3 Ways To Use Rabbit Manure To Improve Your Garden!

3 Ways To Use Rabbit Manure To Improve Your Garden!

As you probably know, we raise rabbits on our homestead, which means we have a LOT of rabbit manure.

 

What you may not know is that rabbit manure is one of the easiest to use, yet super healthy, fertilizers for your garden. In this article, I’m going to show you how to use rabbit poop to improve your harvest.

 

Garden compost made from animal manure does two amazing things for your garden. First, it’s a free byproduct of your animals, so it’ll save money on topsoil and fertilizer. Second, it is a nutrient rich way to help your garden grow and thrive.

 

Why Rabbit Manure?

 

Great question! Unlike other manures which have to be well composted before you can even think of using it in your garden, rabbit poop can be immediately applied to your soil. It won’t burn crops, and can be used as a stand-alone planting medium or mixed with topsoil (although your best bet is to mix it with soil.)

 

As rabbit manure decomposes, it helps build up the structure of the soil, and injects valuable nutrients and organisms into your garden that will promote strong, speedy plant growth.

 

Rabbit manure, in particular, is rich in potassium, nitrogen, zinc, and calcium, and it’s one of the most nitrogen-rich manures out there – so you’ll get lush, green, well-fertilized growth. The potassium will also improve the quality of the fruit your vegetable plant sets.

 

Finally, unlike cow, horse, or pig poop, rabbit manure is odorless – so as you collect it and incorporate it into your garden, your nose (and your neighbors!) will thank you.


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How to Use Rabbit Manure In Your Garden

 

First decide on the source of your rabbit manure. If your kids have pet rabbits, have them collect the rabbit’s waste each day. If you already raise bunnies on your homestead, then what are you waiting for? Go start collecting rabbit manure for the garden!

 

Collecting it is relatively easy, and everyone has their own “system.” One of the simplest methods is to place plastic tubs under your rabbits’ cages and dump them out every day (don’t wait on this – flies WILL lay eggs which will hatch into maggots – GROSS.)

 

You can dump them into a compost pile, or directly into your garden. If you haven’t planted anything in your garden yet, then till the rabbit manure to a 2-inch depth.

 

If your garden is already established, then side dress your plants with the manure – it’s usually best to do this as your plants are flowering and setting fruit. They’ll need all the nutrients they can get during that time!

 

If you just got your rabbits, or don’t want to raise any but definitely want to use bunny poop in your garden, then you might also be able to find rabbit manure to buy. Check with neighbors or even Craigslist in your area.

 

How to Make Rabbit Manure Compost

Not everyone is enchanted with the idea of directly applying manure to their garden. That’s ok – you can compost the rabbit poop.

 

To make rabbit manure compost, mix the poop with other compost ingredients that will decompose, such as fruit peelings (like bananas), bits of leftover food, coffee grounds, and grass clippings, and leaves.

 

Add equal parts of wood shavings and straw, then blend all these things (and other kitchen waste) thoroughly, then add enough water to moisten. Be very careful not to completely saturate the compost pile.

 

Cover with a protective tarp and turn every two weeks. If you’re hot composting (which is unlikely with rabbit poop but, hey, stranger things have happened!), then water regularly to maintain heat and humidity levels. Keep adding to the pile and turning and blending it until it fully composts.

 

If you’re cold composting, then simply turn the pile until the manure and other ingredients have turned to sweet-smelling soil.

 

Making Rabbit Manure Tea for A Larger Garden Harvest

 

A third option, other than putting rabbit manure on your garden directly or composting it, is to make a tea fertilizer. Luckily, this is pretty simple.

 

In a 5 gallon bucket, place a burlap bag. Fill the bag about half way with rabbit manure (or however much manure you have on hand), and close it tight with string.

 

Add water to the bucket until the burlap bag is full submerged. Allow your tea to “brew” for 5-7 days, stirring daily. Once the allotted time has passed, simply remove the bag of manure from the bucket.

 

You can use the tea directly on your garden, and compost the rabbit manure, or use it on your garden as well.

 

I’d like to hear from you!

Do you use rabbit manure in your garden? Leave a comment below!

Check Out My Other Rabbit Articles:


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Planting A Homestead Orchard With Dwarf Fruit Trees

Planting A Homestead Orchard With Dwarf Fruit Trees

Planting a homestead orchard with fruit trees was a priority as soon as we bought our farm.

 

Our homestead already had a small pecan orchard planted, and to our delight there also was a young black walnut tree. 

 

Our first year, we harvested over 100 pounds of pecans, and we couldn’t even gather them all there were so many. 

 

After keeping some for ourselves, we gave the remaining pecans to our pigs.

 

We kept all the walnuts, and had a bumper crop in 2014, although we didn’t get much in 2015. 

 

Planting a homestead orchard with fruit trees was a big priority in 2015, and we were able to plant several varieties of apples and plums.

 

We also included raspberry bushes (which unfortunately did not survive the goats) as well as blueberry bushes.

 

READ NEXT: HOW TO PLANT GARLIC

 

Pears, and especially peaches, are next on our list.

 

Although we have 10 acres of land, we do most of our homesteading on just 2 acres, and have a 4 acre pasture for our horses. 

 

We’ve already scouted a great place to establish a peach and pear orchard on the remaining 4 acres.

 

Here’s how we started our fruit tree homestead orchard!

 

Consider planting dwarf fruit trees in your homestead orchard

 

One major decision we made was planting dwarf fruit trees in the orchard on our homestead.

 

Dwarf varieties generally produce fruit faster and you can easily tuck them into corners on your property that you otherwise can’t use for anything.

 

We planted several 1 year old apple and plum trees this year that we hope will produce fruit next year (although we did get some early starters setting fruit this year, I removed them so the fruit trees could focus on establishing roots).

 

If you live on an urban or suburban homestead, planting dwarf fruit trees in your orchard is one idea for fresh, organic food.

 

Choosing which varieties to plant

 

If you’re interested in establishing a fruit tree homestead orchard, you first need to select the varieties you want to plant.

 

Remember that many fruit trees will require one or more varieties to successfully pollinate.

 

You also need to take into consideration when the fruit trees will bloom. Some apple varieties, for example, will bloom earlier than others, so selecting fruit trees that bloom at the same time will ensure pollination.

 

For example, Red Delicious (one variety we planted) blooms at the same time as Galas. 

 

We chose to plant several Red Delicious, Galas, Honeycrisp, and Yellow Delicious dwarf apple varieties this year. They’re all reliable cross pollinators and varieties we like to eat.

 

We also planted two dwarf plum trees to they could cross-pollinate each other.

 

Even though some fruit trees you typically see in a homestead orchard are reportedly self-pollinators, you will have better luck and get more fruit by planting more than one tree.

 

The good news is that when you purchase fruit trees to plant in your homestead orchard, they will likely come with information about which varieties they pair well with to ensure you get fruit.

 

READ NEXT: HOW TO EAT SEASONALLY

 

If you visit a knowledgeable nursery, the staff will have information for you as well.

 

How fruit trees pollinate

 

Planting a homestead orchard with fruit trees is simple. Here's how to choose a variety, successfully plant trees, and ensure your trees will set fruit.

Photo from University of Missouri

 

In case you’re curious, here’s how fruit trees pollinate, and why planting two or more fruit trees in your homestead orchard is a good idea. 

 

Pollination occurs when your fruit trees blossom, and pollen from the anthers (which is the male part of the plant) has to be transferred to the stigma (which is the female part of the plant).

 

Once the flowers are pollinated, your fruit trees are fertilized, and this allows fruit to grow. Without pollination, the flowers will grow, but will not set fruit.

 

If your fruit trees set fruit, but they don’t grow or are very small, it’s likely an issue of not being pollinated well enough.

 

Bees, birds, wind, and even people (by hand) can pollinate fruit trees, but the most common way is with honey bees.

 

Many people even keep bee hives in their homestead orchard to promote pollination, and a single honeybee can visit as many as 5,000 blooms in one day. The bee’s aim is to gather nectar from the flowers, and helps the fruit trees pollinate in the process.

 

Planting peach, pear, and fig trees in your homestead orchard

 

Continuing planting fruit trees in our homestead orchard in a major priority, and we’re planning on including pears and peaches.

 

Pears

Almost all varieties of pear trees require an another tree to set fruit. If you’re planting a homestead orchard for pears, count on including more than one tree.

 

Plums

 

Plum trees are unique in that European varieties (such as Bluefre, Blue Ribbon, Earliblue) require pollination from another European varieties, while Japanese plum trees, which are what we planted, need another Japanese variety to be fruitful.

 

Figs

 

One type of fruit trees we did try planting were fig trees, although we weren’t successful.
Fig trees are attractive because not only do I like the fruit, but they grow very well in containers, and can easily be moved around the homestead orchard to get constant sun.

 

For a suburban or urban homestead orchard, figs are easy to incorporate, and most are truly self-pollinating (although, again, you will do better having more than one variety for cross pollination.)

 

We will try again!

 

READ NEXT: WHAT TO PLANT IN COOL WEATHER FOR A SPRING HARVEST

 

Planting a homestead orchard

 

Now that you have an idea how to choose fruit trees for planting a homestead orchard, here’s how you actually plant them.

 

Make sure the site of your homestead orchard is in full sun. On our farm, we took great pains to ensure the trees are in a location where they will be successful.

 

Fruit trees require soil that drains well, but is near a water source if you live in an area that does not get rain too often. Their first year, fruit trees require frequent watering.

 

Dig a hole at least twice the size of your tree’s root ball, but not too much deeper, unless the ground under is very hard – then you will have to dig down to loosen the soil so your homestead orchard can properly establish roots.

 

Ensure the soil has settled properly (to check your tree is planted at the right depth) by watering the area after planting your fruit trees. The roots should be just below the surface of the dirt.

 

The University of California Davis has thorough directions for planting a homestead orchard.

 

Establishing a homestead orchard is another step toward self-sufficiency you can easily take, and one that we plan on working on even further in the upcoming year!

I’d like to hear from you!

Are you thinking about planting a homestead orchard this year? Which fruit trees interest you? Email me at [email protected] or comment below!