Tag Archives: bunny berries

Our Garden with Bunny Berries – 2018

After a few years of gardening with bunny berries, we are now convinced that these little cast off nuggets make our plants crazy, ridiculously happy!

For background, we live in the mountains of Arizona, in zone 6a. Our last frost date is June 14, and we usually drop to freezing/have snow by mid-October. This makes gardening relatively challenging. Many of our plants don’t grow quite as well or large as those in our slightly southern areas. BUT, gardening with bunny berries gives us an advantage!

This year we planted a bed of squash/zucchini, tomatoes, and comfrey, a bed of salad leaves, basil, broccoli, and lemon balm, a bed of sweet peppers and okra, a bed of cucumbers, a bed of watermelon, and a bed of asparagus. Additionally we had a container garden of several varieties of potatoes, mint, bunching onions, strawberries, artichoke, rosemary, and chives.

We also added three raised beds that were filled 8″ with cinder dirt and 8″ with pure rabbit manure. When we got finished we just planted straight into the bunny berry dirt and let them grow! (We did add a decorative top soil of wood chips.

We decided to be bold and prepared the garden in May. We knew we were traveling the first two weeks of June and wouldn’t be home to plant so we took our chances with the weather and fortunately, this year the gamble paid off!

Over the summer we have been able to see our garden sprout and then flourish. It has been incredibly satisfying to grow our own vegetables and also reuse a resource in the form of bunny manure. We used both aged manure and fresh manure throughout the garden and saw no difference between those two forms of fertilizer.

One thing that was new for us this year is that we now have chickens! We have been fairly anti-chicken for quite awhile because they aren’t silent like rabbits! However, our daughter begged and begged and I made the mistake of going to the feed store during chick days. We came home with a lot of chicks. NONE OF THEM DIED AND NONE OF THEM WERE ROOSTERS. What are the odds?!

Because we had these crazy little birds we also used them to till our garden beds. It worked out fabulously and we plan to set them loose in the garden area throughout this spring to work the soil for us. It’s all about symbiotic relationships and capitalizing on what is natural to benefit all parties, right?!

Now that you’ve seen the bare ground of our gardening attempts, let me share some photos of our garden and harvest as it progressed over the summer. We were thrilled!

Cucumbers were our best crop this year by far. Last year it was the tomatoes, but this year we had fresh cucumbers and pickles until the world looked level. Our squash and zucchini also produced the biggest leaves I’ve ever seen outside of the pacific northwest!

I can’t say exactly how much money we saved using bunny berries instead of soil from the garden center but when you consider the size of our raised beds that needed to be filled I’d hazard it was several hundred dollars of savings just by recycling our bunny berries. Additionally, our daughter sold bags of rabbit manure ($5 for a bag of berries, we reused 50 lbs, rabbit food bags for packaging) and was able to pay for her market goat project independently using that income. Our local gardeners were thrilled and so was our daughter!

It’s been a fun adventure to try to figure out the ways we can create multipurpose benefits from having these rabbits. They continue to be a fun adventure for our whole family!

Gardening with Bunny Berries

As I type it’s snowing outside, which may be the reason I’m thinking about gardening! We are in planting zone 6a in our little mountain town, so where some people are starting to put plants in the ground, we are still looking at sprouts – our last expected freeze is June 14!

 

Last year was the first year that we seriously attempted the garden and we counted on the bunny berries to make it happen! In previous years we have done planter gardening, or had success with small pieces of the puzzle, but last year we had actual raised beds and straw bales and all sorts of goodies. We are fortunate to have family members who are excellent gardeners, and their encouragement inspired us to boldness to try our own!

 

The natural soil in our area has a lot of cinder dust. We created our beds, filled them with rabbit manure, and topped it off with pine chips we had from a tree being taken down a few years ago. We used a drip line to run through the beds. We planted several varieties of tomatoes, peppers, watermelons, lemon balm, peppermint, salad greens, basil, strawberries, cucumbers, rosemary, asparagus, and bunching onions. We also planted marigolds, day lilies, and zinnia for splashes of color and the bug deterring properties!

In our back yard we planted five honeysuckle, two blueberries, and three raspberries. And then we got a monster of a puppy who ate every single one of the bushes as well as our entire drip system, wallowing in the damp beds with evident satisfaction. Our plan this year is to control the beast. But for last year the garden was a complete wash.

 

According to our gardening folks who know, our first year garden was a smashing success! Much, much of this can be attributed to the rabbit manure, and very little can be credited to the growers. However, our tomatoes were happy, happy, happy, they grew tall and produced fruit for weeks! We had salad all the way into February, although our cucumbers, peppers, and strawberries were not happy and didn’t produce anything. We will move them next year and try again.

 

We still don’t understand the science behind all of it, but we can affirmatively state that the bunny berries are the way to go for success. Apparently our soil is extremely happy, smells right, and is dying for the opportunity to produce more soon! We got the book, Crockett’s Victory Garden as a Christmas present and are devouring it to learn how to have even more success this summer.

This year we’re going to try again, and maybe even add another bed or two since we have the space. We’ve been emptying our rabbit droppings straight into the garden beds in preparation and I’m plotting to add bee-friendly varieties of plants.

How have your gardens been doing with the addition of bunny berries?

Make your Own Bunny Berry Tea (and replace Miracle Gro forever)

Bunny Berry tea can replace your use of Miracle Gro forever!

Bunny Berry tea can replace your use of Miracle Gro forever!

If you garden and raise rabbits (or are near someone who does raise rabbits!), you can forget about having to buy Miracle Gro or fertilizer ever again. Make your own Bunny Berry Tea to fertilize your gardens!

 

Brewing a batch of Bunny Berry tea can add nutrients to your garden soil. A form of compost tea, manure tea contains beneficial microorganisms, bacteria, nematodes, enzymes and organic matter that you want to add to the soil. Unlike compost tea however, the goal in brewing manure tea is not to increase the good bacteria or multiply microorganisms, but merely to pull the nutrients out of the manure and dissolve them into a liquid ‘tea’.
Tomatoes, asparagus, cabbage and watermelons specifically benefit from some extra nitrogen in the soil. Rabbit manure fertilizes your garden by adding nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, too. Fresh rabbit manure has about 2% nitrogen, 1% phosphorus and 1% potassium, according to the National Gardening Association. Composted rabbit manure contains about 2.4% nitrogen, 1.4% phosphorus and 0.6% potassium, according to the University of Kentucky. Bunny Berry tea will also give your garden these boosts of nutrients.
So how do you make your own Bunny Berry tea and tell Miracle Gro to take their product and shove it?!
  1. Make a ‘tea bag’ for the manure using an old pillow case. Fill the pillow case with rabbit poop and put it into a 5-gallon bucket. Cover with water. (About 1/3 bunny berries and 2/3 water.)
  2. Let the pail sit in a sunny location uncovered for a week or so. Introducing oxygen to the solution by dunking it a few times a day so pathogens and bad bacteria won’t grow. Your resulting ‘tea’ should resemble iced tea in color when it’s done.
  3. Apply to your plants.
How easy is that?!
Note: Manure tea is most useful when given to young seedlings and plants for a boost of nitrogen to help them grow. Apply the manure tea once a week using a watering can or hose sprayer attachment around the base and root area of the plants until they start to flower. Because of the potential for pathogens, don’t apply to root crops (such as potatoes, beets, carrots, etc.) and don’t apply to leaves you will be consuming (such as lettuce, kale, spinach or other greens). Wash your hands after each use and keep leftover tea stored outside loosely covered.
Thank you to Fresh Eggs Daily for inspiration for this post!

Using Rabbit Manure (Bunny Berries) in Your Garden

Rabbit poop makes gardens happy!

Rabbit poop makes gardens happy!

Who knew there was so much versatility in rabbit poop?!

Gardeners worldwide adore rabbit manure as one of God’s gifts to mankind. The manure of rabbits is an easy-to-use fertilizer which constitutes 2.4% nitrogen, 1.4% phosphoric acid, and 0.6% potash. Unlike in the case of other manures, it is not necessary to age rabbit manure prior to application; you can apply it around plants while it is still fresh as it is not harmful in its natural state.

Last year we offered bags of bunny berries to our brother-in-law, who is an avid organic gardener with decades of experience. We had heard all about how rabbit manure was a great additive to the garden, but we don’t have the personal experience to back up the claims… so we asked him to be our guinea pig!

He LOVED it! He placed bunny berries on about half of his garden as a test and discovered that the plants with bunny berry support were healthier, more productive, and grew better. He’s signed up for more bags for his whole garden this year and has been bragging about it at the Farmer’s Market all winter!

One benefit gardeners see to bunny berries is that rabbit manure is less likely to have weed seeds than cow or horse manure. Cows and horses eat fresh grass, plants and hay, which contain weed seeds. The seeds get into the manure and then grow in your garden. Rabbits typically have a controlled diet of vegetables and prepared rabbit food, making it less likely rabbit manure will add weed seeds to your garden.

Here are some recommendations for using bunny berries in your garden:

  • Top-dress your existing garden with rabbit manure or work it into the soil before planting. Simply broadcast 2.5 to 10 pounds of fresh or composted manure for every 10 square feet. The exact amount of rabbit manure to apply depends on soil quality and the nutrient requirements of the plants you plan to grow.
  • Work the manure into the soil with a shovel and hoe or a rototiller. If you leave the fresh manure on top of the soil, cover it with 2 to 4 inches of organic mulch, such as hay, dry leaves or grass clippings, which will balance out the C:N ratio by mixing it with materials with high carbon content, such as wood chips, and straw as well as prevent the nutrients from running off when it rains.

Let us know how your garden does this year after your adventures in rabbit poop gardening!

Rabbit Pots and Bunny Berries

The display of our bunny berries at the craft fair.

The display of our bunny berries at the craft fair.

We have been stretching all of our boundaries lately.

 

Earlier this year we invested in a cubit press from the Urban Rabbit Project to make Rabbit Pots.  (For the unfamiliar, Rabbit Pots are cubes of compressed bunny berries (rabbit poop). These are excellent starters for seed sprouts, or can be crumbled over houseplants as a fertilizers. The cubit press can also be used to create fire starters and compressed fodder cubes.)

 

We have friends who are going through the adoption process and asked us if we could participate in their fundraising efforts by offering something to sell in a local craft fair. We were absolutely in favor of supporting them but yours truly doesn’t rank high on the “crafty” scale.

 

But we do have poop.

 

So, our family put our heads together and put together an assembly line packing moistened, aged bunny berries in Dixie cups and squeezing it into cubes. (Best case scenario will allow the poop to air dry thoroughly before packaging, although a dehydrator is also a good option.) Then we primped and packed our offerings to try to “gussy them up.”

 

The results:

Rabbit Pots

The Rabbit Pots we made are about three inches square. They’re a little delicate.

Bunny Berries

Dixie cups with compacted Berries make this a good option as a seed starter.

 

 

To be frank, the feedback we received is that the Bunny Berries were the talk of the craft show and people thought it was very clever but the sales were slow, as most of the craft show clientele (it was hosted in a retirement community) were more in the market for crocheted pot holders and scarves than manure… go figure!

 

The general take away is this is a good idea, but better marketed in Farmer’s Markets or at local plant nurseries. Either way, we’re glad to add this to our arsenal of ways to make rabbit relevant to every day life!

Gardening and Composting with Bunny Berries

Bunny Berries are excellent for reuse in gardens.

Bunny Berries are excellent for repurposing in gardens.

There’s  no poop that works as well for the garden as rabbit poop. It has all the uber-benefits of horse and steer manure but with a distinct advantage: because it’s considered a “cold” manure, you don’t have to let rabbit poop age or compost before you use it. Other manures that come from chickens, sheep, horse, cows, and pigs or “hot” manures, need to be composted for months before you can safely use them or you’ll burn your plants to death. Not so with rabbit poop.

Rabbit manure is packed with nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and many minerals, lots of micro-nutrients, plus many other beneficial trace elements such as calcium, magnesium, boron, zinc, manganese, sulfur, copper, and cobalt just to name a few.

N – P – K VALUES 

Rabbit 2.4 -1.4 -.60

Chicken 1.1-.80-.50

Sheep .70-.30-.60

Horse .70-.30-.60

Steer .70-.30-.40

Dairy Cow .25-.15-.25

As you can see the nutrient values of farm manures and how they measure up and rabbit manure really shines! Rabbit manure also doesn’t smell as strong as other manures making it easy to use.

Grab a handful and spread it all over the garden or fold it into the soil. It’s like time release capsules, as the pellets don’t completely break down right away. It’s slow-release thing.

As they break down, they build your soil’s structure, improve the porosity, add stability, and hold nutrients for plants as well as other organisms in the soil.

Another great way to take advantage of rabbit pellets and all their growing goodness is to make “bunny brew” or rabbit compost tea. Find a five gallon bucket, and a large scoop of rabbit pellets and drop them into the bucket. Give it a good stir every now and again for a day or two.

Let the manure settle and use the tea at the top of the bucket to water your plants. You can dump the remaining manure at the bottom of the bucket onto your compost pile (no waste here). Of course, the proper English way would be to use a big piece of muslin or burlap and make a big tea bag and let it dangle into the bucket!

If I gave you an earful on the virtues of rabbit poop in the garden, then you have to know that this goes double for the compost pile. With even a small pail of rabbit poop every once in a while, you’ll be in nitrogen heaven as far as composting goes. Bunny gold is nitrogen on steroids; it really gets a pile going.

Thanks to The Vegetable Gardener and Rise and Shine Rabbitry for this insight!

What About the Poop?!

Bunny Berries are excellent for reuse in gardens.

USES FOR RABBIT MANURE

Rabbit manure, or “bunny berries,” used as a plant fertilizer is superior to other manures due to its unique composition. Often referred to as “super fertilizer” or “Bunny Gold,” gardeners revel in the fast and abundant growth of their crops, plants, gardens and produce. Rabbit manure will not “burn” the plants when applied directly to the plants.

Composting with rabbit manure is also popular and rabbit manure ranks among the finest of all manures to use for this purpose.

Worm farming (Vermiculture) has additional benefits as the worms thrive in properly maintained worm beds and rabbit manure is the favorite manure to use for raising worms. The raising of worms under cages can be used to eliminate odor in the barns. Open, ventilated barns are ideal for this venture.

Worm farming also provides additional income by selling the worms for bait or composting, and the worm “castings” as potting soil.

 

Written by Pat Lamar, President of the Professional Rabbit Meat Association (PRMA) and the Chairperson of the Commercial Department Committee for the American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA), 1998