Thursday, June 30, 2011

Homemade Liquid Fertlisers


Homemade Liquid Organic Fertilizer

Make your own free liquid organic fertilizer when your garden needs a tonic to boost growth. These simple recipes work better than commercial products, and can be made from what you have on hand.
One of the criticisms of organic fertilizers is that they work very slowly. When your plants show signs of nutrient deficiency or slowed growth you need a quick fix. A liquid organic fertilizer can give you dramatic results fast.
You will need something to brew your fertilizer teas in. I like buckets with lids. I don’t know a single gnome that can lift a 5 gallon bucket, but it might be ideal for you. Any size is fine. Put holes in the lid to let gas out and air in. The lid keeps mosquitoes out.

Brewing Manure Tea

Manure is nothing more than digested plant material. Herbivores are just living compost tumblers that quickly break down organic materials. Any manure is fine except cat and dog. Those shouldn’t be used on vegetables because of the parasites they may contain.I prefer poultry manure because it contains more nitrogen than other types. Poultry manure contains the urine as well as solids. The birds also digest plants or grains more completely, so the manure dissolves better in the tea. But, any herbivore manure will work.
Manure Tea Recipe
Fill a bucket half full of manure and then to the top with water. Cover the bucket, with holes in the lid for air. Leave it to stew for at least a month, stirring about once a week. That’s it. When using the tea, dilute it with one part tea to about 10 parts water and apply at the base of your plants.
Some like to strain the tea. I like to let the undissolved residue accumulate under my plants as mulch.

Brewing Weed Teas

Yes, weeds make great liquid organic fertilizers. You probably put most of the green weeds and plant residue into your compost pile. But you can also brew a great tonic from that same green residue. Plants harvest nutrients from the soil to grow new cell tissue. As your weeds and residue steep in your tea bucket, those same nutrients will again become available to feed your new plants.
Different plants harvest different minerals, so a good mix of plants will improve the tea. Green plants and grass clipping will dissolve quickly in water, making your tea a more potent tonic.

Weed Tea Recipe:
Fill the bucket half full with a mix of weeds and green plant matter, including grass clippings if available and then to the top with water. Stir it a couple of times each week and let is sit with the lid on for at least 3 weeks. Dillute the tea 10 to 1 with water and apply to the base of your plants.

Comfrey Tea
Comfrey tea deserves special mention. Comfrey is an old time livestock feed, eaten green or as hay by cattle and other livestock.
You should grow some in a corner of your garden. Comfrey is a perennial. It grows prolifically, so be prepared to contain it. It is propagated from root cuttings and any piece or root left in the soil will grow.
Brew comfrey just like any weed tea. Comfrey tea makes a powerful liquid organic fertilizer. The roots run very deep and pull up minerals that other plants cannot reach. It is particularly rich in potassium.
Comfrey is also one of the few plants rich in vitamin B12, which stimulates rapid root growth. B12 reduces transplant shock, so use comfrey tea (diluted) at transplanting time.

Seaweed Tea
If you live near the coast, seaweed is plentiful on the beaches for the gathering. Seaweed is rich in minerals and nitrogen, and can be brewed into a potent liquid fertilizer.
Seaweed is salty and that can affect your soil, so rinse it thoroughly before putting it into the bucket. Chopping it up will also speed the process. Let it steep in the bucket for 3 to 4 weeks. Dilute and use as you would any weed tea.

The Egg Factor
Never throw an eggshell away. They are high in potassium and calcium, both essential plant nutrients .
You could put them in the compost pile . But, they are even more effective if they are dried, crushed and turned to near powder in a blender. Put the crushed shells of one to two dozen eggs into the fertilizer teas as you make them.
There you have it, several ways to boost the productivity of your garden with your own homemade liquid organic fertilizer.

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