Growing your own vegetable means you’ll need a good source of nutrients for your plants. Cow manure is an excellent source of organic matter and nutrients that can help your garden thrive. It contains high amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium which are all necessary for healthy plant growth. But if you’re new to gardening, it can be a little intimidating at first. You may be wondering, how much cow manure for vegetable garden?
That’s why I wrote this article! It will show you all you need to know about the right amount of cow manure for your vegetable garden.
Why Cow Manure is a great fertilizer For your Vegetable Garden
Cow manure is the best fertilizer for vegetables. It is even better than chicken and horse manure. However, unlike these two manures, cow manure has a lot of weed seeds in it. It contains dormant weed seeds that can germinate well after you apply them to your vegetable plants. For this reason, many gardeners prefer to compost their cow manure before they use it on their plants.
It has nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium in it. All these are essential plant nutrients. Cow manure feeds your vegetables, but do not put too much of it on them because it will burn the roots of your plants. When you use the correct amount of cow manure on your plants, you will see a difference in the quantity and quality of your vegetables. You may notice that some vegetables grow bigger and taste better than ever before.
Before putting any kind of manure on your plants, you need to let it age for at least six months. This gives weed seeds time to die off. After six months, you can safely add it to your plants without worrying about weeds popping up in your garden.
How Much Cow Manure For Vegetable Garden: Factors to consider
The amount of cow dung to apply in a vegetable garden is determined by a variety of factors. The suggested amount, on the other hand, is around 40 pounds per 100 square feet of soil. One hundred pounds of cow manure is about 6.4 cubic feet, which means that 40 pounds would be the equivalent of 0.25 cubic feet or 7 gallons.
The amount of cow dung to apply depends on the following factors:
Type of soil in the vegetable garden
The type of soil will determine how much manure to use. Sandy soil, for instance, has a poor water-holding capacity and does not retain nutrients. Clay is the opposite as it retains way too many nutrients. It’s only normal to apply more manure on sandy soils as they need a good dose of organic matter to retain nutrients and improve drainage. On the other hand, clay-like soil requires a small quantity of organic matter.
Nutrient content in the cow manure to be applied
The nutrient content in fresh or well-composted manure is highest when it’s just been removed from the ruminant animal. In general, well-composted manure will have a lot of earthworms in it. These are signs that the manure is good for vegetable gardens.
The diet of the cow
The next factor to keep in mind is the diet of the cow, which determines how potent its dung is when used as fertilizer. A cow that’s given grains or hay will have less potency when compared with a cow raised exclusively on grass.
The age of the cow that produced the dung
Also, the age of the cow will determine how potent its dung can be. A young calf will produce more dung than an older, mature one. The older ones may also have mineral imbalances that affect nutrient content.
Vegetable to be grown
The next factor to consider is what vegetable is going to be grown in the garden. Some vegetables need more organic matter, while others are okay on their own with minimal nutrients.
For example, tomatoes do better when grown on well-composted soils. They are greedy for nitrogen that’s found abundantly in fresh cow dung. On the other hand, potatoes will grow on virtually all types of soil, which makes them an ideal candidate for cow manure.
Preparation is required before the manure is spread on the soil
Before you apply fresh, pungent manure to your vegetable garden, there are certain processes that have to be followed. These measures are important if you want to reduce the risk of burning plants. Some vegetables are very sensitive to fresh manure, especially those that are transplanted.
The first step is to allow the manure pile/bin to sit for at least six weeks so that it will “cure.” ‘Curing’ involves mixing or turning the cow dung so that it decomposes before being applied to vegetable gardens. If you have a lot of cow manure, you can even consider composting it.
Composted fresh manure is safe to use in vegetable gardens once the nutrients have been ‘released’ via aerobic decomposition. There are many advantages of using well-composted organic matter. It has fewer weed seeds than fresh manure and does not burn plants when applied directly to them. It can improve soil structure and allow it to hold more air, thus reducing the need for frequent watering.
The next question that will be raised is how much cow manure should you apply. There’s no specific answer as this depends on a number of factors discussed above. If you’re using fresh manure, a good rule is to apply 40 pounds per 100 square feet as mentioned above. The application rate can be reduced when you use composted manure with lower potency.
The Amount of cow manure needed for your vegetable garden in cubic feet
Now that you know why cow manure is such a great fertilizer for vegetables, let’s take a look at the amount of Cow manure (in cubic feet) needed for some common vegetable plants:
Asparagus: 1/2 cubic ft.
Broccoli: 1/2 cubic ft.
Cabbage: 5/8 cubic ft.
Carrots: 1/4 cubic ft.
Lettuce: 3/4 cubic ft.
Onions (planted before tomatoes): 7-1/2 cubic feet of COW manure for every 100 square feet of garden space.
Parsnips: 1-3/4 cubic ft.
Peas (bush types): 2 cubic ft.
Peas (pole types): 3/4 cubic ft.
Potatoes: 7 to 12 cubic feet, depending on crop yield and size of tuber desired. A general guideline is 6 bushels of well-rotted manure to 100 feet of row.
Strawberries: 1/2 cubic ft. for every 6 plants.
Swiss Chard: 2-3/4 cubic ft.
Tomatoes: 7-1/2 cubic ft.
Zucchini and squash: 5/8 cubic ft.
However, these are just general guidelines. Some plants may require more or less than the amounts given above. You can use the same amount of COW manure for other vegetables that are not listed here.
How to apply cow manure in your vegetable garden?
Now that you know how much cow manure to use in your vegetable garden, let us talk about how to apply it. You can put an entire load of cow manure in the vegetable garden. It will not hurt your plants if you do this. However, it is better to put cow manure on the soil around your vegetables rather than on top of them. You can dig holes or trenches and put some of the composted cow manure in these areas; then cover the holes with dirt. This is the best way to use cow manure.
We know that sometimes starting something new can be scary or overwhelming so we wanted to make sure that our guide was as simple and straightforward as possible while still being comprehensive enough for even the most novice gardener. So whether you have never grown anything before or if you have some experience under your belt but would like some advice on how much cow manure for vegetable garden, this guide has got everything covered! So, start growing healthier plants today using cow manure following this guide!