Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Alpaca Gold

So Yeah, I'm starting off the A to Z Challenge with But as an organic gardener it's something we thing about A LOT.

First things first, there are many types fertilizers you can use for your garden and poop is one of the most widely used. Why? It's easy accessible, it is available year round and it's fairly cheap. If you are lucky enough to have a bit of space for curing or a friend with horses, goats, rabbits, sheep, alpacas or poultry you always have a supply handy.

Manure is a great fertilizer not just because of the organic nutrients that are released but also to help a compacted soil become more manageable and for soils that are sandy it helps to retain moisture.

The only draw back to using manure is that most types are too strong to put directly on your garden, and have to be matured over a  period of time. The Nitrogen levels in most types fresh manure, such as horse and cow will burn your plants. It's best to let it cure or mix it with other compost before it is integrated into your soil, generally in the fall or winter months.
Celestine Ridge Alpaca's
(As many Pictures as I have taken of them you would have thought I could find a newer

So that brings us to Alpaca manure or Alpaca Gold as we call it. We are lucky enough to have a friend that has a herd of Alpacas locally and we trade vegetables for this wonderful fertilizer. Unlike other manures it can be spread directly in your garden, has a low odor and is high in potassium and nitrogen. Another plus for using Alpaca manure is that it doesn't have the weed seeds that you see in other kinds of manure, so it's not harboring sprouts come spring. This wonderful aspect is due to the fact that they have three stomachs, so not much survives to pass through their system as seed.

It's also versatile, the pellets are round like a goat or rabbits and can be used easily in container plantings and made into a compost "tea" for watering house plants, seedlings and other bedding plants. It doesn't have to be worked into the soil either, it can be spread on the top of your garden and when you water or it rains, the water filters through it and spreads easily into the soil.

For our Compost "Tea' we use a large bucket and fill it about a 1/3 of the way full with manure and then finish filling the bucket with water. Let stand, generally 24 hours is good and then use it for watering. this can be done on large scale if you have it or small scale is that is all you need.

If your lucky enough to have an abundance, it also composts quickly in to a rich brown soil.

We don't seem to have a deer problem in our garden and I have heard that could be due to the fact that we use Alpaca Gold, it seems that deer shy away from the smell. I can't say for sure that is true but many people tell us that it's true.

Check out this Map to find a farm near you! Alpaca Gold a great addition to your garden and you get to meet some great people and friendly animals. If you are in Eastern NC check out Celestine Ridge Alpacas for Fiber as well as an educational experience.