before adding it to the garden, that's something that I need to build this coming year. Debating between wood pallet or hoops of hardware cloth. The hoops are movable once empty, which is a big plus as I'm hoping to eventually purchase and conquer the vacant field next to my garden. Also far easier to make the hoops, the only tools required are zip ties :)
Typically I plant as early as possible, so I'm leaning towards "fast acting" blood meal as a nitrogen boost this spring. This coming fall I could apply some feather meal in late fall in order to have it ready for that next spring. Varying the nitrogen seems like a no-brainer good idea to me.
Does this seem like a good idea?
I do something similar and Emmaline, you can do this with the manure you get as well. I add my chicken compost to my worm beds and also make compost tea with it too. Both the worms eating and then passing the leftovers and crop residues I add along with the manure, makes fine compost that plants luv. As this has many good bacteria and fungi in it. I also make the tea out of the manure I have by adding about a gallon of manure into an old pillowcase that I then put an air-stone connected to a fish air pump (can get at any pet store or wally world) for under $20 I tie a string around the top of the pillowcase to keep the manure in it. and put this into a 5 gallon bucket and fill with water. Let it run for a about 48 hrs and it will do the same as the blood meal Dr. Redhawk described. I also add some Suma-Grow (about 3-4 oz) to this mix. Suma-Grow is a natural product that contains humic acid and many GOOD bacteria to the tea, this assures that the good bacteria multiple instead of bad bacteria. (note: if tea smells earthy its good, if it smells like an old sewer tank then it had the "bad bacteria" and add more suma-grow and seep it another 48 hrs w/ air circulating in it). I then remove the pillow case (you can still add this manure back to beds or compost) and then add the aprox 4 gallons of tea to my 40 gallon spray rig that goes behind my tractor, BUT ya'll can just add a 9:1 ratio of water (9 gallons H2O) to each gallon of tea. You can even do smaller amounts to small spray bottles to foliar feed plants, 1/10 tea and rest in water.
Bryant RedHawk wrote:IF you sprinkle the blood meal on top and water, the blood meal will pass through as a leachate, that allows it to gather other nutrients on the way to the soil.
One of the premises of humus formation is that same action, the whole idea is to get all the nutrients down into the soil and that is how to do it with the least effort and most efficiency.