DENVER — Before commercial fertilizers were widely available, farmers and gardeners used what was locally available--manure. This could be from horses, sheep or poulty, but primarily from cows.

Manure is rich in nutrients for plants, especially nitrogen. In order for it to be used safely, it must be composted. It will break down so that the high ammonia content won't burn or kill plants. Composted manure doesn't stink and is safe to use. 

If you don't own a cow, you can buy bags of composted manure at the hardware store. It can be spread on lawns, beds and vegetable plots. 

Lawns benefit from an early feeding. Manure is a slow-release fertilizer that feeds over an extended period. It also enriches soil and improves its fertility. In conjunction with leaves and other organic debris, manure makes a long-term contribution.

Spread manure however you like. I use buckets and scatter it. You can use the "chicken feeding" or "bowling" technique; it doesn't matter. The point is to make the most of this organic fertilizer. 

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