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One of the fundamental principles of organic gardening is to "feed the soil, not the plant." The idea behind this concept is that if you start with healthy soil in the first place, you won't need a lot of additional fertilizers. That's good advice, but sometimes even Mother Nature appreciates a little boost. Organic liquid fertilizers and teas are a good options, because they can provide plants with nutrients in a readily available form. Here's all you need to know to make your own.
To Make Your Own: Use the bucket and strainer method or the bubble and brew method. Strain out solids and dilute 1:1 with water before applying to soil or as a foliar spray.
To Make Your Own: If you are using fresh fish, you need to compost it separately in a 5 gallon bucket before you make it into liquid fertilizer. Add fresh fish and fill at least half of the bucket with browns like leaves, straw or sawdust. Add an ounce or more of unsulfured molasses to reduce odors and encourage beneficial microbials. Cover and let rot for 1-2 weeks, opening the bucket to stir and allow for air circulation every 2 days. Once the fish is well rotted, use one of the methods above to make liquid fertilizer. Seaweed can be added in at this time.
To Make Your Own: Collect enough seaweed to fill a plastic trash can (or any container of your choice) half way to the top. The plant tissues will naturally contain some salt, but it's a good idea to rinse any excess salt off of the surface of the seaweed before putting it into the barrel. Top off the container with water and allow it to stand for 2 to 3 months. As the seaweed decomposes, the water will turn brown. Chopping it up into small pieces will help it decompose faster. The resulting liquid will be highly concentrated and should be diluted with water (1:1) before being applied. Dried seaweed is useful for making up smaller quantities or if you don't have access to fresh plants.
To Make Your Own: In order for it to remain suspended in liquid form, rock phosphate needs to be pulverized into a fine powder. Since most people lack the necessary tools to do this effectively, buying it is more practical for most gardeners.
To Make Your Own: Use any of the above methods to steep leaves into a concentrate or liquid fertilizer tea.
Soil Drenches: Use liquid fertilizers to help build up microbial activity in soil and supply NPK to the plant's root system.
Foliar Feeds: When plants that have suffered serious root damage, or you need a quick fix of soluble trace elements, apply liquid fertilizer as a foliar spray to plant leaves.
Nettle tea prepared with 1 kg of fresh nettles for 10 liters of water is a fertilizer and when prepared with 1 kg for 20 liters of water it is a very good repulsif if sprayed on the leaves. It takes two weeks for maturation.
But watch out for the very, very, special smell of the nettle tea! In France the nettle tea is called "nettle manure" Not really fair for manure which smell is not half as bad!
My grandmother had told me that back in the day, they never had Miracle Gro or any other type of fast growing fertilizer. She always had the most amazing flowers.
Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.
What makes a good homemade plant fertilizer for my vegetable garden?
Hardiness Zone: 6a
By Chris Richman from Williamstown, NJ
The best is to start a compost pile. You can look up compost on google.
Used teabags are great.
Depends on what nutrient you are lacking. You might try Epsom salts for magnesium. If it's nitrogen you are lacking, here is a country solution, literally. Make a 10:1 solution of water to urine. Water with this once a week or so. Not too much or you will have all leaves and no fruit!
I found it on here the other day, but deleted it where someone made it.
By L.J. L
Make Manure Tea - This is not exactly miracle grow but your plants will love it. Mix 1 part manure (horse, cow or goat) to 3 or 4 parts water. Allow to sit for several days in the sunshine in a covered container. Strain out any remaining solid matter and save the liquid. Now add that liquid to your watering can at 1 part manure tea to 4 parts water and water your plants with this once a week or maybe once a month depending upon your plants needs.
How do you make liquid fertilizer for ferns?
Hardiness Zone: 8a
By xxpat from Columbia, SC
Ferns aren't big feeders and don't usually need fertilizer. Are they outdoor or indoor? They like acid soil and if you want to give them a boost dig in used coffee grounds or tea bags or throw left over coffee or tea on them. What they do like is very loose loamy soil, lots of water and shade.
3 weeks ago I hit on the idea to make my own fertilizer for tomatoes, cucumbers, etc. I used a plastic bin, put a tap in it about 6 inches up from bottom and put all raw bits of carots, potatoes, nothing cooked, all raw, anything that we normally sling in the refuse bin. I looked at it today and it's got white froth on top. Can I really use this stuff? I am now tempted to sling it as it smells very high. I have added some Dobbies plant food liquid fertilizer for good measure, too.
I have a 5 gallon bucket with water, grass clippings, weeds, and garden vegetable leaves and cleanings brewing for about 3 weeks. Do I strain off the fertilizer tea---or I can I just dip it out of the bucket, dilute it, and apply to my vegetable plants?
Can I just add new green matter to the bucket and keep the tea brewing?
Will the tea lose its potency as it sits in the bucket?
By Bill M
Many gardener's use whey to fertilize their plants. It contains nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, and other minerals that are beneficial in small amounts. Too much has the inverse effect and can harm you plants.