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Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
There's lots to learn here by reading as a guest. However, if you become a member (it's free, ad free and spam-free) you'll have access to our large vermiculite databases, our seed exchange spreadsheets, Mel's Mix calculator, and many more members' pictures in the Gallery. Enjoy.

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Bat Guano & Fish Fertilizer

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Bat Guano & Fish Fertilizer Empty Bat Guano & Fish Fertilizer

Post  EricS 7/7/2013, 3:36 pm

In searching for compost sources for my 5 types of compost, I've run across a source that sells bat guano and they also have something called "fish fertilizer". 

I can't post a link because I'm still a new user, but you can find the products on lyngsogarden.com, which is a local nursery that sells a lot of organic gardening supplies.

I see that a lot of people recommend bat guano as one of the compost sources. But this site lists bat guano as a fertilizer and its pretty expensive. They also recommend only 4-6 lbs per square foot so obviously this wouldn't be an equal part to the other composts.

Here's what they have. Do you think these would make good contributions to my starting compost blend?

Bat Guano 9-3-1
Bat Guano is rich in readily available nitrogen, phosphorus and micronutrients and provides essential plant nutrition for vigorous vegetative growth and early fruit and flower development.  Mix into soil mixes or side dress. 
4-6 lbs per 100 sq ft
2-4 tablespoons per gallon of water for liquid preparation
Pre-Bagged $70.00 25 lbs

Bio-Fish 7-7-2
A nutrient rich fertiilzer ideal for heavy feeders like corn, cole crops and tomatoes.  A good source of nitrogen and phosphorus, can be used throughout the growing season to promote vigorous growth, plentiful fruit and beautiful blooms.
Apply 4-6 lbs per 100 sq ft
Each $10.00 5 pound boxes
Pre-Bagged $33.25 25 lbs bags

Thanks for the advice.

Cheers,
Eric
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Post  camprn 7/7/2013, 3:41 pm

Bat guano is prohibitively expensive. At this point you need compost which feeds the 'soil' not fertilizer that feeds the 'plants'.

In looking for sources of good compost to buy or otherwise acquire, think out of the box. Are there any farm nearby? dairies, goat or rabbit or llama farms? horse stable or zoos? Go to your Farmer's market and ask around. Go to a grain store, ask around. Craigslist and freecycle can be your friends.

http://sfbay.craigslist.org/search/gra?zoomToPosting=&query=compost&srchType=A&minAsk=&maxAsk=

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There are certain pursuits which, if not wholly poetic and true, do at least suggest a nobler and finer relation to nature than we know. The keeping of bees, for instance. ~ Henry David Thoreau

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Post  sanderson 7/7/2013, 7:22 pm

Hi Engineer,  I haven't found bat guano from the US.  Mexico, Asian countries, yes.  But not US.  I don't want to be all touchy-feely, but how to they harvest the guano without disturbing the caves and nurseries?  Do they wait until the nurseries are empty and the bats have migrated?  If that species even migrates!  Do they go in at night with miner's helmets and carefully shovel it out?  Hmmm.  I doubt it.  Bats pollinate so many different types of plants that without them, we will lose certain plant species.

I would recommend passing on bat guano and go for any composted herbivore manure, such as, cow, sheep, goat, chicken, horse, rabbit, llama, etc.  kiss?  and cheap!Smile 

Also remember what Mel said.  At least 5 different sources (all manures are just one), none comprising more than 20% of the volume.  Watch out for commercial compost, it may have peat moss as an ingredient and then you will have to adjust the peat moss accordingly or you could end up with your compost as only 1/6 of the Mel's Mix (MM), like I did.  Bad girl.  Even the bagged cow manure I used contained sticks and rocks.  I didn't know cows ate rocks!  Their poor teeth.  (joke)  I had to do some emergency things to keep the plants going, that, had I found at least 5 different sources like the book states, I wouldn't have had to do.
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Post  dvelten 7/7/2013, 8:59 pm

Eric,

Nobody on this forum should be recommending bat guano (or fish fertilizer or Chickity Doo Doo or Milorganite) as a compost component. They are not compost, they are high nitrogen fertilizers that actually have no use at all in Square Foot Gardening. All of the nutrients needed by plants will come from the high quality compost component of Mel's Mix. People, sometimes even the gurus, hear a term like "Chickity Doo Doo" and automatically think "composted chicken manure", but they are not the same thing. If you open a bag of Chickity Doo Doo, you find a light brown, granular product that doesn't look any different than Scotts Turf Builder, except the smell will knock you over. It is raw chicken manure that has been dried and ground and heat treated to sterilize it. If you use it (or bat guano or fish fertilizer or Milorganite) in the volumes called for, you will have a toxic mess that will kill plants and will have to be disposed of. Compost on the other hand will be black or dark brown in color, rich in humus, moist, and will look like soil with a pleasant earthy aroma. It should not stink and is never a dried, granular product. A fully composted product will typically be 0.5-0.5-0.5.
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Post  southern gardener 7/7/2013, 9:54 pm

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Post  camprn 7/7/2013, 9:57 pm

southern gardener wrote:According the the label on the Pre Made Mix, they use bat guano. https://squarefoot.forumotion.com/viewimage.forum?u=http%3A%2F%2Fi74.servimg.com%2Fu%2Ff74%2F17%2F00%2F41%2F82%2Fmm10.jpg
And we all know how much you liked that pre made mix. That mix is made by a company in conjunction with the SFG Forum. It's not clear how much of each was used in the compost component of this blend.

IMHO, the OP will be well served in seeking alternatives.

____________________________

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https://squarefoot.forumotion.com/t3574-the-end-of-july-7-weeks-until-frost

There are certain pursuits which, if not wholly poetic and true, do at least suggest a nobler and finer relation to nature than we know. The keeping of bees, for instance. ~ Henry David Thoreau

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Post  dvelten 7/7/2013, 10:51 pm

Bat guano is added as an adjunct to some composts, and apparently to the premixed MM. It is an organic fertilizer, a source of nutrients that boosts the NPK rating of the compost so it can be advertised as a "soil conditioner" not just "compost". And it is cool that it has bat poop in it. That increases the market opportunity for the product and as long as it is merely an adjunct to an otherwise high quality compost is not an issue for using in MM and could be a plus (if you believe in adjuncts=fancy word for additive). Dr. Earth Compost is an example where an otherwise high quality compost is amended with bat guano, alfalfa meal, kelp meal, aloe vera gel, and all sorts of other hippy stuff (it is a California product, after all Smile ). I used just one bag of it (it is expensive to ship that much dead weight to the East coast) in my most recent batch of MM with good results. But there is a thread on this forum where folks fussed about the use of Dr. Earth while approving the use of Chickity Doo Doo as one of the five composts in the blend. Three 25-pound bags were then used in the MM, resulting in a toxic mess that killed anything planted in it. The same thing will happen with bat guano, it is NOT a compost.
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