How a Science Fair Sold Me Rabbit Poop

So there I was at the Pearland, Texas, farmers market. For the first time I made it there on a day where it wasn’t pouring rain. In fact, the weather was near perfect. It was another one of those bluebird days that we get in the Houston area. In April and October you get a bunch of gorgeous days that almost make up for the hot and humid misery of July and August. And if you’re lucky, they’ll line up with a day off from time to time.

While my mother-in-law stocked up on chicken breast, handcrafted brownies, and assorted Indian food, I checked out the handful of tables at the market to see if there was anything my wife and I absolutely needed. And one of the first tables to catch my eye was operated by a young man selling the newest breakthrough in making your garden thrive, paper bags full of rabbit manure.

A Miracle Grower

A quick internet search on the subject (like most others) could send you down a winding road of discussions of “hot” and “cold” compost, nitrogen and phosphorous levels, and the merits of different fertilizing methods. Our internet searching started a few years back, when my then-girlfriend and I lived in Washington, DC, and had a 25 foot by 25 foot community garden plot. And after getting the scoop on poop, we headed off to suburban Maryland to pick up a large bag of rabbit manure from a guy off of Craigslist (who was wearing a Grateful Dead t-shirt).

A raised bed garden. There are many like it, but this wasn’t ours. By Srl — Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Even as rank amateurs in the gardening world, we soon recognized the merits of this miracle product. Simply put, our garden spiraled out of control. Without much effort we soon found ourselves leaving bags of zucchini and green beans on neighbors doorsteps under cover of darkness. We left town and moved to Houston at the end of August and left our nano-farm to the guys working the next plot. I’m still sad that we didn’t get to try the special heirloom corn that we planted, but that’s life.

Show Me the Data

Fast forward a year and a half and we are looking to start up a small garden at our new home. I’ve been procrastinating on building a garden bed, though it remains on my list. So when I saw this young man standing there with bags of rabbit poop, a sign over the table, and what appeared to be a science fair project poster, I knew it was time to get started.

Let me tell you, it’s one thing when a man in a Grateful Dead t-shirt tells you something is miraculous. But when you have charts, graphs, and photographic evidence staring you in the face, well that’s another thing. I spoke with the proprietor of poop, who appeared to be maybe a high school student and he walked me through his experiment’s procedure, showed me the graphs of soil nutrients, and pointed out the difference in plant growth between his cow manure and rabbit manure test plots (the rabbit poop plants were a good 50 percent larger).

So I walked away from this hybrid of a sales pitch and poster presentation with five pounds of rabbit manure and a little less money in my wallet. I know that the stuff will work in my soon-to-be-built garden, but the data, the presentation, and the sheer impressiveness of a student turning his science project into a money-making side business, sold me then and there.

And now… off to build a garden bed.