“What!” says Jack’s mother, “have you been such a fool, such a dolt, such an idiot, as to give away my Milky-white, the best milker in the parish, and prime beef to boot, for a set of paltry beans. Take that! Take that! Take that! And as for your precious beans here they go out of the window. And now off with you to bed. Not a sup shall you drink, and not a bit shall you swallow this very night.”
Poor Jack, the ill-fated child who was swindled into selling his cow for a handful of beans. His mother didn’t believe in the power of the magic beans, but she probably hadn’t heard about llama beans.
Llama “beans” are not some kind of new legume, you definitely wouldn’t want to eat them. Beans refer to llama poo. Like goats and rabbits, llamas produce a pelleted poo. I can always tell which pile of poo is left by my llamas however, because the pellets are larger and have an indent in the middle. They actually remind me more of junior mints. (I don’t know why people associate them with food).
What’s so great about llama beans?
Some people claim that llama beans are the best fertilizer/soil conditioner you can use. And they certainly have some great qualities.
Llama beans have the right stuff to make your plants healthy. They are rich in nitrogen (1.7%), phosphorus (0.69%) and potassium (0.66%). This makes them a great, organic fertilizer (as long as your llamas don’t feed on treated feed, which they shouldn’t).
Unlike cow or horse manure, you don’t have to wait for llama beans to compost before you use them. They will not “burn” your plants if you use them directly from the animals.
Another amazing llama poo quality that I was very happy to find in my barn: llama poop has very little to no smell. Even someone with a discerning nose like mine will find very little olfactory stimulation from them.
How do you use llama beans?
As I said above, you can take llama beans directly and scatter them around your plants, or mix them into your soil. Be aware though, llama beans can take a few years to completely break down, so you will be seeing them for a while.
If the site of pellets bothers you, or if you want an instant boost, your can make “bean tea.” Just add a few shovelful of beans to 5 gallons of water and let it sit for a few hours or overnight. You can then pour your brew directly around your plants. Bean tea can give an extra boost to seedlings and is great for plants that require a lot of extra nutrients. I’ve also heard that it can deter deer. Since it doesn’t smell, don’t be afraid to use it to water your house plants.
Tip: Don’t toss your beans after you make your brew. You can use them several times before they will dissolve completely.
Where does Jack get these magic beans?
If you live in an area where a lot of llamas are kept, you are llucky. Many llama (okay, alpaca, too) farmers are happy to give away llama manure for free. Look for little signs on the side of the road. You might have to shovel your own, though.
If you aren’t llucky enough to gaze at llamas as you drive down the road, you can buy llama pellets or pre-made tea online. Just be prepared for a little sticker shock.
Now that you know all the benefits of llama beans, it really makes you wonder what Jack traded his cow for, doesn’t it?
Blogging my way from A to Z as part of the 2016 April A to Z Challenge! My theme for this year: Llama mama. B is for Beans.
Photo courtesy of Lenora (Ellie) Enking.