How to Neutralize too Much Manure in a Garden

Growing a garden can be one of the most painstaking yet rewarding activities you do. The thought of freshly grown vegetables straight to your table is such an appealing option for many. While growing a garden can be extremely rewarding, it can also be quite time consuming and requires a great deal of patience.

How do you neutralize too much manure in a garden? Neutralizing an excess amount of manure in a garden requires time and patience. Some of the best ways to neutralize manure in the soil are:

  • Adding lime
  • Add more (brown) organic material
  • Adding plants that love nitrogen

You can do many different things to help neutralize manure in your soil; however, they take time. If the manure level is too high in the soil, it does not mean it is ruined forever; it just needs time to eliminate the excess nitrogen. The above recommendations will help, but only when they are used over time. In this article, you will learn how to begin neutralizing the soil in your garden if you have excess manure. You will also learn how to tell if you need to neutralize the soil in your garden.


Neutralizing Excess Manure in Your Garden

The process of neutralizing excess manure in your garden is not something that will happen quickly, so you need to be patient when you begin the process. You also will need to be prepared to try a variety of things to neutralize the soil.
Adding lime: One of the more straightforward methods of neutralizing your soil is to add extra lime to the soil. Lime is usually composed of calcium and magnesium carbonate or calcium carbonate. The purpose of adding lime to the soil is to lower its pH.
You can find gardening lime at home improvement stores like Lowes and Home Depot, but you can also find similar products at local greenhouses and online. Here are some reputable options to choose from if you go the online route:

  • Espoma Garden Lime
  • Down to Earth Organic Garden Lime
  • Pennington Fast Acting Lime

You can typically purchase enough lime for your garden for between $10- $30. If you choose to go with organic lime, you will likely spend a bit more for the product. When you add lime, be sure to read the instructions on the product you choose. In this case, more is not better. Adding more lime won’t neutralize the soil quicker.

Add More Organic Matter: Another way to neutralize the manure is to add extra organic matter. Organic matter provides essential nutrients that plants need to grow in the soil. The addition of organic matter also helps lower the acidity level of too much manure in the soil.
Many people choose to make compost piles for gardening purposes. However, if keeping a compost pile is not for you, it can be purchased in pre-made bags online or in garden stores. Here are some options that are often chosen by gardeners:

  • Charlie’s Compost 
  • Jobe’s Organics Compost  
  • Dr. Earth Pure & Natural
  • Wakefield Compost

To help neutralizing excess Manure, you should focus on adding “brown” material to your soil. I. e. dead leaves, small branches and other dry plant materials.

Add plants that love nitrogen: Many plants grow well in nitrogen-rich soil. Over time, the plants will remove the excess nitrogen from the soil. Again, this is not a quick fix and will not resolve the problem immediately. However, you can plant nitrogen-loving plants in your garden to help neutralize the soil.
Some plants that grow well in nitrogen-rich soil are:

  • Broccoli
  • Corn
  • Cabbage
  • Squash


What Causes the Issue with Too Much Manure?

Manure can be beneficial when preparing your soil for growing; however, it can cause many different issues with the soil’s chemistry. It is essential to know that not all manure is the same, and it is difficult to determine what is in the manure. Esp. Manure from animal waste, as it contains byproducts of the food eaten by the animals.

According to the article The Problem with Manure by Jeremy Dore, it is nearly impossible to get information about what an animal has consumed when purchasing manure. The manure can be laced with medications taken by the animals as well as herbicides in the food they consumed. If this is placed into your garden, it will upset the soil chemistry, which in turn will impact your ability to grow a healthy crop.


How to Tell if You Have Too Much Manure in Your Garden

Determining if you have too much manure in your garden is not the easiest thing to do. The best way to tell is to have your soil tested. A soil test will accurately determine the acidity of the soil and a plan to improve your soil. If you are unable to have the soil tested, there are other ways you can determine if there is to much manure in your soil.
In the article, Beware: This Manure Will Destroy Your Garden, the author explains some of the signs there is too much manure in your garden are:

  • Thick and curled leaves on plants
  • Limited new growth
  • Leaves turning brown

If an observation is not reliable enough for you to determine the presence of manure, you can order a soil testing kit that will help you narrow down the problem.

While poor growing conditions can cause some of these symptoms, if you have recently added manure to your garden, it may be the cause and deserves to be investigated, whether by observation or an actual test.


How to Know You are Successfully Neutralizing the Soil

While testing will still be the best way to know that your soil has been successfully neutralized, there are other things you may notice happening to indicate your soil has regained its health, such as:

  • Extra worms and other life in the soil
  • Healthy plant growth that is green and strong
  • The soil will not cling too much to your plant’s roots if you pull it out of the ground, which means the roots are growing easily through the soil, and the worms and slugs can aerate the soil the way they are supposed to.


Final Thoughts

Repairing soil with too much manure on it can be a time-consuming task, but it does not mean your garden is doomed and never to be productive again. With Time and patience, you will likely be able to help your soil rebound back to a place where you can raise bountiful crops. When determining if there is too much manure on the garden, you can rely on observation, but it is much wiser to use a scientific test to determine the soil’s acidity. You can hire someone to perform this test, or you can order a test to do yourself.