The Veg Plot

A Thirsty Gardeners’ guide to… poultry manure

chicken manure pellets

The plant food industry is big business, with all manner of products available for whatever aspect of gardening you care to imagine. From specialist food for individual plants such as roses and tomatoes; to lawn feed that keeps your grass lush and green; and even potions and powders that claim to target roots so they take on more water and nutrients, there are no end of ways you’re encouraged to part with your cash. But if you’re looking for a relatively inexpensive, natural ferltiliser for your veg patch then you could do a lot worse than poultry manure. Here’s all you need to know about how to use the fowl smelling fertiliser…

Poultry manure? Are we talking about scooping the poop from the chicken run?
We certainly are, except us gardeners can buy it ready scooped, dried and packed into tubs of easy to use pellets.

So you just pop the plop on the plot?
Indeed. It can either be dug into the soil a few weeks before planting or scattered around the base of established plants and hoed in.

And what are the benefits of gardening with guano?
Poultry manure is a good source of nitrogen – which is the nutrient most loved by leafy plants – slowly releasing it into the soil to be gobbled up by your veg. And as it’s a natural, organic by-product it’s better for the environment than chemicals.

Sounds good. When should I start dropping the droppings?
You can use pellets all year round, although it is less likely to release all of the nitrogen in the colder months.

It seems like a dung deal for the environmentally conscious allotmenteer. What could possibly go wrong?
Not a lot, although you should probably use gloves when scattering. Dried poultry manure gets sterilised after it has left the chicken, but you can never be too careful. And try to avoid it touching your plants – you don’t want to take a leek that’s covered in muck.

Absolutely, that would be a big waste…


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