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I need some guidelines for using enormous amounts of manure

 
pollinator
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Nathanael Szobody wrote:..... I put a shovel of manure in each zai, cover that with a shovel of peanut shells, and I'm wondering if I shouldn't put a shovel of dirt on top of that? ...



if it were me, it would be peanut shells first, the manure, then soil.....or if you want peanut shell first, manure, peanut shell, then soil.

Again the thinking is the peanut shells will soak up and retain the water at the bottom for longer......of course you could do multiple holes of each and see what works the best!

I've seen red earthworms demolish many things I didn't know they could...I don't think they can do dry peanut shells...but moist wet peanut shells I'm not so certain about.  Do you have animals like the USA racoon which likes to eat earthworms?
 
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Nathanael,

I want to mention something that was glossed over earlier.

I know you feel like you have a lot of material to work with now, but I would urge you to strongly reconsider your position on nitrogen fixing trees, or for that matter litter trees.
These resources you have are outside sources even if they appear to be limitless, and you've even illustrated yourself that you have a shortage of carbonaceous material on sight.

Setting up trees to be coppiced to add carbon into your soils would be incredibly beneficial to have on sight.
Shade and evapotranspiration will reduce the amount of moisture loss in soils as well.
As more material builds organic matter in your soils moisture retention will also continue to improve.

Until the trees are large enough to coppice tall faster growing plants like summer grasses or bushes would fill that gap until your trees are large enough to assist.

You are doing great work,

- Justin J.
 
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Nathanael Szobody wrote:Thanks for the suggestions C Roberts.

I would point out that you can get tapeworms from cattle, especially in this part of the world, and their eggs are incredibly resistant, so there is definitely a pathogen concern. However, it is good to know that I can use it directly. Here's what I did yesterday: dug a pit, layered it with peanut shells and manure, 1:1, planted a banana tree in the middle, a cover of sorghum and sesame  over the surface of the pit, some pigeon pea around the edge, and mulched it. Hopefully this will be a good model.



SORRY Nathanael, you are correct about worms, but here in Mississippi we de-worm cattle so thats never an issue here. I didn't think about you being from Chad and how cattle are raised there. But it looks like you are doing GREAT things with what you have there. One thing I didn't see (though I may have missed it) is if people there use wood or similar things to cook and/or heat with just remember that ash and charcoal/biochar are both great amendments to the soil too and can be a free source for you. (ash has K-potassium, charcoal/biochar is a great source of C-carbon and holds water and nutrients well too)

I also have a large source of manure, though mine is from a neighbor who has 3 breeder type chicken houses and produces over 300 tons of manure a year, I get about 20-30 tons of last years manure (composted for 1 year) and use about 6-8 tons to the acre and with whats left over I add to my worm compost pile. I make my own biochar and add this to my fields too. I though, have 2 tractors so I mix this manure into the top 6 inches of soil in the spring and have clover in the fields from late fall to early spring, I put the manure out at the same time I disk under the clover so in the spring my fields have tons of biomass from the rotting clove and the manure helps to attract worms and other things to break down the clover quickly (like fungus and good bacteria in the compost) so by time the last frost date (March 15th here, zone 8b) I'm ready to plant my cash crops.
 
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Maybe I'm the only wise ass here.  But, I can't help but wonder why nobody else said this.
If you were here in the United States, I'd recommend, with an ample supply of manure, you could consider a career in politics.
 
C Rogers
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Phil Swindler wrote:Maybe I'm the only wise ass here.  But, I can't help but wonder why nobody else said this.
If you were here in the United States, I'd recommend, with an ample supply of manure, you could consider a career in politics.



No politicians are full of IT (manure) but most of them want YOU to give what YOU have to EVERYONE else." You didn't grow that!!!" LOL
 
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Orin Raichart wrote:
if it were me, it would be peanut shells first, the manure, then soil.....or if you want peanut shell first, manure, peanut shell, then soil.

Again the thinking is the peanut shells will soak up and retain the water at the bottom for longer......of course you could do multiple holes of each and see what works the best!

I've seen red earthworms demolish many things I didn't know they could...I don't think they can do dry peanut shells...but moist wet peanut shells I'm not so certain about.  Do you have animals like the USA racoon which likes to eat earthworms?



Good suggestions! I'll try that. We do not have anything that I know of that eats earthworms here. Earthworms are a bit of a mystery to me.They show up in rainy season, but in dry season the ground dries up several meters deep. So either they travel real far or only their eggs survive. Either way, they don't seem to be a real significant element to the system here. Termites do more of the eating.
 
Nathanael Szobody
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Justin Joy wrote:
I know you feel like you have a lot of material to work with now, but I would urge you to strongly reconsider your position on nitrogen fixing trees, or for that matter litter trees.
These resources you have are outside sources even if they appear to be limitless, and you've even illustrated yourself that you have a shortage of carbonaceous material on sight.

Setting up trees to be coppiced to add carbon into your soils would be incredibly beneficial to have on sight.
Shade and evapotranspiration will reduce the amount of moisture loss in soils as well.
As more material builds organic matter in your soils moisture retention will also continue to improve.

Until the trees are large enough to coppice tall faster growing plants like summer grasses or bushes would fill that gap until your trees are large enough to assist.

You are doing great work,

- Justin J.



Good call Justin. I believe in planting trees for sure. IN my yard, 50m x 50m (little over half an acre), I have 300 trees comprised of 41 species. A good number of them are leguminous. So I'm with you on this one.
 
Nathanael Szobody
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C Rogers wrote:
One thing I didn't see (though I may have missed it) is if people there use wood or similar things to cook and/or heat with just remember that ash and charcoal/biochar are both great amendments to the soil too and can be a free source for you. (ash has K-potassium, charcoal/biochar is a great source of C-carbon and holds water and nutrients well too)



That's a good thought. Everyone here cooks with wood, so ash shouldn't be hard to come by. Charcoal, on the other hand, is very valuable locally, as it is illegal to chop down trees.
 
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Something that has not been mentioned that I do for my dry season is covering the mulched ground with carpet or tarps. I have collected a lot of discarded carpet. As I am gathering mulch material  now at the end of the wet season I put it on the night droppings from the chickens and then cover it with the carpet. I will transplant squash and melons along the edges where pieces meet. The vines cover the carpet and the fruit is protected while the soil growing underneath is protected from the sun and wind. Non poiseness snakes and worms use the habitat removing pests and improving the soil.

You may not have the same material available but possibly spoiled blankets or garments are available.
 
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Hans Quistorff wrote:Something that has not been mentioned that I do for my dry season is covering the mulched ground with carpet or tarps. I have collected a lot of discarded carpet. As I am gathering mulch material  now at the end of the wet season I put it on the night droppings from the chickens and then cover it with the carpet. I will transplant squash and melons along the edges where pieces meet. The vines cover the carpet and the fruit is protected while the soil growing underneath is protected from the sun and wind. Non poiseness snakes and worms use the habitat removing pests and improving the soil.

You may not have the same material available but possibly spoiled blankets or garments are available.



My experience though is that grasses and plants and roots will still grow into the carpet fibers on the edge and when the carpet is older.... it will tear and leave behind small amounts of these 'plastic' carpet fibers.  Also... the backing... tends to shed when it is older.  That glue material crumbles like dirt... but it isn't dirt.. it is some synthetic gick as well.  So. you end up doing a small amount of contamination as well.

Have you been able to avoid this Hans?  Or is it not significant enough to be concerned about?
 
Nathanael Szobody
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Concerning the "carpet garden," I agree that there are some real environmental concerns. I have also seen carpet used to grow a garden on a rooftop. You actually don't need any 'soil' with this method: just cut the carpet to the exact size of the desired bed and lay it on a flat roof or concrete slab. Then cover with a layer of compost and a thick layer of mulch and plant into it. Carpet holds water so well that it is basically a real thin grow medium while the compost provides nutrient. I believe it is a viable option for some inner city situations.

Here in Africa I use last year's grass walls. They are woven mats of grass, so they suppress weeds well. I just lay it on top of the ground and chop a hole in it wherever I want to plant.
 
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i wonder if you put the peanut shells in a barrel and pound them with a small log to break them up? i think that would work well. id definitely put some soil over those holes. why can't you just lay down a layer of peanut shells then 6in. of manure on top then cover with some browns you have available to keep the manure in place until it breaks down? eliminates digging all together.
 
Hans Quistorff
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C. E. Rice wrote:

Hans Quistorff wrote:
You may not have the same material available but possibly spoiled blankets or garments are available.



My experience though is that grasses and plants and roots will still grow into the carpet fibers on the edge and when the carpet is older.... it will tear and leave behind small amounts of these 'plastic' carpet fibers.  Also... the backing... tends to shed when it is older.  That glue material crumbles like dirt... but it isn't dirt.. it is some synthetic gick as well.  So. you end up doing a small amount of contamination as well.

Have you been able to avoid this Hans?  Or is it not significant enough to be concerned about?


Yes I have had the same experiences. Keeping deep enough material under the carpet and rolling it up and storing it where dry if there is not enough separation from the soil reduces the problems. Materials vary; some that had a natural backing which started to break down and was striped off and have been my best material perhaps they were also UV resistant.  I recommend using the most natural material available and being observant as to when it is time for artificial fibers to continue on the journey to the land fill dump.

I noticed the grass mat holding the peanut shells in the wagon and thought it would be an excellent material to use this way. The original post is about large amounts of manure. spreading it thin and covering it with something to protect it from sun and wind to protect soil organisms is my answer. I am preparing an answer for putting chickens to work on the homestead that demonstrates how the above method works on the night droppings from my chickens.
 
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Orin Raichart wrote:

Nathanael Szobody wrote:..... and when I dug into an aged pile I found it nicely moist only one foot down. It hasn't rained since October!!



Sweeeet!  this means, if you choose to, you can now make 1 foot rows all over your land of peanut shell and manure and it will remain moist for all the plants you put on top!!!



Nathanael Szobody wrote:So why plant nitrogen fixing trees when I have so much manure available? Shouldn't I go directly into fruit tree polycultures?


This is a Red Hawk question.....my answer is a weak novice answer while he could give you a technical break down -I will remain silent to this question for him or other to give you a bio chemical explanation.  Part of the answer is the nitrogen fixing roots will continue to provide nitrogen for a while longer than just the nitrogen in the manure.  You have the option of putting some nitrogen fixing trees/plants which provide food along with the fruit trees so both things happen at once....again I'm not the expert.

Nathanael Szobody wrote:You suggest topping the peanut shells with manure; is that better than just mixing them?


Yep, I'm lazy like that....here's why that's a good lazy. the roots from your plantings will partially do the work of breaking up the shells and that's on top of all the little bacteria and insects which will work the soil......in the mean time you have a hidden water tank in the form of the shells under your manure which will take years to slowly turn into soil.

Eric's right, you could use the brown material.....but again I'm much lazier than he is. I would lay down the shells directly on the ground, then a layer of manure, a layer of brown and a layer of manure....it'll mix itself and you will also mix it when you harvest and add more manure / shells when you get more again.

 im lazy right with you! ;)
 
Nathanael Szobody
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steve bossie wrote:i wonder if you put the peanut shells in a barrel and pound them with a small log to break them up? i think that would work well. id definitely put some soil over those holes. why can't you just lay down a layer of peanut shells then 6in. of manure on top then cover with some browns you have available to keep the manure in place until it breaks down? eliminates digging all together.



Yes, mounds on contour would likely work; it's finding enough browns that is the challenge.
 
Hans Quistorff
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Have You considered making a methane digester and using the gas for cooking?  Then the digestate could be used for fertilizer. I imagine much of what could be used in your complst is in demand to feed the cattle.
 
Nathanael Szobody
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Hans Quistorff wrote:Have You considered making a methane digester and using the gas for cooking?  Then the digestate could be used for fertilizer. I imagine much of what could be used in your complst is in demand to feed the cattle.



Yes, I have considered it. I have not attempted for two reasons:
1, I don't want to build the concrete tank. When I leave this village I would like all my infrastructure to be useful to those who come behind.
2, I like really fertile soil :-)
 
Nathanael Szobody
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[a little off topic: what do the exclamation points mean before the title of my post?]
 
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Nathanael Szobody wrote:[a little off topic: what do the exclamation points mean before the title of my post?]



Those are called flags...someone has added them so that your post will get more attention...it's a positive thing
There is a heading above for 'flagged topics'...and you can add flags yourself to your own posts according to the number of apples that you have.  I think that option is at the bottom of the thread page?
 
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Nathanael,

I have to say, you came to Permies to look for ways to utilize enormous amounts of manure.  Judging from your pictures, projects and experiences I have to say that I think that you are the authority on how to manage this resource.  All of the rest of us can throw out ideas, but you are the one putting them into practice.

Really, great job,

Eric
 
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Eric Hanson wrote:Nathanael,

I have to say, you came to Permies to look for ways to utilize enormous amounts of manure.  Judging from your pictures, projects and experiences I have to say that I think that you are the authority on how to manage this resource.  All of the rest of us can throw out ideas, but you are the one putting them into practice.

Really, great job,

Eric



Very generous of you Eric. Really though, I've received some great advice here.  I didn't want to just spread it, and I wanted to be sure it wouldn't be too hot or acidic piled into a hole, so the experience here had been helpful.

Half of my plot I've already hired some refugees to dig zai pits and fill with manure and peanut shells. The other half I will lay it down in long mounds on contour and cover with peanut shells. Thirdly, I've done a deeper manure pit layered with both and planted a banana tree in the middle.  We'll see...
 
Eric Hanson
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Nathanael,

Those all sound like really productive uses for the manure.  

Well done!

Eric
 
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C Rogers wrote:
I also have a large source of manure, though mine is from a neighbor who has 3 breeder type chicken houses and produces over 300 tons of manure a year, I get about 20-30 tons of last years manure (composted for 1 year) and use about 6-8 tons to the acre and with whats left over I add to my worm compost pile.



It's definitely a great source of fertilizer!  Growing up, we had 4 of the commercial breeder houses and every summer, after the chickens left, we'd clean the houses to prepare for the next batch of birds that fall. I remember my granddad using the tractor to pile up the manure/sawdust mix and making piles the size of a house in the pasture. While there was a light smell when the wind blew the first few days after piling it, it wasn't terrible... Especially considering the huge amount of manure piled up, and it generally faded after settling for a few days.

My mom always had the best roses when she fertilized with that stuff, and one year my dad's okra grew into 10ft "trees" because of it.
My granddad sold the chicken houses about 7-8 years ago. Said he was getting too old for that work. I was in college at that time and didn't yet realize what a great resource I was losing
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