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Can we use rabbit droppings in our vegetable & flower gardens or is the acidity too high? How does it compare to manure?

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Any manure added directly to a garden may be problematic Rabbit droppings as well as any animal manure (chicken, horse, cow) when added directly in the garden, the microbes (fungi and bacteria) use available nitrogen in the soil to decompose the manure, and nitrogen is less available for plant growth.  All manure is best utilized after being composted in a compost heap.  Water, microbes, and the composting process will make the nutrients in rabbit droppings more available to plants.

Here is an excerpt from Cornell University on using animal manures in gardens (http://www.gardening.cornell.edu/factsheets/orgmatter/index.html#manures):

Using manure: Manures differ from each other because of their source, their age, how they were stored (piled, spread, turned over or not), and the animal bedding material, which may be mixed in. For that reason it is difficult to provide precise guidance about how long manure should be aged before use, or how much to use.

Composting is the safest way to make the most of manure's nutritional potential - if the logistics of making and hauling compost are viable. For direct use in the garden, first aging manure for 6 months is a good rule of thumb. Many farmers and gardeners spread fresh manure in the fall or winter, and till or turn it in at spring planting time.

When manure is spread in the spring, even if aged, it is safest to wait for at least one month before planting crops, since the microbial activity it stimulates may interfere with seed germination or plant growth before that time.

Posted on 18 Jun 2009

Maggie Shao
Horticulture Agent, Salt Lake County

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