Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Gardening Column – The best thing to come out of a Chicken by Paul Andruss

Welcome to the Gardening Column and in this post Paul Andruss is about the nether regions of a chicken…….

The best thing to come out of a Chicken by Paul Andruss

An egg?

An egg!!!

Why on earth would I with an egg? It’s a gardening column!

I’m talking about chicken shi… poop!

Yep, that’s the word POOP!

For hundreds of years guano was collected from rugged barren islands hosting sea bird colonies, to be used as a garden fertilizer and in the making of explosives. But these days you don’t need to row out during an Atlantic gale, you can buy it pelleted and sanitized in big plastic buckets quite cheeply (sorry, cheaply).

It is entirely natural and contains the three major nutrients plants need:

  • Nitrogen (N) – used for making new leafy green growth
  • Phosphorous (P) – used for making new roots, seeds fruits and flowers
  • Potassium (K) – used for making stems and helping keep the plant healthy

These are called NKP fertilizers.

It also contains micro-nutrients (see later)

In Turkey, where I once lived, their preferred natural fertilizer is goat poop, which is lower in nitrogen, less acidic and breaks down faster. It is also odourless.

Chicken pooh is also odourless until it either gets on your hands or the rain gets on it.

Whatever you do… don’t add it to your houseplants…. You will live to regret it!

I actually quite like the smell. (Does that make me a pervert?)

And you don’t notice the reek outdoors after the first few rain showers.

Whatever you do, don’t let the tub of chicken poop get wet or you will have stinky slurry smelling like raw ammonia!

If you want to boost nitrogen and you have a fair amount of land, or are vegan (that’s actually a little poop joke), you can grow green fertilizers such as comfrey, especially for parts of the veg patch you are leaving fallow for a later crop.

Buy a pack of comfrey seeds and scatter them in your bare patch. When grown, cut off all the leaves, chop them up and soak them for a couple of weeks in a vat of water until you get a festering stinking mess, which is then watered down with 1 part comfrey and 10 parts water. This feed is rich in nitrogen.

Comfrey has deep roots so it extracts the micro-nutrients from deep in the soil for the plants to use. The tough stems and roots can go on your compost heap.

Peas and beans actually fertilize your soil. Their roots have nodules containing bacteria that store nitrogen. Our neighbours grow broad beans and runner beans, so I told them to cut the plants off at ground level when the crop is finished and leave the roots in the soil to rot down and make the soil more fertile. The stems and leaves are for the compost heap.

Horse manure is another favourite. Unlike cows and goats, horses are not efficient digesters, so their manure is very fibrous. Plus it is mixed with straw before being sold. A word or warning: Don’t lather your garden with fresh horse poop off the road. Only use it when well-rotted!

The straw in horse manure has no nutrients but it does give structure to soil and horse manure will help increase the soil’s micro-organisms creating a healthy environment for plants to grow.

What is soil structure?

Soil consists of broken down particles of rock, clay and sand (inorganic) and decomposed plants and other creatures (organic) which not only give off elements necessary to life (NKP see above) through the action of bacteria, but create a nice fibrous crumbly feel to soil.

If you have ever bought a pot plant in compost from the garden centre you will find that in a year or two the plant is sitting in dust. This is because compost is mainly rotted veg matter and fibre. As the nutrients get used up, there is nothing left but dust.

If soil has no nutrients it is either like dust (think of a beach) or gloopy mud (think of a music festival). Rotted organic matter adds structure to the soil, stopping all the minute rock particles sticking together when wet (clay) or cracking and blowing away when dry.

Organic material like straw, poop, old dead plant roots, or rotted leaves give the soil structure allowing bacteria to live, roots to grow, water to disperse and air to get to the roots. Like any living thing you need to feed you plants. (I originally typed pets: talk about a Freudian slip!!!) Giving them organic feed is better than just chemicals because you are creating a good base (soil structure) for them to grow in.

Before we finish let’s look at some other products.

Fish blood and bone is another slow release organic NKP fertilizer made from all the left over bits of the fish on your plate. My view is that if an animal has to die for you then you might as well use as much of it as you can.

Bone meal is ground down bones. This slow release fertilizer is really good for establishing roots on new plants.

With both, throw loose handfuls about in spring and summer and water it in. When planting new plants put a handful in the bottom of the planting-hole, mix with the soil and mix another handful with soil that is going back in the hole. Scattering it directly over plants roots will damage them.

A word of warning: Don’t overdo the fertilizers! Sparse handfuls scattered over your flower beds once every couple of months are better than burying you poor plants in it. Poop is very acidic and will damage plants… too little is better than too much!

Liquid Seaweed feed is good too but expensive!

Epson Salts are not just for bad guts! You can use 2 tablespoons in a gallon of water once a month to increase flowering as it is rich in Manganese a micro-nutrient.

Finally all these organic fertilizers have micro-nutrients. There are metals and elements that every living thing has in tiny quantities, such as iron, manganese, boron chlorine, zinc and even gold and silver. Plants don’t need very much of these but they are essential. Depending on your soil some are more essential than others.

For example if you have chalky soils, such as the English South Downs, you need to feed some of your plants with an iron tonic. Chalks soils leech out iron. Plants such as rhododendrons and heathers will turn yellow and die: a bit like you with jaundice. These plants require ericaceous compost, or acid compost… available from garden centres.

If you are on neutral soil don’t worry about it.

You can check your soil type with a cheap soil Ph test. Available from garden centres.

Have fun!

©Paul Andruss 2018

About Paul Andruss.

Paul Andruss is a writer whose primary focus is to take a subject, research every element thoroughly and then bring the pieces back together in a unique and thought provoking way. His desire to understand the origins of man, history, religion, politics and the minds of legends who rocked the world is inspiring. He does not hesitate to question, refute or make you rethink your own belief system and his work is always interesting and entertaining. Whilst is reluctant to talk about his own achievements he offers a warm and generous support and friendship to those he comes into contact with.

Paul Andruss is the author of 2 contrasting fantasy novels

Thomas the Rhymer – a magical fantasy for ages 11 to adult about a boy attempting to save fairy Thomas the Rhymer, while trying to rescue his brother from a selfish fairy queen

When Fairy Queen Sylvie snatches his brother, schoolboy Jack is plunged into a sinister fantasy world of illusion and deception – the realm of telepathic fairies ruled by spoilt, arrogant fairy queens.

Haunted by nightmares about his brother and pursued by a mysterious tramp (only seen by Jack and his friends) Jack fears he too will be stolen away.

The tramp is Thomas the Rhymer, who only speaks in rhyme. Lost and frightened Thomas needs Jack’s help to find his way home.

The race is on for Jack and his friends to save Thomas from the wicked Agnes Day (who wants to treat Thomas like a lab rat). And save Jack’s brother from Sylvie.
To do this they need the help of Bess – the most ancient powerful fairy queen in the land.
But there is a problem…
No one knows where Bess is… or even if she is still lives.
And even if they find her… will she let them go?

The latest review for the book.

Magic and mayhem… on February 2, 2018

A child is missing under very peculiar circumstances, there is nothing worse that can befall a family.The tale of magic and mayhem soon unfolds. There is not much time to find Dan or he will be gone forever. I was drawn into the story which soon progressed at some speed at times which left me quite breathless and wanting to read more. Would they find Dan in time? So many dark forces were working against Jack and Co as they raced against time to find Dan. I thought fairies were pretty little creatures who sparkled in the dark and did good deeds …was I wrong.

Author Paul Andruss has a very impressive knowledge of fairies and mythical creature as well as knowing his geography and history I was impressed.

The ending was as it should have been after all the adventures and magic … Dan was home!

Read the other reviews and buy the book:

And Amazon UK:

Finn Mac CoolFinn Mac Cool – rude, crude and funny, Finn Mac Cool is strictly for adults only.

When the fairy folk deliver a soldier called Finn (the first outsider in plague-stricken Ireland for a decade) Erin believes he is Finn Mac Cool – returned to kill the tyrant King Conor Mac Nessa of Ulster. and free Great Queen Maeve – Ireland’s true ruler & Erin’s dying mother.

The druids kidnap Finn – planning to turn him into the hero Finn Mac Cool – who will save the world by destroying it.

Erin goes in looking for Finn – so he can kill Conor Mac Nessa before her mother’s dream of a free Ireland dies with her.

Erin’s quest draws her ever-deeper into Ireland’s ancient mythological landscape; a place…
… Where dream and reality merge
… Where a man’s fate is written fifteen hundred years before he was born
… Where books are legends & a library a myth
… Where people hate Christians for defying the gods
… Where phony druids use real magic

Find out more and buy the book:

and Amazon UK:

Connect to Paul on social media.

Facebook Page:

My thanks again to Paul for another informative post to help us fill our gardens with colour. If you have any questions for Paul on gardening, please put in the comments.. thanks Sally

Previous Gardening Columns can be found here:



45 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Gardening Column – The best thing to come out of a Chicken by Paul Andruss

  1. Thank you for this primer on fertilizer and soil health. My sister takes care of 70 chickens, moving their coop and fencing around her large yard and (I assume after reading your blog post) helping to enrich the soil. I do know that she grew a LOT (hundreds!) of tiny, delicious, orange tomatoes a couple of summers ago where the chickens had lived for a while. I am particularly interested in the myriad bacteria/micro-organisms which live in healthy soil — and which tend to be overlooked/devalued/dismissed by some conventional approaches to agriculture (the same way they are often overlooked/devalued/dismissed in our very own digestive tract…) Please write more about bacteria/micro-organisms if the spirit moves you!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Will, thank you very much. I have never grown tomatoes, but I know they are greedy feeders so I am not surprised by your sisters success.. with her secret ingredient! I will start doing some investigating into the microbial world of soil Will, and see what I discover.. then of course I will be delighted to share it.

      And you are absolutely right about the way we undervalue the microscopic world- of the 6 kingdoms of life micro-organisms have 4 of them the other 2 are plants and animals… seeing ourselves as the peak of creation we fail to appreciate the variety of these organisms, that can survive in all sorts of extreme environments simply because most of the time we fail to notice them.

      All my very best wishes Paul!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Gardening Column – The best thing to come out of a Chicken by Paul Andruss | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

  3. Pingback: Smorgasbord Weekly Round Up – Madonna, Hot Cross Buns, Chicken Poop and Houston 1985 | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

  4. Pingback: Writing Links 3/12/18 – Where Genres Collide

I would be delighted to receive your feedback (by commenting, you agree to Wordpress collecting your name, email address and URL) Thanks Sally

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.