Guano is derived from natural deposits of feces and urine from seabirds, bats, and seals collected from areas where favorable climatic conditions insured a minimal loss of nutrients through leaching. Either from seabirds in coastal areas with minimal rainfall. Or in the case of bats, from inside caves where climate has little or no effect on the guano deposit. It is one of the finest natural fertilizers available for vegetable gardeners on the market today.
Guano contributes more than its share of nutrients to the soil. Both the bat and seabird guano are an exceptionally rich source of natural nutrients that supplies many beneficial enzymes and bacteria, large amounts of minor and trace minerals as well as being high in nitrogen and phosphorus.
|Typical NPK Analysis Of Guano Fertilizers
|Guano Bat high Nitrogen
|Guano Bat high Phosphate
|Guano Seabird high Nitrogen
|Guano Seabird high Phosphate
Guano can vary greatly in the levels of N.P.K. and trace minerals and is dependent on many factors. Including, environment, mineral composition of the land or cave of the deposit, food source of the animal and age of the guano deposit. There are many products on the market from a number of regions around the world giving the gardener a choice of products that will suit most needs.
In addition to everything else, bat droppings go through a process of natural decomposition aided by guano beetles and decomposing microbes, which help control many soil-borne diseases. These microbes help to break down any toxins in the soil and act as a natural fungicide when it is fed to plants via their leaves. It is also effective against root-knot nematodes.
The end result is a natural organic fertilizer that improves the natural balance of the soil without increasing either salt content or acidity.
Guano usually comes to the gardener in the forms of powder, pellets or liquid. It can be applied in solid form in potting mixes or as a top dressing in the garden and worked into the soil. It can be dissolved in water to make a tea and applied as a foliage spray or injected into an irrigation system. Guano supplies both fast and slow release nutrients to the soil biological system.
As with all natural manures guano will need time to break down the
nutrients into the form needed for plants. Although it is one of the fastest manure to breakdown, the amount of
micro bacteria in your soil will have a bearing on the time this takes.
Pure guano is applied in much smaller amounts than ordinary barnyard or poultry manure.
Application rates will vary depending on the type of guano fertilizer and where it is to be used, below are some rough guide lines.
To make a passive tea or soil drench add 1-2 tablespoons of guano fertilizer per gallon (4.5 L) of water and let it soak overnight. Apply around the plants with watering can or dipper.
For an aerated tea bubble for 12-24 hrs. Brewing this way gives the tea the added value of the unique beneficial organisms that are stimulated with aeration brewing. These beneficial organisms have a positive impact on the soil bacteria when used as a soil drench.
While seedlings do not need much fertilizer guano is a good choice for
adding to growing mixes. For seedling in their final potting up mix 1-2 heaped tablespoons per one gallon of
potting soil. Mix thoroughly and water well. Use half this measure for younger seedlings.
All garden vegetables will benefit from the nutrient rich guano. Leafy greens prefer high-nitrogen for growth, as the plant approaches budding and fruiting time the phosphorous, flowering guano, is more appropriate.
Average application of guano is 2 - 3 pounds per 100 sq. ft. of vegetable garden, preferably broadcast before planting. Till or dig the soil to a depth of 4 to 8 inches (10-20 cm) and water well.
For large transplants dig a hole 2-3 times larger than the root ball. Mix into the soil 1 heaped Tablespoons of guano fertilizer per vegetable transplant, depending on size, and water well.
For established Plants, side dress anytime during the growing season. The amount will depend greatly on the type of vegetable and guano being used. Follow the directions on the packet. Work into the soil gently and water well.