Manures & Fertilizers: Types, Uses & Examples

Manures & Fertilizers: Types, Uses & Examples
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  • 0:03 Manures vs. Fertilizers
  • 0:47 Manure
  • 1:12 Compost
  • 2:10 Organic Fertilizers
  • 4:01 Synthetic Fertilizers
  • 5:03 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Yuanxin (Amy) Yang Alcocer

Amy has a master's degree in secondary education and has taught math at a public charter high school.

Farmers and gardeners have quite a few choices when it comes to manures and fertilizers. In this lesson, learn the difference between the two, what types are available, and what each is used for.

Manures vs. Fertilizers

Farmers and gardeners want their plants to grow. To that end, they use both manures and fertilizers. In this lesson, you'll learn what some of these are along with the uses of each.

First, though, let's talk about the differences between manures and fertilizers. Both are soil additives that improve the soil quality helping plants to grow. The main difference between the two is that manure is all natural animal droppings, while fertilizer may be natural but may also have chemicals and other unknown substances added to it. Examples of manure include rabbit, horse, cow, and chicken poop and bat guano. Examples of fertilizers include synthetic chemical blends, minerals, and compost from decaying organic matter.


Now, let's take a look at manure first, and then we'll look at different types of fertilizers.

Manure is animal poop. The main benefit of manure is it provides nitrogen. It's downside is that it smells and it's unsanitary, so you have to wash your hands any time you work with it. Also, any food plants grown in soil with manure in it must also be thoroughly cleaned. To use it, you work it thoroughly into the soil.


Now, let's look at some different types of fertilizer. The first is compost. Compost is decaying organic matter that you can make in your own backyard from kitchen scraps and yard scraps. When you mow your lawn, you can put your grass shreds together in a pile, and it will decompose and turn into compost. You can do the same with your kitchen food scraps. You put it in a pile outside, and you let nature do its thing, and before you know, you'll have compost that is rich in nutrients for your plants.

To use compost, mix it into the soil. If you use it as mulch, much of the nitrogen will evaporate into the air. The downside to using compost is that the nutrients released depend on the quality of the organic matter you used to make your compost. If your organic matter isn't nutrient dense to begin with, then your compost won't have many nutrients either. Also, when compared to synthetic fertilizers, compost is not as concentrated nutrient-wise, so you'll get fewer nutrients per pound.

Organic Fertilizers

Another natural form of fertilizer is human urine. That's right, human pee. Because it contains uric acid, adding urine to a compost pile will actually help it compost faster. And adding urine to soil to make urinated soil in the fall will prepare it for your crops in spring. Why is urine so good? Because it contains a lot of nitrogen, and it's organic. It has an N-P-K (or nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium) ratio of 10:1:4, so it's perfect for nitrogen-loving plants such as tomatoes and cucumbers.

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