What is the best time to add lime and manure to my soil?
Answer: I would spread lime as soon as you can get onto the soil. However, do not spread the lime on wet soil, as going over the soil when it’s wet will create compaction layers that will take a long time to get rid of. That being said, the longer the lime is in the soil, the longer it has to do its work of making Ca more available and increasing the pH of the soil.I would recommend that you spread the lime, then disc to incorporate the lime into the soil. You could probably plant transplants or seeds pretty soon after discing in the lime, but the longer you wait, the more effect the lime will have on the soil (up to a point). I would suggest you get the lime on the soil before the main winter rains occur, as it will only interact with moist/wet soil. If you spread the lime and then there’s no moisture, the lime won’t have much effect until rain/irrigation allows the lime to interact with soil particles and microbiology.Regarding spreading manure, there are several options. You could save on operating costs if you spread the lime, then spread the manure and disced them both at the same time. However, what kind of manure will you be using, how much, and how old is it? These are important questions to answer because the quality of the manure will affect how much N you end up putting on for the crop.Timing is also important in applying any kind of N product. Fresh manures will lose substantial amounts of their N if they’re not incorporated into the soil. I would recommend applying the manure in the spring. This can be problematic in that if there’s a lot of rain, you don’t want heavy equipment getting on the soil to compact it. But if you apply in the fall, and there are heavy rains, then a significant part of the N in the manure will be lost to water taking it below the root zone. Another important thing to keep in mind is that only about half or so of the total N in the manure will be available to the plant during the growing season. The remainder is going to be released more slowly through the degradation of the organic matter matrix in which it is embedded, so that some small portion of it will be available to the plant in the 2016 growing season, and increasingly smaller amounts in the following growing seasons. So, make sure you have some idea about what the N percent of the manure is. For more information, consult the ATTRA publication Manures for Organic Crop Production at https://attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/summaries/summary.php?pub=182.