Nic van den Bosch's 'Horsemanure Site'


Questions:

Isn't the smell a problem?
This is  probably the question asked most often. Horsemanure has one of least offensive manure odour of any. There is some smell of course while you are doing the potting but it's quite mild. When it's in the pots and especially with some sphagnum on top the smell is reduced greatly. After a short time you don't smell it at all, even in a glasshouse.

Doesn't watering every day leech away all the nutrients?
No this isn't generally a problem. There is some leeching of course, but  I advise to water to the  point where the pot will drip and that's enough. Even with some dripping, the horse manure will do it's job until the plant is 'bursting out of the pot'.

Is horse manure good for all kinds of orchids?
This is a big question considering the thousands of different orchids. The short answer is yes, with the proviso that those requiring weaker solution are potted in the manner explained on the Potting Info page under 'Potting Orchids Requiring Weaker Solution'.  I can't guarantee that there aren't any orchids that won't perform this way, but certainly the overwhelming majority of them will.

Don't you have to compost the horse manure before using it?
No, fresh is best if you use it as explained. It isn't that fussy. If there's a bit of straw with it from the stables or if it's been lying in the field for a few weeks, that's no problem, it will still be better than most mediums people are using to grow orchids, but I have found that fresh is best. Just put it in the pots as it is found. You can break the biggest lumps into a few pieces but this is not essential.

What's the difference between measuring nutrients in EC micro Siemens (ÁS) and parts per million (ppm)?
These are different ways of measuring the concentration of the solution. Parts per million (ppm) is measuring the nutrient as a proportion of the total solution and micro Seimens measures the electrical conductivity, or how easily electricity passes through the solution (this changes as the solution concentration changes). You can't convert one to the other. It's a bit like saying how much of something you have.... say in cubic ft. or in lbs weight. As one goes up the other one does too but you can't convert one to the other as a unit of measurement. 

I don't feel comfortable with the idea of using horse manure. I might be laughed at.
What can I say about this? It might be the most difficult problem to solve in some cases. I can only say that growing plants in manure has been done for many hundreds of years. It's 'natural', practical and in this case it's an inoffensive manure that gives spectacular results. Isn't that more important than preconceived ideas that are not well based?
In the 1930's, Rotterdam in the Netherlands, the major northern European port, still used horses for much of the work at the port. The horse manure was auctioned each week and very keenly sought by the market gardeners of south western Holland who knew well it's value in production.

It can promote human health as well! In May 2003 I am 93 years old and still healthy after growing orchids in horse manure for more than 20 years. The manure may not be directly responsible for this but the enthusiasm caused by it's ability for plant growth certainly helps!

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