Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Best Manure

"In the 1960's, when the Central Intelligence Agency's (CIA) secret gadget-makers invented a listening device for the Asian jungles, they disguised it so the enemy wouldn't be tempted to pick it up and examine it: The device looked like tiger droppings." Great idea, although we could never use this today because we'd be violating someones rights.. maybe Poo would be offended and file a class-action suit against the United States... on the grounds that; "The government is insinuating - we are not pretty, we don't smell good, this tarnishes who we are and what our kind is striving to be!" (oh for pete's sake... really? your Poo!!!!) See, this is where we are headed, right down the path of insanity, where everything that is right is considered wrong and vice-a-versa...
Anyway, on to greener pastures...

Manure! also known as: BM, ammonia, bowel movement, buffalo chips, ca-ca, castor-bean meal, commercial fertilizer, compost, coprolite, coprolith, cow chips, cow flops, cow pats, crap, defecation, dingleberry, dressing, droppings, dung, enrichener, feces, feculence, fertilizer, guano, jakes, movement, muck, night soil, nitrate, nitrogen, ordure, organic fertilizer, phosphate, sewage, sewerage, shit, stool, superphosphate, turd

A couple key points;
1. Manure from meat eaters = bad ( parasites and bad bacteria)
2. Manure from vegans = good
So, there are a number of good manures and we'll show you how they pile-up. Let's get started.

Manure is ranked on the N-P-K scale; Nitrogen, Phosphoric Acid and Potash. Now don't get confused. Chemicals at your local garden center (fertilizers) are missing one irreplaceable ingredient called "organic matter". No amount of chemicals can replace this and therefore, manures will always have the edge. At Home Depot 1 cubic foot (100lbs) of Chicken Manure costs $3.07 versus 20lbs of Miracle Grow for the Garden at $24.00. Don't be fooled, marketing is slick, but enjoy it from a distance. Sometimes simple is best.

So, as they go; here is the list:

Chicken Manure

Poultry manure (chicken in particular) is the richest animal manure in N-P-K. Chicken manure is considered "hot" and must be composted before adding it to the garden. Otherwise, it will burn any plants it comes in contact with. It has been suggested to cut-it with dairy manure or allow it to mix with hay and other soil around the yard for six months prior to applying to your plants. And use it as a soil amendment, not a mulch to layed up next to the plants. So... mix it in, let it sit and then use it. Or, once your garden is wrapped up in the fall... spread the manure over it, to be turned under in 4-6 mos when you plant for spring.

Dairy Manure (this is not manure from milk but from the cow)

Dairy Manure may be the single most useful soil-builder around," says Ann Lovejoy, lifetime organic gardener and writer in Seattle, Washington. "Washed dairy manure from healthy cows is just about perfect for garden use; it can be used as a topdressing and for soil improvement," she adds. Dairy manure is preferable to steer manure, which has a higher salt and weed seed content. Though cow manure has low nutrient numbers, that's what makes ist safe to use in unlimited quantities.

Horse Manure

Horse manure is about half as rich as chicken manure, but richer in nitrogen than cow manure. And, like chicken droppings, it's considered "hot". Horse manure often contains a lot of weed seeds, which means it's a good idea to compost it using a hot composting method.

Steer Manure

Steer manure is one of the old standbys, but it's not the most beloved because it often contains unwanted salts and weed seeds.

Rabbit Manure

Rabbit manure is even higher in nitrogen than some poultry manures and it also contains a large amount of phosphorus--important for flower and fruit formation. I think this is much harder to come by unless of course you raise rabbits or live by someone who does. A friend happen to tell me his family made a handsome living on rabbit manure, both by selling it for fertilizer and by sifting out all the worms which crawled up into the manure and selling them to fishermen. Hmmm.... black gold!

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