Local Resources for Composted Manure

Asked February 6, 2020, 12:00 PM EST

I have about 10,000 sq ft dedicated to a garden with a mix of fruit trees and berries. I have been using bags of manure that I buy from Walmart, but would like to obtain bulk quatities to cover all of my beds. I am in Baltimore County, but just across the river from Elkridge, so resources in Howard County would be of interest to me. Thank you, Gordon

Baltimore County Maryland

1 Response

We do not have a list of businesses providing bulk material, but your local nurseries may know area businesses who do if they themselves do not stock it. In addition, you might be able to inquire with any area farms or horse boarding/rescue facilities to see if they give manure to a composting facility.

While gardens with edible plants do tend to benefit from nutrient replenishment and organic matter amendment, be cautious about over-applying this to avoid nutrient excesses and soil that becomes too high in organic matter to support sturdy, compact growth. A surprisingly low percentage of soil particles as organic matter is considered a healthy level for gardening. Unless you already test regularly, having a soil test done this winter may help illuminate any nutrient deficiencies or excesses or corrections in pH that are needed for optimum plant health. (Incorrect pH levels can hinder nutrient accessibility for the plants, even if levels are optimum or high.) We have some information on testing and area labs here: https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/soil-testing. You may have to ask specifically for an organic matter and/or micronutrient results. While they likely do not test for this, herbicide residues have occasionally be found to survive the manure composting process, though these may have more of an impact on seed-starting than established shrubs and trees.