Garden Fertilizer

by Juanita Schulze

There are many types of garden fertilizers you can use to have bigger, better, healthier vegetables, fruits, herbs, and blooms. You can use waste from some animals (never use dog manure) as well as fish emulsion or seaweed. Some even use fertilizer made from other plants, like alfalfa meal, corn gluten meal, soybean meal, and cotton seed meal.

Types of Garden Fertilizers

Chicken Manure


Cow Manure

Fish Emulsion (Liquid) (David's Favorite)

Organic Fertilizer (Includes An Organic Fertilizer Recipe)

Rabbit Manure

Seaweed Fertilizer

There are so many fertilizers that can be used in your garden, including a lot of our cover crops. Just plant them in the fall when you are done growing your garden. Then plow them under in late fall or in early spring.

Even Bat Guano (bat number two) can be used. That stuff smells pretty bad, especially when you are touring a cave. Have you ever been to Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico? The caverns are so beautiful, but at the beginning of the first cave, there is a nasty smell and a huge pile of something. Your guide will soon tell you it is bat guano. Once you get past that first chamber, the smell goes away and it is incredible!

Cow manure is pretty common in gardening. My grandfather, Floyd Pitcher, used a lot of cow manure as vegetable garden fertilizer. He had a massive and very prolific vegetable garden every year in the summer in his huge backyard in Hyde Park, New York. He grew beautiful plants that produced a lot of food. They canned and preserved a lot for the winter months, but he also gave away tons of vegetables. We got quite a bit of it.

Chicken manure is popular but if you put it directly in your soil without composting it first, it will burn your plants. Chicken manure always needs to be composted before using it in your vegetable garden. In fact, now that Juanita has chickens, we are getting our fall garden beds ready for spring by mixing in composted chicken manure right now in October of 2020. Chickens produce a lot of poop. Each week, Juanita scrapes the chicken coop boards and shovels a lot of number two along with wood shavings and dirt into buckets for our garden, but first it must be composted so we don't burn our plants.

David loves to use organic fish emulsion. He dilutes it with water on a hose attachment. When it sprays, it smells like you are at the ocean. He has used the seaweed fertilizer but likes the fish emulsion best. I think the garden vegetables grow better when he uses liquid fish fertilizer.

Rabbit manure can be placed in your garden without composting it first. It will not burn most of your plants like other manures will.  Now that we have rabbits, we will be processing and bagging our own rabbit fertilizer.

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