What is GUANO?

No sensible gardener should be blind to the benefits which result from the use of good guano. Of natural fertilisers, it is, when of good sample, as near a perfect fertiliser as one can have, but unfortunately it is often very much adulterated. The three best kinds are Fish Guano, Native Guano, and Peruvian Guano. Fish Guano, as its name implies, is made on the coast from waste fish. It is a powerful phosphatic fertiliser useful as a liquid manure for cucumbers, herbaceous plants (especially Sweet Peas), tomatoes, and vegetables (especially peas and beans). Two ounces of this fertiliser can safely be hoed into each square yard of ground, or the same quantity stirred up with a gallon of water applied to that area. In coast places it should be very cheap at the works and should be very largely used ; inland if Peruvian Guano can be had at the same rate Fish Guano should be left alone. Native Guanos are not very soluble manures. They are largely made at sewage works, and in their pure state should be a fine, dry, almost odourless powder. More care should be taken than is at present at the works to see that they contain the highest possible proportion of soluble matter. Native Guanos are rich in soluble organic matter, and sometimes are very rich in limeit rather depends on the process of manufacture. The plant-food is not immediately available, so they can safely be used in the late winter or early spring as manure for vegetable crops. As the organic matter they contain is chiefly nitrogen, the guanos should not be used overmuch for crops which are not grown for their leaves. They can be used at the rate of i lb. per each square yard. Peruvian Guano is certainly when pure by far the best of all the guanos. It is a perfect fertiUser or as near such as we can get, for it supplies soluble nitrogen, phosphates, and a little potash. It is probably used more as a phosphatic fertiliser than as a general one, but it should always be regarded as a general fertiliser. We cannot call to mind at the present time any single plant which does not improve enormously if a little guano is applied to it. This guano, as its name implies, comes from Peru. It is, strictly speaking, the excreta of numerous sea-birds. To test its purity, heat a weighed quantity on a shovel, as advised in the article on Ammonia, and if nearly half of it vanishes the sample is rich in organic matter. Shoot the remainder into water. Stir, filter, dry, and weigh. If half this has dissolved the sample is good. If practically none has dissolved shoot the dry material into 2 per cent, citric acid solution, stir, filter, dry, and weigh. If the weight is the same as before. or very nearly so, reject the sample as impure. Peruvian Guano, though rather expensive, is when pure well worth its cost. As it is very frequently adulterated with crushed bones, normal or in some cases mineral phosphate of lime, the above test should in every case be applied. It can be used in a similar manner and in similar quantities to Fish Guano. On the market at the present time there is a compound known as Dissolved Guano. This contains very little organic matter and hardly any potash ; it is mostly mono – calcium orthophosphate. As it is very expensive the gardener should avoid it. All guanos should be kept in a dry place. The organic matter they contain reacts with moisture to form soluble or gaseous nitrogen compounds, and these compounds are quickly lost by exposure. Barrels with well-fitted lids or well-covered earthenware jars are the best receptacles for storing guanos in.E. T. E.

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Definition of  GUANO