Any serious gardener knows that when it comes to guano, Sunleaves #2 is #1. For nearly 30 years, Sunleaves guanos have been the most popular and preferred guano brand in the world. So why is it so hard to find these days? The Goldleaf Hydro team used to work for Worm’s Way, Inc., which was the parent company of Sunleaves Guano, Sunleaves Garden Products, and Bloomington Wholesale Garden Supply (BWGS). We have seen these products from their inception to the containers of fresh guano arriving at the warehouse to the recent termination of the product line, and here’s the scoop.
Sunleaves International House of Guano
You may remember Sunleaves guanos for their diverse line of bat shits from around the world. They were an innovator in importing guano different guanos from Mexico, Jamaica, Peru, Indonesia, Madagascar, and Sumatra. The Sunleaves International House of Guano was a perennial favorite. Sunleaves Jamaican Guano, Peruvian Seabird Guano, Liquid Mexican Bat Guano and Sunleaves All Purpose Guano were staples in many of the gardens that helped change our industry.
The diversity of Sunleaves Guano allowed gardeners to tailor their feeding to the exact stage of growth of their plants by using the appropriate high-nitrogen or high-phosphorus guano, for example. Bats and birds from different parts of the world have different diets and thus distinct qualities in their guanos. Bats from Mexico feed mostly on flies and insects, and they produce a nitrogen-rich guano. This makes Mexican bat guano a good fertilizer for vegetative stages of plant growth. Jamaican bats feed primarily on fruit, and their guano results as a high phosphorus material. Sunleaves Jamaican Bat guano has been one of the most effective fertilizers for flowering and fruiting plants in the organic movement.
Peruvian Seabird Guano
Sunleaves Peruvian Seabird Guano is a popular all purpose guano which can be used as a standalone fertilizer for any stage of plant growth. Peruvian seabird guano is becoming a more popular choice among guano fans as it is more sustainably produced and harvested than bat guano. In other words, it is not quite as disturbing to the ecosystem and habitat to harvest bird poop off the cliffs and rocks along the coast of Peru than to enter fragile cave systems and potentially cause long term damage.
Environmentally Friendly Guano
Many guano manufacturers advertise that their guano is fossilized. It is worth knowing that all bat guano must technically be “fossilized” in order for the bacteria to convert the organic matter into a form that is safe to use and plant-available as a nutrient or fertilizer. Many guano companies have organic certification or pay third party companies to audit and inspect the practice of their local harvesting methods; however, it is difficult to be sure what standards are being enforced locally even with such systems in place. This makes Peruvian seabird guano a fine ecological choice. Just beware of the high urea nitrogen content and apply with caution to avoid burning your plants.
Guano For Organic Gardening
All guanos have different beneficial bacteria and microorganisms that enrich organic soils and fertilizing regimens. Guanos can be used in a soil mix (usually at a couple tablespoons per gallon of soil) or top dressed and scratched into the soil surface periodically throughout the growing season. Back at Worm’s Way and here at Goldleaf Hydroponics, our personal favorite is to brew a guano tea. Brewing a tea with molasses for 24-48 hours will increase the bacterial count from 1 billion spores per teaspoon to 4 billion and dramatically improve the health and yield of your garden.
Where to Buy Sunleaves Guano
In fall 2016, the exclusive wholesaler of Sunleaves Guano BWGS (Bloomington Wholesale Garden Supply) was bought by Sun Capital, an investment firm from Florida with a penchant for bankrupting companies, defaulting on their suppliers, and collecting on their liquidations. Shortly after, the likes of Monsanto (doing business as Hawthorne Gardening, actually a subsidiary of Scotts Miracle-Gro and ultimately owned by Bayer pharmaceuticals) bought Sunlight Supply and cut off BWGS and Hydrofarm from some of their most popular house brand products. This, coupled with other actions that made waves throughout the industry and a general slump in relation to the expanding legal sector of the market, ultimately led to a situation where BWGS and Sunleaves Guano, under their new corporate leadership, abruptly closed their doors on their wholesale customers on January 21, 2019. Employees were told not to show up to work and then to use their paid time off. Days later, we were informed that all remaining BWGS inventory from across the country had been sold to a single buyer.
Goldleaf Hydroponics was born from Worm’s Way, BWGS, and Sunleaves Guano. It saddens us to see these cherished products disappear. Originally, three of us from Goldleaf came over from Sunleaves. We know there are many seasoned customers searching for these products, and Goldleaf is here to help you navigate the options and select the guano which will best serve your garden.
Check out our below suggestions as replacements for Sunleaves Guano products:
Call Goldleaf at 812-500-0423 or write firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions about guano. We can help customize feed charts, help with brewing guano tea, and answer any general questions you may have about any part of the growing process or organic gardening.
Happy gardening and may your compost be rich!