Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Garden Day - Chicken Manure

Photobucket Bill's chickens

After several years of having what I suppose you could call a vegan garden, one where no animal products are used, I decided to to go back to a tried and true aspect...free manure.

In this economic malaise I thought the boost might increase yield and along with quality and taste, yield is very important.

My old friend Bill has a chicken coop/stall in his barn so I cleaned about half of it out and got approximately 600 pounds of almost granulated manure. The coop had not been cleaned out for years. If you are going to raise chickens for eggs, you might as well do it right and Bill does that. Only the best feed and he even gives them ground oyster shells that make for a strong egg shell . With 14 pullets he gets about 10-12 eggs per day, gives away some and sell others for $1.50 a dozen. He loves his chickens and they repay him with almost perfect eggs.
So I'd say the manure is good quality also.

The big plant boost will be from chicken manure tea. In each of four 30 gallon trash cans I put in 20 pounds of the manure and filled them up with water. I will stir this periodically and after 3 to 4 weeks it should be ready. To be on the safe side so as not to 'burn' any plants, I'll use it diluted by half and try to feed the plants right before a rain if at all possible.

I then filled up a 3x6 compost bed with about a foot of the manure, covered it with straw and will let it sit until late summer when it should be broken down enough for a lettuce and spinach crop and hopefully have some late season salads.

The rest of the chicken manure was broadcast lightly over the rest of the unplanted garden and sprinkled in between the already up lettuce, spinach, cabbage, broccoli, garlic, chives and onions and on top of the potatoes planted but not yet up.

It should be worth the effort.

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