Do you want to get the best manure available?
If you are interested in acquiring manure from the stables, you are required to provide your own muck buckets. The round ones, 2’4″ wide by 1’6″ deep approximately seem to be preferable since they are easy to carry by one human. The typical 30 gallon plastic trash barrels that are a little heavier are also popular for that purpose since they do not leak either. Drop them off at the barn and Hélène will fill them for you and they will be ready for pick up in front of the stables, right by the delivery sign. The manure that is not picked up right away is remaining in plastic barrels and muck buckets away from the rain, inside the shed and at least a hundred and fifty feet away from any surrounded dwelling. Please feel free to come, drive your trailer to the back field and fill your own containers!
The horses at Hélène’s are not stabled at night. They are turned out to pasture 24 hours a day all year round. They get fed their hay and grain out in the fields during the winter time. The manure collected only comes from the indoor arena since the horses usually have access to it. Therefore, what you are getting is “pure” , free of sawdust or shavings. The rest of the manure is scattered/recycled naturally on the grazing fields (about 8 acres). All that pasture gets raked twice a year before and after ground frost (with the use of a truck) to facilitate the recycling process. This explains why there has been no manure pile on the premises for the past 20 years.
When you pick up your muck buckets, you might notice, as you empty them in your garden, that the steam is coming up and that the bottom of them is warm. This is because the composting process has already begun. This is a good sign. You might not want to disturb this. If you can afford the time, allow a few weeks at least to go by before you spread it on your garden soil. The ideal composting term is about 12 months.
You should know that raw manure will kill young growth or roots instead of fertilizing them. This is why I recommend that you do not dump it in concentrated amounts in small areas, and make sure that you are not nearby some wet land that might get infected. It is best to thinly spread it, which on a nice day, allows the sun to first neutralize it then dry it. If you want to sign up for the manure management program at Hélène’s Stables, I will be more than happy to accommodate your needs. We presently have ten individuals participating in this operation. They might leave me with very little material for my own garden, but on the other side, I am proud, beside addressing their gardening needs, to have that many supporters share this effective and healthy way to recycle horse manure. This particular operation was implemented about 20 years ago. It was recommended by an employee from the Board of Health at the Department of Agriculture while under Bob Bennett in the 80’s. The manure pile, to us, is a too bothersome alternative for this small farm operation; it doesn’t favor the environment, and it could be controversial from a neighbor point of view. I can be contacted or you can leave me a message at (978) 448-6370. I will return your call promptly.