Mother’s Day manure

Carol discovers the magic of llama “beans” for her garden.

Credit: Carol Pope

Carol gets some magic “beans” for Mother’s Day

I meant to tell you earlier about my Mother’s Day manure, but I’ve been too busy spreading it around to write about it. In April, our good neighbours and fellow gardeners John and Frankie were kind enough to give us the ultimate tip: they had found a local source of llama manure, basically gold for gardens.

I followed up on this and talked to our local llama farmers. They promised to deliver 10 garbage-can loads of llama “beans” in May. As they have 10 llamas we couldn’t help but wonder if the each of the llamas would be put to the task of filling one can each, hence the three-week wait…

Llama manure
Llama manure

Ten garbage-can loads sounded like a lot of manure and I would need to dig it into the beds fast in order to get my seeds planted: May was getting late for that, so I sweetly asked my three teenagers if they would be agreeable to helping me scoop the poop into raised beds as my mother’s-day gift. There was a little groaning, but overall a good-natured response of “whatever it takes to make you happy, mom, although we think you’re a bit nuts.”

Serendipitously our delivery came the very afternoon of my special day, so we gathered garden-side to dump the heavy contents of 10 cans onto a tarp, and then shovel buckets full, dragging them to each of our gardens. We dug it into the gardens where we hadn’t seeded and laid it out as mulch on planted beds and around container plants. The little beans looked almost pretty, like brown pebbles, at first glance, although my kids weren’t quite as enchanted with them as I was.

Llama manure
Llama beans can be added to the garden
or compost or used to create a garden tea.

According to David Tarrant, many gardeners consider llama beans to be the finest manure for the garden: “Its fine texture and natural pelleted form aid in a slow release, reducing the chance of burning to garden plants. It has loads of trace elements and minerals, as well as plenty of nitrogen and potassium. The llama beans can be added to the garden or compost or used to create a garden tea.” For more manure insight, check out this site.

Next year, I’ll order my manure in the fall, so that it won’t delay my spring planting – and will spend the winter contentedly thinking of the llama beans breaking down in my garden and revving up the soil for a springtime sprint.