Straight well composted horse manure as potting soil

I need to start grafting by the end of April and most of my planting mix is still frozen solid. One two year old pile of horse compost is peaking through the snow and the dark color is bound to suck up sunlight and help it unfreeze faster. While I will mix that with the medium I already have available to tie me over, I was wondering if straight horse compost would be suitable. I mean many things keep trying to grow in there all the time.

Here we lack boron in our soils so I would doze it with that plus some calcium just to be safe.

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I have a friend that manages our local farmers coop… and last fall he let me know that they found a source in TN for mushroom compost…

The main ingredients were horse manure and wheat straw… and it was used for growing mushrooms one year… evidently they replace it after growing shrooms in it one season.

He said it looked really good… dark and rich… and i had him bring me a truckload… cost me 380.00 for a good sized load.

It did look really good… and i have mixed a heap of it into each bed and fruit tree planting hole that i have made this year… a new bed for raspberries a new bed for strawberries… 3 persimmons 2 pears 2 plums 2 apples 1 mulberry… and all are growig nicely and looking happy.

I still have a nice pile left.
Composted horse manure… looks to be working nicely for me.

I put a couple of wheelbarrow loads into that new raspberry bed.


Horse manure can be used for most soil enrichment’s applications. It’s not as hot as chicken. After a year of composting most weed seeds have exhausted. I usually till mine into the prior years residual then apply it as liberally as I need. Great for planting potatoes and most any garden purpose! When I have enough I mulch our tomato beds with it to hold moisture and heat, gets a welcome response you can notice quickly.
Kent, wa


I do use a ton of horse compost myself to amend my soil, I get 2~3 pickup bed loads of manure each year. I let it sit for a year before I use it. I’m just wondering how good a medium it would be used straight on potted plans.

Again, this is my 2 year old pile, not last year’s pile. It is completely composted.

For each cubic foot of compost add 1/2 cu.ft. all-purpose sand, sold in 50 lb bags at Lowes and Home Depot. Do not use playground sand.

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Each year I use about 10 pickup loads of local horse manure/shavings in my garden, immediately, without composting. (I trade my summer vegetables for this year-round supply.) I have never had a problem with using the fresh manure as a top-dress on strawberries, raspberries, figs, vegetables, and fruit trees. I’ve never had any issues with burned leaves or excessive vegetative growth.

I also plant straight into a mound of it, mixed with a little sand and some native soil, for fruit trees or any berries that need improved drainage. I know that’s not accepted advice for the treatment of new plants, but it works fine for me. Shoveled off the truck onto the ground, it’s a simple way to get extra mound volume for raspberries, peaches, and nectarines - that all need better drainage than my ground level soil offers.


My concern would be lack of drainage and breakdown to a wet anaerobic mess at the bottom of the pot after a year or two. But maybe it’s more durable than I’d think.

Mixing it into the soil or using as mulch is a whole different proposition.

I’ve had some bad results from adding sand to my compost and using it as a potting soil. Maybe the granules were too fine, but I had a potted mango, coffee plant, and goji seedlings that suffered because it basically became cement.

I use gravely and on my potted plants. One of my big issues is wicked winds and the added weight helps a lot.

You don’t want fine sand, it defeat the purpose of large particles knowing the soil structure.

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I have started experimenting with composted wood chips, kitchen scrap compost, horse manure, and ground up biochar. It seems to be working well so far. I mostly uppotted fig cuttings into it

i like coarse perlite or coarse diatomaceous earth to fluff things up. both work great and D.E ads silicon to aid growth. roots grow right through it. napa carries it as optisorb. there is a clay one too so make sure the bag says D.E.

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If you mix the manure with peat moss, that would be better I think.

I’m not sure if it was only the manure I obtained, but just straight manure dried up too fast and had water retention issues.

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I’ve used Turface, the stuff that they use on baseball diamonds based on something that I saw on the ‘net. Works well.

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I’d like to know what is the ratio of DE in you potting mix.

i use about 50/50. Drew51 uses strait coarse D.E but i find it dries out too quickly. im a lazy waterer.

50% compost and 50% DE?

I normally use a few recipes 1/3 peat, 1/3rd pumice, 1/3 compost


1/3 fir bark path way mulch, 1/3rd pumice, 1/3 peat

what would you recommend if I want to include DE into my mix.

sorry. i forgot myself. that’s my rooting mix with coir. i use about 30% D.E with compost.

30% DE, rest is compost and peat?