Bat Guano As Fertilizer What You Need To Know
Does Bat Guano Make A Good Fertilizer?
Bat guano has been used for centuries as an organic fertilizer to enrich our soil and help improve the quality of our crops.
It gets collected from both fruit and insect-feeding species of bats. It is fast acting and does not have a strong odor. You can work it into your soil before planting and even during your plant's active growth cycle.
From making it into compost to brewing it into a liquid fertilizer, keep reading to get all the information you need for adding bat guano into your garden.
What Is Bat Guano Used For?
It works as a natural fungicide and can also help you control the nematodes in your soil.
It gets used in the soil as a conditioner while enriching the soil and improving its drainage and texture.
It is also an excellent fertilizer for plants and lawns, helping them grow strong and helping their vegetative growth.
It also helps when we add it to our compost since it acts as an activator speeding up the decomposition process.
Bat Guano Fertilier NPK
For bat guano, there are two different nutrient types depending on the bat the droppings get collected from.
Insect Feeding Bats NPK
So on average, the npk value of bat guano is around N 10.0%:, P: 3.0%, K: 1.0%.
Fruit Feeding Bats NPK
So on average, the npk value of bat guano is around N 3.0%:, P: 10.0%, K: 1.0%.
Each batch can be slightly different based on the feed the animal was consuming and how it got processed on the farm. The species of the bat will also alter the nutrient values.
Other factors like the age of the manure, its decomposition rate, time exposed to the elements, the percentage of organic matter, microbe populations, and the soil types can all slightly alter the nutrient values.
How Much Bat Guano to Use
Vegetable Gardens & Flower Beds:
Use around 1-2 tbsp per square foot for a small garden and mix it into the top 3 inches of your garden soil. On larger gardens, you want to use 1-2 lbs for every 100 square feet and thoroughly mix it with the soil.
For new plantings, add 1-2 tsp per gallon of soil. Make sure that you mix thoroughly, or you can add 2.5-5 lbs per cubic yard.
For already established plants, mix 1 tsp for every gallon of soil about once every month during the growing season.
Composting Bat Guano
Using bat guano and making your compost is a pretty simple process and not messy.
You can purchase bat guano as an additive and use it in your home composting to create nutrient-rich compost.
Due to the health concerns in harvesting and processing bat guano, it is best to avoid harvesting your own, and you should purchase it from a qualified retailer.
First, lay down a 3 to 4-inch layer of dried leaves, grass clippings, straw, or any other type of dried organic plant matter on the bottom of your compost bin. In composting, these materials are also known as browns and are rich in carbon.
The first layer must be what is called browns organic material. Browns in composting are just dried-out organic plant matter.
Now we want to moisten the material but not get them soaking wet. So slowly add water and mix the materials until everything is nice and moist.
Now we need to add a layer of what is known as greens in composting. These are kitchen scraps, green leaves, o green grass clippings.
Greens are rich in nitrogen and help to activate the decay process in our compost pile.
Place a thin layer of the bat guano over the top of the green layer you just put down. Bat guano acts as an activator in the compost pile, helping to compost process to happen quicker. The high level of nitrogen in the guano is what either starts or speeds up the breakdown of the items that are high in carbon.
Again you need to add water so that the layer just added is nice and moist. We need water and oxygen to provide the required materials to begin to decompose.
The most basic recipe for successful composting is to provide "browns, greens, water, and air."
Any compost pile is just the natural breakdown of organic material into a dark, loose, and soil-like material. It is a great way to use organic materials to enrich our gardens and help improve our soil health significantly.
Composting is great for our plants and the microorganisms within the soil while simultaneously helping us reduce household waste.
Liquid Bat Guano Fertilizer
Also Known as Bat Guano Tea
Do not use boiling water. The water can be warm but do not boil the water to create this type of tea.
A downside to using manure tea instead of mixing the manure in with your soil is that it will not improve the health of your garden's soil.
You will need a fabric sack like a pillow case or fabric bag in which you can put the manure.
You want the guano in the sack to fill up approximately two-thirds of the bucket you are placing.
You can tie the top of the bag, or if it is large enough, or wrap the opening around the top of your bucket and fold it over.
Now fill the bucket up with water almost to the top. Leave around one inch of space of air and place the lid on top of the pale.
Check the water every day or two and stir the water. Keep the solution brewing for 7 to 10 days to allow the nutrients to leach into the water.
After 7 to 10 days, lift the bag and wring it out, getting as much water out of the sack as possible.
Before you add the bat liquid fertilizer to your plants, you will want to add some more water until the liquid fertilizer is a weak tea color. Adding the undiluted liquid solution directly increases your chance of burning your plants.
You can add the liquid fertilizer directly to your soil or use it in a spray bottle and apply it to your plant's leaves as a foliar spray.
You can still use the leftover bat guano in the bag and add it directly to your soil or put it into a compost pile.
Liquid Preparations: Quick Method
Add 1-2 tbsp. Bat guano per gallon of water and let steep for up to 48 hours. Water plants as needed or filter and apply as a foliar spray. Use all of the liquid once it gets made.
Benefits of Bat Guano Fertilizer
The high levels of nitrogen help create green and lush plants, helping them grow faster and more healthily.
In organic gardening, adding bat guano to your compost acts as an activator helping speed up the decomposition process.
Bat guano, like most organic fertilizers, slowly releases its nutrients over time, reducing the need to keep adding more like you would have to when using synthetic fertilizers.
It is mined through environmentally friendly methods and is a natural organic fertilizer.
Improves the soil tilth, fertility aeration, and water holding capacity. It also contains a beneficial food source for many of the microorganisms in our soil.
Bat guano is a rich fertilizer with high content of carbon and the three vital primary macronutrients: nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (N-P-K), as well as important secondary minerals like calcium and magnesium that help us to control our soil pH.
Disadvantages of Bat Guano Fertilizer
When the bat guano is not correctly processed, it is at risk of getting contaminated with fungal spores. These spores can start replicating in your garden, creating a hassle for you.
There are also dangers for people who are collecting bat guano. Specifically, inhalation of fungal spores is known to cause an outbreak of zoonoses disease.
Bats are a reservoir of many harmful diseases (Richards et al., 2014), including Ebola and Marburg viruses).
Bat guano has been used in agriculture for centuries and can act as an excellent natural organic fertilizer.
Its high nutrient contents and benefits to our soils make it a favorite for many organic gardeners.
You can add bat guano to your compost or brew it into liquid fertilizer to provide nutrients for your plants.
If your main goal is improving your soil's health, you will want to use the composting method.