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Old May 2, 2017   #16
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: Arkansas
Posts: 141

Got 2 big bucket fulls of giant river fish heads.. spent the afternoons hacking through the heads with a reciprocating saw, an ax, and a machete. Let's just say brain, blood, and guts were flying everywhere (including all over me).

Since I'm not using full heads, should I supplement with a dab of rabbit poo?
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Old May 3, 2017   #17
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Join Date: Apr 2016
Location: Dallas, TX
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Full heads, part heads? What's the difference?

Stupidity got us into this mess. Why can't it get us out?
- Will Rogers

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Old May 3, 2017   #18
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: Arkansas
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Originally Posted by dmforcier View Post
Full heads, part heads? What's the difference?
Well, just the amount of fish in the hole!
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Old May 3, 2017   #19
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Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Bastrop Texas Lost Pines Forest.
Posts: 35,407

One word of caution.
It was suggested you bury some and wait a few days to see what happens and then plant.
Do you really want to dig where a rotten fish head is?
I cant even put out Fish fertilizer or plant tone without critters digging up the place.

Home of Cactus Flats Botanical Gardens.
I kill my lobster with a 30-06.
But of course I live in Texas and the dam things are huge.
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Old May 4, 2017   #20
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Location: Southern WI
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Old May 4, 2017   #21
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Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Pewaukee, Wisconsin
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Originally Posted by jmsieglaff View Post

Very good. Thank you!
~ Patti ~
AKA - Hooper
Zone 5
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Old May 7, 2017   #22
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Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Newfoundland, Canada
Posts: 5,817

When I do fish heads or guts, I prefer to do it all the one day, whether planting or leaving for a season. Digging 'a few days later' is more likely to bring the smell to the top, and then there will be digging!
Basic precautions that help:
- Dig your trench first with a clean shovel - a foot deep
- Add the fish and use the clean shovel to cover with a couple inches of the clean (unmixed with guts!) soil
- Plant as usual and fill it up with the untainted soil using the clean tools.
- Tamp down well, water and then put some big rocks on top, around /between the plants
- Whatever implements touched the fish hose it off and your bucket too, somewhere furthest away from where the fish is actually buried. Pour it on and hose it into the ground, where you don't care if they dig. Not that you're trying to leave a smelly spot either which would encourage animals to explore - if it's hot dig a hole for your discarded fish wash water. Use soap if you like too.

If you are careful enough that there's nothing smelly near the surface, you will outwit the critters. Using rocks around plants and watering them in also hedges your bets against any smell escaping through loose soil, or any animal being tempted to explore the soft fresh dirt.

Rocks are good enough to keep away cats, it's easy to make them too heavy and uninviting bare soil. Coyotes and foxes are the most determined diggers, I have seen them unearth boulders to get at fish below. That is when I buried some fish in the fall - I guess they located it still decaying in spring and were hungry and determined enough. But I have succeeded at least partly with fish here and there in the perennial garden, even with a fox around they didn't get more than a few.

Patrol dogs should keep away critters, but don't forget... they are diggers too!
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Old May 9, 2017   #23
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: SE PA
Posts: 482

I have put a lot of carp in the garden over the years. Most are 3-10 lb ea. Generally, I'll turn up trenches where the upcoming tomato rows will be, about 12" deep. Any deeper and it gets annoying with backsliding fill. Then, lay in the carp end to end so there are overlaps but no gaps. I don't gut them or anything except try to cut them in two with the shovel when they are in the trench. Then I sprinkle with lime, backfill the dirt, and mark the rows so I can plant right over it come time. Some years I do this a couple months ahead, some years I do it in Sept/Oct. Never had a problem with animals. I trench my tomatoes, so I don't dig down to the fish when I plant. The plants take right off, of course. About the only evidence found when I turn an area over again are big scales and the big gill plate bones.

I would not be afraid to put panfish heads or guts right in a planting hole - it should help the plant throughout the season. However, it does sound like a risk to do it in May right under a transplant if you have a lot of critters traversing your yard.
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