Compost Vs. Manure: Which is Right for Your Garden?

The earth has been around for a long time, and as such, it’s developed some pretty amazing natural processes. One of these is decomposition – the breaking down of organic matter into nutrient-rich soil that can be used to grow plants.

Decomposition happens naturally in the ground, but sometimes we need to help speed up this process with a little extra fertilizer! Compost and manure are two different ways to do this. Read on for an explanation of how each works and which one might be better suited for you!

Before we get into the differences, let’s first define both compost and manure.

Compost is the end product of a biodegradable material that’s been decomposed or “broken down” by microorganisms, such as bacteria and fungi. It looks like dark, crumbly soil that can be used to fertilize plants because it provides organic nutrients.

Manure, on the other hand, is animal excrement (poop) that has undergone decomposition. It’s also rich in organic nutrients, and can be used to fertilize plants with its nitrogen content.

The key thing to keep in mind when choosing between compost and manure is that manure could contain pathogens that can cause some serious diseases.

Compost is a better option for those who are concerned about disease, especially if they have children or pets.

Both manure and compost provide organic nutrients to plants in different ways–manure through its nitrogen content and compost as the end product of decomposed material with lots of beneficial bacteria. So which one you should use depends on what your priorities are!

If you’re looking for an environmentally-friendly fertilizer that won’t release any harmful gases into the atmosphere, then adding more than just a little bit of compost would be best because it requires long periods (months) to decompose before it’s ready to offer plant nutrition like manure does right away.

Now let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages of each.


The benefits of compost over manure include the following:

  • Compost is typically cheaper than manure
  • Compost is better for the environment because it doesn’t emit methane gas like manure.

The drawbacks of compost include the following:

  • It can take a long time (up to two years) to decompose, unlike manure which is ready for use in just a few weeks


The benefits of manure over compost include:

  • The benefits of manure over compost are that it produces methane gas as an emission which actually helps crops grow better by adding carbon dioxide into the soil and reducing pest populations.

Downsides of manure include:

  • It is not as long-lasting and can take up to a year for the nutrients in the soil to break down.
  • Manure can be a lot costlier than compost because it needs to undergo processes like curing and screening which may require the addition of extra

In summary, when choosing between these two products,  it is important to consider how quickly you want the nutrients in your soil and whether or not cost should be a factor.

Manure will provide increased carbon dioxide for better growth, but it can take up to a year before the benefits are noticeable. Manure might also cost more because of its processing requirements.

Compost takes longer than manure to break down, so compost may have more long-lasting effects on plant life that require less maintenance than manure does over time.

If money isn’t an issue and quick results are desired then using compost as fertilizer would be ideal whereas if added costs aren’t too much of an issue then utilizing both manures with different properties based on what grows best in your home garden could produce the most beneficial outcome possible!