We did no till gardening with horse manure that was somewhat fresh. It was not fully composted. I purposely scooped older piles. We did a layer of unfinished compost, a layer of the horse manure, a layer of paper feed sacks, a layer of finished compost, and finally a layer of straw. We let this sit about 1 and 1/2 months. Then planted onions in the straw. When the straw started sprouting and the onions started coming up, we pulled that layer and left the onions. This was about 2 months ago. The onions look really good so far, so I don't know if the heat factor with the manure was acceptable or if we will have trouble down the line.
What watering systems do others use in their no-till beds? I have dry summers here in N. Calif. I can overhead water, and may resort to that this week, but don't want to do that next year.
Why is the water not soaking outward into the coffee-can sized lump of compost???