Posted by: David Watts | May 24, 2010

oh crap, did someone say over-pooification?

Manure is gold to gardeners. It contains nutrients such as Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium that are essential for plants to grow healthy and strong. Farmers and gardeners use various manure sources – cow, horse, chicken, turkey, bat, seagull, rabbit…the list goes on. Actually, later in the season, we are hoping to visit the Bronx Zoo to pick up some elephant dung, which is apparently highly prized by gardeners. Who knew?

When we planted this spring, we used chicken manure as fertilizer for our plants. Well, a couple days later, we were shocked to see that much of the basil was burned: the leaves were brown and singed and the growth seemed stunted. We were very confused. Initially we thought that the plants were getting too much sun, but after consulting with Will Martin at Baker Design & Build, we discovered that the burning was occurring because of the acidic nature of chicken manure. Through research we learned that as manure decomposes, it gets very hot and needs time to cool off. Not only that, chicken manure is very high in acid and is best used when it is mixed with compost.

After speaking to other gardeners, we found out that the next time we use chicken manure, we should either mix it with compost, or use it sparingly and let the soil SIT (without plants) for a couple weeks so that it can cool off and settle.
So what did we do about our poor burned basil? Well, we were going to have to rinse the soil to repair the damage, however, we were blessed with several days of rain that managed to do the rinsing for us. Luckily, the other plants were not damaged by the chicken manure. The basil got the worst of it. But the good news is that this morning the new growth looks green and happy. Take a look!

I must admit, our egos have been bruised, but we understand that gardeners are constantly learning by trial and error, and the over-pooification accident is just an example of our education in progress!



  1. wow who knew farmers had to deal with so much sh*t.

  2. good information though

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