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Green City Garden Girl: What Manure is Best for my Garden?

6/17/2010 2:34:23 PM

Tags: green city garden girl, compost, manure, chicken compost, chicken manure, chicken poop, gardening, urban gardening, urban gardens

KyLynn Hull

KyLynn Hull is a stay-at-home mom and dabbles in many things including writing, urban farming and raising backyard chickens. She writes regularly for garden and food blog, Green City Garden Girl - Bound by the Seasons.

I never thought I’d say this, but I love my chicken’s poop. The power of chicken poop does not go unnoticed in my household, and we consider it a top commodity. It has turned my garden into luscious gold—“gardener’s gold” as many call it. I don’t know if you know this or not, but there’s a hierarchy in the poop world.

No matter the source, manure is the perfect fertilizer. This is nothing new, but some poop is better than others.

On the lower end is horse and cow manure. While horse and cow manure possess a bulky, humus-rich finish, its lower levels of important elements—nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium—shove it to the lower end of the spectrum.

Next is sheep and goat manure. They produce a better poop than their larger counterparts. It breaks down easily and can be spread right on the garden in the spring without aging. The pellet-size poop is also very easy to collect.

You might think twice before saying no to an Easter bunny next year. Similar in size and shape to sheep and goat droppings, rabbit droppings have higher levels of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. It has twice the amount of nutritious ingredients!

Chicken poop is by far the best. It’s the most valuable because it’s loaded with nutrients. If you can get a hold of some pigeon droppings, you’ve struck gardening gold. Europeans have been using it for thousands of years and consider it the best of the best for their gardens.

Like most manure, age it by composting before spreading on your garden. Most manure is “hot” and could burn your plants because of its strength—and the smell isn’t too appealing either. But, once broken down, it dispels most of its odor and becomes a fabulous amendment to your soil. Just add the manure to your compost pile of browns (leaves) and greens (grass clippings, vegetable waste) and stir weekly. It could take up to a year to break down, but it’s well worth the wait.

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