Thoughts on using guana as fertilzer in W Wash

goofyisgreen(Z8 PacNW)February 26, 2013

South Sound, wondering about the experiences and recommendations for using guano as fertilizer. If people do recommend, where is a good supplies.

My initial experience was mid-summer last year, and I thought it was good for my veggies. In general, I've been disappointed with my veggie yields, the foliage production seems to outstrip the edible fruit production.

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There is such a thing as using too much fertilizer.

You imply using guano on vegetable plants in late July/early August (mid-summer). Vegetable plants should be blooming and setting/forming edible portions by then and lots more fertilizer could promote foliage growth at the expense of the edibles.

If the plants were already growing well by mid-July, even watering is more important. If they seemed slow to grow, a little more fertilizer, regardless of type, can help.

Guano is a component of some common, bagged fertilizers.

What is an example of your vegetables that were mostly foliage?

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 11:22PM
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Guano - bat, seabird or seal - is an excellent organic fertilizer, often included with blended organic fertilizer mixes but also used as-is. In addtion to the typical major plant nutrients, guano contains a lot of trace elements and micronutrients that are not always present in other ferts.

Since most organic fertilizers take time to breakdown and the nutrients become available to the plants, applying it early in the season is better than later. Applied in moderation/package instructions, it is pretty darn hard to "over do" with organic fertilizers. And guano - as are a lot of organics - is not exactly cheap. 1-2# for 100 sq. ft is all that is necessary.

Before taking the time and expense to add fertilizers, perhaps unnecessarily, you might want to consider having a soil test done. That will tell you if you have any deficiences and how to correct or if you should be looking at something else altogther.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 4:31PM
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goofyisgreen(Z8 PacNW)

Peppers are the big one (I don't bother with tomatoes, I don't have the right yard, and there are zillions out there for the same 4-week period). Would like better yields on all my veggies, including spinach and letttuce.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2013 at 4:02PM
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Well, spinach and lettuce do not fit into the foliage/fruit ratio mentioned above as they are all foliage and no fruit. It can take 2 or 3 years of soil improvement to get conditions right for growing large leaf crops, unless you are dumping a foot of compost on top of the ground or in a raised bed and planting in that. If you are growing at ground level in yard soil, planting a cover crop in late summer and working it into the soil in late winter can help over the long run, as well as adding various fertilizers in early spring.

If you are trying bell peppers, those require an excellent, rich soil and even watering and perfect weather conditions to get store-sized fruits. I see very few casual gardens here that generate full-size peppers. Bell peppers set fruit in a fairly narrow range of temperatures and some years here just don't cut it at bloom time.

It is actually easier to grow hot peppers, and that includes many hybrids that have the appearance of a jalapeno but have been bred to be very mild. Pimento-type peppers can also do well in the same conditions bell peppers struggle in.

The vegetable forum likely has more frequent advice.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2013 at 11:45PM
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