Some may find it weird.

Cow manure is something that many people would not touch.

But for organic gardeners, cow manure is one of the best organic fertilizers to use.

Cow manure is good for tomatoes because it acts as a balanced organic fertilizer that provides nutrients. It also adds organic material and beneficial organisms to the soil. It’s best to use dried and composted cow manure rather than fresh dung.

I’ll show you why you should use cow manure. I’ll also give you ways to use cow manure to grow sumptuous tomatoes.

Let’s take a look.

Is Cow Manure A Good Choice For Tomatoes?

Tomatoes are easy to grow but are a resource-hungry plant. You need to give the plant plenty of nutrients and water to produce lots of tomatoes.

Manure from most herbivores makes for a good fertilizer for vegetable plants, including tomatoes. This includes cow manure which works well to give the tomato plant all the balanced nutrients it needs. 

Cows have multiple stomachs that their food passes through to gain as many nutrients as possible to sustain their bulk. At each of the four stomachs, the food is processed and digested a little more.

The result that comes out as manure is well processed and has a good balance of nitrates, phosphates, potassium, magnesium, and many trace elements essential for good plant growth.

The amount of time the vegetation spends inside the cow also helps kill the seeds of many of the weeds the cow consumed.

You need to know how much cow manure to use and how often to use it for your tomato plants to get the best results.

Cow manure is the best manure for aiding in tomato plant growth. However, you don’t want to use it right away when it is fresh. For best results, you’ll want to compost it for at least six months, and in that span of time, the majority of weeds will be dead and all of the bacteria should be dead as well. – Jeremy Yamaguchi, CEO, Lawn Love

I asked fellow gardeners whether they prefer to use cow manure for their tomato plants. 64.9% thought it’s a good idea to use cow manure as it provides balanced nutrients and helps the plant grow well.

What Are The Drawbacks Of Cow Manure for Tomatoes?

The main drawback of cow manure is it is balanced, which means the nutrients are not intense as some other manures.

It works well for tomato plants as a balanced fertilizer. But if you’re looking for high nitrogen fertilizer to boost the plant’s initial growth, it’s not the best choice.

Chicken or rabbit manure works well if you want an organic fertilizer that is rich in nitrogen. It’s best to use them together with cow manure to get a mix high in nitrogen but containing other nutrients.

Manure from commercial dairy cows should be avoided where possible since these cows are given a lot of salt. The sodium transfers through the composting period and deposits high doses of the mineral in the soil, adversely affecting the plants.

Can Cow Manure Burn Tomato Plants?

Cow manure can burn tomato plants if you use fresh cow manure because it contains high urea levels that make it acidic. You need to compost the cow manure for at least six months before using it for the tomato plants.

Cows generally urinate at the same time when they pass the manure, which makes it almost impossible to get cow manure that is not saturated in urea.

Fresh, raw cow manure should never be used as a fertilizer directly on your plants but should be composted down for up to six months. The temperature in the compost pile must get high enough to kill the remaining weed seeds and any bacteria that survived passing through the cow’s gut.

The ideal temperature range in the compost pile to achieve sufficient breakdown of the cow manure is between 120-Fahrenheit and 160-Fahrenheit, or 48-Celsius to 71-Celsius.

You can buy the composted cow manure from a garden center or nursery. You can get cheap, fresh cow manure from local homesteaders or farmers, but you need to compost it yourself.

How much cow manure should you add to your tomato garden?

You should add a 1-2 inches layer of cow manure to your tomato garden. You can add this layer near the base of the plant and use a garden fork to dig it into the soil.

Ensure the cow manure is dug in well, give the bed a watering to settle the top layer, and leave the bed for 2 to 4-weeks before planting the tomatoes.

The best time to provide cow manure as fertilizer to your tomato plants is before putting them in the ground. The optimal time is to put the composted cow manure in the soil between 2 and 4-weeks before actually planting the tomatoes.

I also prefer to add cow manure every 15 days to the soil. This helps boost the tomato plants’ nutrients for growing foliage, flowers, and fruits.

It’s also good to add cow manure after harvesting tomatoes from the plant. This will give the plant additional nutrients that encourage further fruit growth.

Cow manure needs to age or compost for a minimum of 6 months before exposing it to tomatoes. By layering it over the garden beds after the fall harvests are complete and not turning it in until the spring prior to planting, the composting process is made simple. A 2 to 4 inch layer of composted cow manure should be spread over the tomato bed if the goal is to increase organic matter and improve the soil composition. – Suzan Ferreira, It’s My Sustainable Life

Can I plant tomatoes in cow manure?

You should not plant tomatoes only in cow manure because it won’t provide the plant with the solid foundation it needs. The cow manure has an excellent texture to retain sufficient moisture and aeration, but it’s too soft to keep a plant stable. It will also be a lot expensive to use cow manure instead of soil.

I suggest you mix 1-2 inches of cow manure with the soil 2-4 weeks before transplanting the tomato plant. This helps the soil get plenty of balanced nutrients for growing the plant.

Is chicken manure good for tomato plants?

Chicken manure is not good for tomato plants because it’s high in nitrogen content. This will encourage the tomato plant to grow foliage rather than tomatoes. You can use it together with cow manure when the plant grows foliage but avoid using it during fruiting. Make sure it’s well composted before use.

Chicken manure which has been well composted is a great source of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. It’s also a great organic option as its easily found throughout North America and it’s significantly lower in cost than other manure’s. – Suzan Ferreira, It’s My Sustainable Life

Is horse manure good for tomatoes?

Horse manure is good for tomato plants as it contains balanced nutrients similar to cow manure. But it can have more weeds since horses do not digest the food as thoroughly as the cows do. You do need to ensure it’s well composted before you can add it to the soil, or you’ll burn the tomato plant roots.

I use G&B Organics chicken manure mostly because it is a good quality product and most cow manure sold at local hardware stores….well I don’t trust for vegetable growing. BUT if I would find a good quality cow manure, I would definitely use it. – Idida