As John walked through the kitchen yesterday, I just casually mentioned, "Hey, I've got buckets of rabbit poop tea steeping over by the hose, if you're wondering what that is. Please don't pour it out." He just stopped and gave me a very grave look, "Those are words I don't ever want to hear put together again."
Yep, he's a funny guy. Sometimes I need someone to ground me and remind me that I'm not normal. I've grown so accustomed to our little farming life, that those words didn't seem so strange to me. Without reminders like that from John, I might go blabbing at Mom group about how my rabbit's poop has done wonders for my tomatoes and really gross some folks out. Some of what happens in the backyard just isn't to be discussed among polite society. Luckily for me, this blog is designed to be about the goings on of our backyard, so if reading about rabbit poop tea is just too gross for you, click back tomorrow for an astounding garden veggie pasta recipe (you don't have to think about what fertilized the veggies atop our pasta unless you want to ;).
Rabbit poop is an excellent fertilizer that doesn't have to break down or compost before being added to the garden. That is, after all, why we first decided to bring Cocoa Puff to our home. But, the poo pebbles themselves take awhile to break down in the soil, and thus it takes awhile for the plants to reap the benefits of the fertilizer. The trick is to get the rabbit poo into a form that is more easily absorbed by the plants' root systems -- liquid. One gardener touting the benefits of rabbit poop tea (more politely referred to as rabbit manure tea -- although I hardly think that makes it more palatable a concept) called it "rocket fuel" for the garden.
Here's what I did. I used two of John's old t-shirts (ones with yellowed pits -- could this blog entry get any more disgusting?) and cut them up so as to create two big rags from each t-shirt.
Then, I gathered 4 big buckets and some rubberbands . . .
. . . and made my way over to the rabbit poop tub.
I placed a big scoopful of poo in the center of each rag and tied them up with the rubberbands.
I placed the "tea bags" into the pails and filled them with water. The sun will do the rest of the work, steeping the tea all day long. I'll let them steep for a day then use the tea to water the garden.
If you have a worm bin or compost pile that is ready for use, you can brew a worm castings tea or compost tea in the same way. Your garden will thank you.
There are a lot of things I've enjoyed about gardening organically. One of them is definitely learning creative ways to tend the garden. Organic gardening has become mainstream enough that I could just drive to Home Depot and buy some "organic fertilizer," but I enjoy being able to make use of what we have on hand and participate in the cycle that takes the carrot to the rabbit, then the rabbit's poop back to the garden where it's used to grow yet another carrot. ;)