Tomato plants demand a lot of patience, care, and knowledge to grow to their fullest potential. Providing your plants with good quality manure and compost is one of the best ways in which you can do that. Recently, the popularity of chicken manure is growing and this has posed a very serious question to all the plant lovers, “is chicken manure good fertilizer for tomatoes”.
While it is true that chicken manure can be a benefactory addition to your tomato plants, there are often a few dimensions to it.
In the following article, you’d be familiarised with why chicken manure is good for your tomato plants, what are some of the other fertilizers for tomato plants and tips to use them and how can chicken manure be used as a good compost option for other vegetable plants.
Is Chicken Manure Good for Tomato plants?
Chicken manure has recently been into limelights since scientific evidence about its benefits have started circulating. They are easy to access, and easy to apply, making them one of the most beneficial and effective manure for plants.
But, as we all know, tomato plants come with their own set of expectations and demands, and whether or not the nutritional profile of chicken manure suits them is still a big question.
Can you use chicken manure on tomato plants?
Long answer short, yes, chicken manure can be used to grow tomato plants, but only when certain considerations and prerequisites are kept in mind.
Unlike other animal manures, chicken manure offers a very high rate of nitrogen, making it the best for tomato plants. When compared with the ratio of potassium and phosphorus, the concentration of Nitrogen is double, making it an ideal addition in the growth of tomato plants.
As mentioned earlier, one of the most important considerations to keep in mind before adding chicken manure to your tomato plants is that it is properly composted beforehand.
Exposing your tomato plants directly to chicken manure can create a lot of undue pressure on it. It takes a little while for tomato plants to adapt to a new environment and while a high range of nitrogen might be good for them, providing them this quantity suddenly can hamper the growth.
When used directly, your tomato plant can suffer from conditions of burns and dryness and symptoms like yellowing of leaves, or sudden death of the plant can occur.
Also Read: Should I Cut Off Yellow Leaves on Tomato Plants?
How to use chicken manure for tomato plants?
- To ensure that your tomato plants get the best of the chicken manure that is applied on them, it is important to know how to prepare your chicken manure before administering it to the plants. Here are a few easy steps to do so:
- Collect your chicken manure and the related bedding ingredients
- The initial step is to collect the chicken manure and other bedding ingredients. It will help you in staying determined with the process of using composting chicken manure and using it for tomato plants. Some of the easily available bedding options that one can opt for, include shavings, sawdust, leftover peels, and straws.
- Next, dump the manure and bedding preliminaries into a compost bin. This marks the end of the first step. You Can change the quantity of your manure and compost mix according to the size of the bin.
- Check the manure ratio and take steps to balance it
- The next important step is to check the ratio of your chicken manure. Usually, the ideal carbon to nitrogen ratio of chicken manure is believed to be 30:1. In most cases, this is not present naturally, and one might have to take measures to balance the ratio. Now that we are using a blend of compost and manure, it is important to take the nutrient consistency to that of 2:1 waste to bedding.
- To make sure that you get the desired ratio, always make sure that the bedding ingredients are wet and the blend is left in the compost bin for upto three days exposed to appropriate sunlight. A temperature above 160 degrees would kill the good bacteria present in compost, so it is important not to let that happen.
Engage in the process of curing your chicken manure
The last step can also be seen as an extension to the preceding step. The process of curing is used to balance the manure ratio by leaving the cure for a good 50-60 days and letting it turn completely brown. After this, your compost will be ready to use.
Also Read: Tomato Branches Curling Down
How can chicken manure benefit the growth of your tomato plants?
Once you have composted your chicken manure and applied it to the relevant parts of your tomato plants, it is now time to understand how this will benefit the growth of your plant. Here are a few benefits that composted chicken manure offers to your thriving tomato plants:
Composted chicken manure acts like a soil improvement ingredient by ways of slowly releasing macro and micro nutrients into the soil.
When the chicken manure is composted, it no longer remains the highest in nitrogen concentration, thus providing your tomato plants with a balanced ratio of all the macronutrients including potassium and phosphorus.
Composting chicken manure increases its proportion of organic matter, thus offering natural water absorbing and holding abilities of the plant. By doing this, you reduce the risks of dehydration, drainage, and soil erosion.
If your tomato plant is suffering from problems like broken and dry leaves, then adding chicken manure can treat your plant completely. It acts to increase the airflow of the soil, thus reducing soil leaching and improving the overall soil composition.
By composting chicken manure, we increase the amount of organic food that is a source of energy for soil microbes. Soil microbes act to increase the soil variety naturally by speeding up the breakdown of organic nutrients, thus also easing the process of nutrient absorption. Soil microbes are also responsible for making food readily available for tomato plants, making composted chicken manure an excellent source of nutrition, food, and energy.
Also Read: How to Turn Green Tomatoes Red in the Fall?
How much chicken manure is enough to be used on your tomato plants?
Now that it is widely understood that tomato plants require chicken manure to have a healthy breed, we cannot overload our plants with it, hoping that it would yield some results. It is neither healthy nor recommended.
To know the perfect amount of chicken manure that your tomato plant needs, one needs to assess the health and prevalent condition of the plant.
Since your plant requires a balanced nitrogen phosphorus and potassium ratio, one should take special care to apply the fertilizer only sparingly. That is, not too much should be used in one go. A good average is to apply the manure 2-3 times in a week.
If you have trouble in finding out the exact quantity required by your tomato plants, you can make statistically relevant measures by drawing a plot of roughly 100 square feet and using approximately 45 pounds of manure and not more than that. Not only is the amount safe, but it is also economically readily available and affordable.
Are there any health risks of using chicken manure on tomato plants?
Everything comes with a cost, and if you have to reap the benefits that chicken manure provides, you have to take some extra precautions to make sure that you are not hampering its growth.
When chicken poop is extracted, they contain certain bacteria that can be the source of potential disease to the tomato plants. In some cases, even fatal to one’s health. There are certain parasites that can transfer from the chicken manure to the plants in the form of the Cryptosporidium Infection, thus infecting the roots of your tomato plants directly.
One can follow certain safety tips like waiting for how the plant responds before reapplying the chicken manure, using gardening gloves before, during, and after the application of the manure, and washing tomatoes before consuming or cooking them.
Some tips to fertilize tomato plants
If you cannot afford the easy availability of chicken manure at all hours of the day, you can follow other fertilization tips to excel in the process. Here are some of the most useful and easy tips to fertilize tomato plants:
Contrary to popular belief, one should fertilize the tomato plants even before they are planted into the soil. It helps accelerate the rate of growth of the tomato plants.
Cow manure is an excellent source of nutrition for plants and can also be used as an alternative to chicken poop manure.
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Chicken manure is often considered as the most underrated manure option to add to your garden plants. The nutrients and nourishment that it provides surpasses every other need. As mentioned above, there are a few considerations that need to be followed while fertilizing your plants with chicken manure, and you can see them thriving in just a few days.
In addition, you can also follow other tips to keep your tomato plants as young as ever.