It’s planting time, and you are wondering “Is dog poop good fertilizer for vegetable or flower garden?” Well, if you need a straight answer, then you have come to the right place.
So, here is a critical point;
There are specific reasons many gardeners don’t use dog poop to fertilize their plants, particularly food crops. And that might equally be the same reason you don’t use them on yours.
Unlike cow dung, dog poop contains a high amount of protein and nitrogen. So it can cause a plant to dry up by burning its root. Potassium content is also deficient in dog poop. Hence, it can encourage leafy herbaceous growth at the expense of fruit and flower growth.
Again, dog poop poses serious health risk to humans because of Toxocara canis.
In this post, I will throw more light on the reasons dog poop might be bad for your flower garden, and probably ideal for your vegetable under a specific condition. Read on!
Reasons Dog Poop Might Not Be A Good Fertilizer Option
After tilling the ground and sowing your seed or stem, fertilizer application is the next critical thing you need to take seriously. Weeding is still very much relevant. And it goes hand-in-hand with fertilization.
Fertilizing a garden laden with weeds is a waste of time. You will only encourage the weed to grow taller and deprive your innocent plants of the necessary nutrient and sunlight for photosynthesis to take place.
But let’s forget about that and discuss dog poop. It’s critical you know about this so you won’t make any mistake.
So, without much ado, I will highlight the reasons dog poop might not be an ideal fertilizer, particularly when you are planning to apply it directly to your plants.
I mentioned some of these reasons at the beginning, but it won’t hurt to express my views. Anyway, as a gardener, I am sure you understand prevention is better than cure.
1. Nitrogen levels
Wondering why many plants can grow and survive on cow manure but not in dog poop? Well, one primary reason is because of the nitrogen content that dog poop has.
Dog poop is also very different from that of herbivores like cows. Anyway, they are carnivores and have different feeding habit to herbivores.
Dog poop has a high protein/nitrogen content that is frightening and can cause severe damage when applied directly to the plants directly.
Now, what is the danger of excess nitrogen?
The University of Illinois Extension Master Gardeners Manual contains vital information regarding the effect of excess nitrogen to plants.
It states that too much nitrogen can make it difficult or impossible for plants to produce seeds and flowers as expected.
Again, it also states that excess nitrogen can damage the leaves and roots of plants. And you know, once these parts are severely damaged, it will almost be impossible for your dear plant to survive.
2. The health risk to humans
Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying keeping a dog in your house is bad, neither was I saying that whenever your dog poops at home that you are in danger.
Of course, you have a way of managing your dog poop at home. But if you don’t, please try to figure out the best way to handle it.
Now here is why dog poop is risky to humans;
I have seen people argue that dog manure is useful to plants because it contains organic nutrients which they need. But if you value your health, don’t use it on crops, particularly food crops.
The thing is dog manure usually contains the parasitic pathogen, which can be very harmful to human health. And that’s not all. There are more you need to know.
Again, bear in mind that dog manure is not what it seems. It’s gross, but that there is more about it that should bother anyone.
The manure carries the eggs of Toxocara canis. And just so you know, that is the name of a large roundworm that is very popular.
However, the strange thing is that this roundworm does affect humans too. And studies also made me understand that about 90 percent of young puppies are carrying this worm, while at least 50 percent of adult dogs fall into this category as well.
But here is the surprising thing;
Most puppies are born with Toxocara canis – the large roundworm. And so, their poop is equally harmful to humans.
Here is how people get infected, and it happens quite a lot;
The eggs of the roundworm, not the worm itself, can find their way to a human host through various means.
It can be transferred to humans when food that has come in contact with the feces of a dog is touched. It can also find its way to an individual’s mouth through the fingers. Don’t be surprised. That’s how it happens.
So, you can see why gardeners are always discouraged from using dog feces in growing their crops, particular a food crop.
Here is another shocking thing about you need to know about Toxocara eggs.
When the eggs find its way into the soil, they still survive. Another surprising thing is that the eggs can remain in the soil for more than ten years, although this depends mainly on the environmental conditions of the soil.
The eggs of this roundworm can also remain viable for a very long time in the soil. So, when humans mistakenly pick it up, either through food or other means, then the worst may likely happen after a certain period.
What effects can hot composting have on the eggs of roundworms?
Well, the thing is the result hot compositing can have on the eggs of Toxocara still needs to be studied further. Currently, little is known about this issue.
And because of this, adding dog feces to your compost heaps, mainly when it’s intended to grow food crops is not a good idea.
What if my garden has dog feces problem? How should you handle such cases?
The thing is I have seen people complain about this before. If you are residing in a neighborhood where dogs are almost twice as much as the human population, then you are bound to face such problems.
So, if dogs frequently litter your garden with feces, then what you need to do is to get rid of the wastes. Don’t let them decay there. Then, after that, use excellent hygiene practices so that you won’t end up being infected.
For that, wash your hands thoroughly. Also, do the same thing to your vegetables before consuming them. These are the best you can do to avoid contamination.
Tips To Help You To Create Dog Poop Compost
Well, with all the scary things said about dog poop, is it still encouraging to make compost out of it?
Here is what you need to know.
Dog poop compost or manure is not good for food crop. In other words, do not use it to grow food crops like vegetables. Please don’t.
So, where should you use dog poop compost?
But you can use it for non-food crops or non-food gardens. These include flower gardens, shrubs, and non-fruit trees.
Here is how to make dog poop with ease. Follow the steps carefully.
Step#1 – Get your supplies ready
Get a plastic garbage can, one that has a removable lid. Well, the size of the garbage can depends on the amount of poop you want. So there is no standard size to get for this.
But have in mind that if you are thinking of harvesting the dog poop when the time comes, then a garbage can that you will be able to reach the bottom area is an ideal option.
Step#2 –Cut and drill your can
Well, for this, you already know the right tools to use (manual or electric drill, keyhole saw).
Cut open the bottom part of the can and drill holes on the sides. The holes will help water to go out of the garbage can and ensure proper drainage.
Step#3 – Bury the can
Now you have to dig a hole that is large enough for the garbage can. After digging the hole, put some blocks into the hole and put the garbage can as well. Only the top of the can should be visible.
Then, the next step is to place a large stone on top of the lid to keep others from opening it.
Step#4 – Introduce dog poop and septic starter
Now you have to add your dog poop to the buried garbage can. Then after that, add the septic tank starter as well. Give the septic starter at least 48 hours to start working.
Next, you can keep on adding dog poop daily till you are satisfied. But add the septic starter to each layer of poop you add to the garbage can.
So that’s it. That’s how to make dog poop compost.
So back to the question, is dog poop good fertilizer for vegetable or flower garden?
Well, as I said earlier, you should only use dog poop for non-food gardens or non-food crops. These include shrubs, non-fruit trees, and your flower garden.
And, when dealing with dog poop, you have to be extremely careful. Maintain proper hygiene by washing your hands to avoid being infected.