By Anne Baley
Old-time farmers used to dig pig manure into their soil in the fall and let it decompose into nutrients for the next spring’s crops. The problem with that today is that too many pigs carry E.coli, Salmonella, parasitic worms and a host of other organisms in their manure. So what’s the answer if you’ve got a ready source of pig manure and a garden that needs feeding? Composting! Let’s learn more about how to compost pig manure for use in the garden.
Can You Use Pig Manure for Gardens?
Absolutely. The best way for using pig manure in the garden is to compost it. Add pig manure to your compost pile and allow it to rot long enough and hot enough. It will break down and kill all the organisms it might carry that are a danger to your health.
Compost is known by many gardeners as “black gold” for the amount of good it does in a garden. It aerates the soil to allow roots to go through easier, helps retain moisture and even adds many nutrients growing plants need. All this is created by turning unwanted garbage from your house and yard into a compost pile or placing it in a compost bin.
Pig Manure for Compost
The key to how to compost pig manure is that it needs to work at a high heat and be turned frequently. Build a pile with a good mix of ingredients, from dried grass and dead leaves to kitchen scraps and pulled weeds. Mix the pig manure in with the ingredients and add some garden soil. Keep the pile moist, but not wet, to get the decomposition action going.
Compost needs air in order to transform, and you give the pile air by turning it. Use a shovel, pitchfork or rake to dig down into the pile, bringing bottom materials up to the top. Do this at least once a month to keep the action going in your compost pile, and let it work for at least four months before you use it.
The best timing for using pig manure in the garden is to build a fresh compost heap in the fall when you’re cleaning up the garden and yard at the end of the season. Turn it over every 3 or 4 weeks until the snow flies, then cover it with a tarp and let it cook all winter.
When spring arrives you’ll be treated to a pile of rich compost, ideal for working into your soil. Now you’re ready to use your pig manure fertilizer in the garden.