High Desert Organic Gardeners
HiDOG of Silver City & Grant County New Mexico
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Llama manure is lower in organic matter content than manures of most other barnyard livestock (like cows, horses and sheep)--but it still has plenty to improve soil texture and water-holding capacity. This lower organic content allows llama manure to be spread directly onto plants without fear of 'burning' them. It is the decomposition of organic matter which produces the heat that can damage plant roots.
Compared to the other barnyard animals, the nitrogen and potassium content of llama droppings is comparatively high--an indication of good fertilizer value. (Nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium are the major plant nutrients; they are the familiar N-P-K on fertilizer bags.) Phosphorus is relatively low--but it is low in most other livestock manure as well Calcium and magnesium content is about average. And salt content is not too high but it is high enough that one should not apply llama poop directly onto seedlings or improperly mixed into the soil. Overall, llama manure is a great organic fertilizer. Of course, organic fertilizers are usually lower in nutrient content that synthetic fertilizers-so more needs to be applied to get the same amount of nutrients. For example, llama manure would be about 1.5-0.2-1.1 versus the 20-10-5 of synthetic fertilizer. Apply about 13 times as much llama manure to get the same amount of nitrogen.
How to use and store llama beans.
Llama beans can be used directly in your garden without danger of burning plants. If the beans aren't kept moist they will harden and form a white crust taking longer to break down. My favorite way to store them is to moisten them (damp not dripping, like you do compost) and keep them well covered. During the first couple of days check and remoisten if needed (it will depend on how dry they are when you start this process). In something over a month the beans will break down and look like moist rich peat moss, ready to amend your garden. This allows you to have yours ready to go instead of having to wait during spring or fall planting preparation.when increased demand causes supply to be lower.
How to obtain llama beans.
Silver City is home to SouthWest Llama Rescue (SWLR) run by F.E. Baxter. This is staffed by a limited number of volunteers thus to obtain llama beans you will need to scoop it yourself. You will need to provide your own transportation to SWLR and containers or a pickup. Dianna Wynn is a volunteer at SWLR and will coordinate getting the beans. She is usually at SWLR on Wednesday's from 10 to noon. To make arrangements to get llama beans call her at 534-4389 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.