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If you want to create your raised bed ecologically and naturally, you also have to pay attention to the right fertilizer. Horse manure that has been treated beforehand is well suited to stimulating the plants in the raised bed to grow healthily.

In a nutshell

  • Horse manure, when treated, is a good ecological and natural fertilizer
  • can easily be obtained from the farmer or a riding stable in bags
  • Straw from the manure also contains pungent urine, only the horse droppings use it
  • untreated excellent fertilizer for fruit trees, prepare as compost for the raised bed in advance
  • contains various nutrients and dietary fibers that provide the soil with a high proportion of humus


Depending on how the horses are fed and the proportion of litter in the manure, the nutrients contained in it can vary greatly. As a rule, however, the ratio is well balanced and suits almost every plant. Fresh horse manure contains:

  • about 0.6 percent nitrogen
  • 0.3 percent phosphate
  • 0.5 percent potassium
  • and a portion of magnesium

notice: In contrast to cattle or sheep, horses are poor feed converters. This means that they cannot digest the plants as well. This aspect of horse manure is a great advantage, especially for fertilizing in raised beds or gardens in general.

Due to its properties, horse manure is particularly suitable for fertilization.


It is important to choose the right time for applying manure fertilizer from horses. This is important because of the substances it contains that could damage the vegetable plants in the bed:

  • dig under the ground in the raised bed in autumn
  • then the manure can decompose over the winter
  • be sure to remove the harmful straw first
  • important nutrients are available in spring
  • harmful substances could be flushed out
  • do not use on vegetables and herbs in spring
  • then the manure decomposes too late
  • the harmful substances reach the roots
  • Vegetable plants could die

notice: It is better if you do not use the horse manure fresh immediately after receiving it. It is better if you let it sit for about half a year or order horse manure that has been deposited directly for the raised bed.


Many gardeners also go and compost the manure they get from horses. This is a good way for the manure to decompose well before fertilization when mixed with other organic waste:

  • set up separately
  • do not mix with regular compost
  • add other organic material such as leaves if necessary
  • chopped shrub cuttings are also suitable
  • should compost for at least 12 months
  • don't dig in between
  • if the pile smells earthy and turns dark brown, it is composted
  • can be lifted under in the raised bed
  • Can also be used for vegetables in spring
Horse manure should be composted before further use.

notice: Make sure that the manure heap you put in a corner for composting does not get higher than one meter. Because the heap can sometimes get very hot during the rotting process.

Prepare raised bed for horse manure

If the manure has been composted well, the soil can be prepared for the beds. If a raised bed was newly built, using the compost to fold it in is easier than with an existing one:

  • right time in late winter
  • Mix soil and compost from manure
  • Use normal garden soil for this
  • two parts soil and one part compost
  • fill the lower part of the raised bed with gravel
  • normal garden soil on top
  • fill the top 1/3 with a mixture of manure compost and soil
  • Plants can be planted or sown immediately

Horse manure in existing raised bed

If a raised bed that has been in place for some time is to be treated with horse manure compost, then proceed as follows:

  • dig up an empty bed above
  • Remove 1/3 of the garden soil
  • mix with the compost 1:2
  • put back in the bed
  • plant or sow plants
When fertilizing with horse manure, you should pay attention to the right ratio between manure and soil.

Horse manure in planted bed

If it is a raised bed that is cultivated with perennial plants, then the composted horse manure cannot simply be lifted underneath, otherwise the roots could be damaged:

  • Spread manure compost on soil
  • apply between the plants all around
  • Distribute well with a small hand rake
  • gently fold in gently
  • apply a layer of about two centimeters
  • Nutrients reach the roots with irrigation water

notice: You don't have to worry about an unpleasant odor because the compost stays on top. Because if this is well drawn out, it smells pleasantly earthy and no longer like horse manure.

frequently asked Questions

How good is horse manure really for fertilizing?

The horses may have ingested residues of an herbicide, which is a weed killer, through feed. The animals can easily excrete the drug again. However, the residues of aminopryalid are found in horse manure. Various vegetable plants can react to this with severely impaired development.

Should I also fold in the straw?

You should actually sort out the straw contained in the manure. Because there is a lot of sharp urine in it, which could also damage the plants. For direct fertilization in the bed, you must therefore separate the horse droppings from the straw and only fold them in. In the case of east trees or other robust plants, however, the straw can also be distributed.

Can I use all the composted manure?

The composted manure is usually not completely offset and dry at the edge. Therefore, you should only use the inside of this manure compost for the vegetable or herb bed. You can then start the rest again with fresh manure for the next year.

How well do my plants tolerate the composted horse manure?

The rotted manure is well tolerated by all plants, including tender vegetables and herbs. It is therefore also ideal for an overall improvement of the soil, not just for fertilization. This compost is well suited for preparing beds for vegetables and ornamental plants.

Can it happen that I over-fertilize my vegetable and herb plants with the manure compost?

You don't have to worry about that, because the nutrients in both fresh manure and composted manure are only released very slowly and it is therefore an ideal long-term fertilizer. Therefore, over-fertilization is hardly possible here

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