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About Applegater. (Jacksonville, OR) 2008-current | View Entire Issue (July 1, 2022)
Applegater Summer 2022
DIRTY FINGERNAILS AND ALL
Here is the poop on poop
BY SIOUX ROGERS
What is plant “fertilizer”? Sure, most
of you know the word—“fertilizer” or
“manure” or “…..” All I am thinking
and talking about is free fertilizer. A pile
of poop, given as a gift. How lucky can
a gal get?
Because we live in the country, we
have a smorgasbord of “country poop.”
Included in the “menu” is manure from
chickens, cows, horses, sheep, goats, pigs,
and llamas. That about covers the variety
of country poop.
Basically, the usefulness of any fertilizer
for either the home garden or a giant
industrial plot comes down to just three
ingredients: nitrogen (N), phosphorous
(P), and potassium (K).
Those letters, NPK, appear on the front
of most fertilizer products, each letter
followed by a number. Sometimes just the
numbers appear, without the letters.
For example, a label that looks like
“The Right Stuff” pictured on this page
or the XYZ Brand label is telling you the
percentage of nitrogen, phosphorous, and
potassium (potash) contained in each bag.
Now that that is perfectly clear, a quick
lesson on the necessity of each ingredient.
Nitrogen (N) is important for green
leafy growth. You know—the leafy green
stuff you love to hate, such as spinach,
lettuce, kale, and collards. Keeping
grass green is also very dependent on
nitrogen. Low nitrogen makes plants
pale green, sometimes even yellow
(see photo.) Too much nitrogen on flowers
or fruit trees will produce bushy green
plants and trees but few flowers and
Phosphorous (P) is an important
nutrient for the development of
“ H o t ”
fruit. It is also
plants, but a
can be used
w i t h o u t
c omp o s ti n g .
(K) is also
manure for at
least three or
to turn it from
fruit, and roots.
hot to cold.
helps the roots
below is what
Example of a plant fertilizer label. you have been
w a i t i n g f o r.
(For even more
o f Mo n t a n a
m a n u r e
It pro m o te s
we l l - f o r m e d
f e r t i l i ze r. It
A young cabbage plant exhibiting nitrogen deficiency. i s l o w e r i n
the NPK of
barnyard manure you buy as it has been than the manure from most other barnyard
formally analyzed. However, the NPK livestock (cows, horses, goats, and sheep)
numbers may vary when you are scooping so is less hot. The nitrogen and potassium
piles out of your or your neighbor’s content is comparatively high.
Poultry manures (1.1-1.4-0.6): These
barnyard, depending on what the animals
are often simply chicken droppings
have been eating.
m i xe d w i t h t h e
other domesticated birds, including
ducks, pigeons, and turkeys. Poultry
manure can easily burn plants unless it is
Cattle manure (0.6-0.2-0.5): Steer
manure is one of the old standbys, but it
often contains unwanted salts and weed
seeds. It’s usually a cold manure.
Goat manure (0.7-0.3-0.9): It can
be treated in a similar fashion to sheep
dung or horse manure. It is usually fairly
dry and rich and is a “hot” manure (best
composted before use).
Horse manure (0.7-0.3-0.6): It's about
half as rich as chicken manure, but richer
in nitrogen than cow manure. And, like
chicken droppings, it’s considered “hot.”
Sheep manure (0.7-0.3-0.9): It is
another “hot” manure. It is somewhat dry
and very rich. Manure from sheep fed hay
and grain will be more potent than manure
from animals that live on pasture.
Pig manure (0.5-0.3-0.5): This is a
highly concentrated or “hot” manure. It
is less rich in nitrogen than horse or bird
crap, but stronger than many of the other
Rabbit manure (2.4-1.4-0.6): It is the
“hottest” of the animal manures. It may
even be higher in nitrogen than some
In the end, the best manure for your
garden is what you can easily get your
hands on. After all, if you can’t find rabbit
manure, it doesn’t matter how good for
your soil it might be!
Dirty fingernails and all,
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