Question: Ringling Brothers gives away elephant manure when the circus comes to Atlanta. Is pachyderm poop good for my garden? What is the best manure for gardening?
Answer: Assuming that the circus elephants are American born (there are no federal restrictions on their waste, although manure from imported animals must be burned or buried), elephant manure can be as useful as any other. However, we do not know the nutrient content. Horse manure is generally regarded as the best; it’s rich in nitrogen, and it ferments easily. Cow or horse manure applied in the early spring is best for flower gardens; chicken, cow, or horse manure applied in the spring and fall is best for vegetable gardens; cow or horse manure applied in the fall is best for potatoes or root crops. For acid-loving plants, cow or horse manure should be applied in the early fall or not at all. Never use fresh manure. Another excellent manure is sheep manure. Sheep chew their cud so finely that there are no weed seeds being inadvertently applied to your garden bed. Make sure all manure is aged or composted.