Gardening — Fish Emulsion
Fish fertilizers offer a source of burn-free nitrogen, along with the other primary nutrients
of phosphorus and potassium.
Fish emulsion benefits to plants and ease of use make this an exceptional
fertilizer in the garden, especially when making your own. For more information
on using fish emulsion on plants and how to make fish emulsion fertilizer,
please continue reading.
Using fish for fertilizer is not a new concept. In fact, settlers at Jamestown
used to catch and bury fish to use as fertilizer. Organic farmers across the
globe use fish emulsion in place of toxic chemical fertilizers.
Fish emulsion is an organic garden fertilizer that is made from whole fish or
parts of fish. It provides an NPK ratio of 4-1-1 and is most often used as foliar
feed to provide a quick nitrogen boost.
1. All-natural fish fertilizers are processed differently in the soil because they contain nutrients
that must first be digested by organisms, such as bacteria, earthworms and fungi.
As opposed to quick release synthetic fertilizers offer immediate nutrients in the garden
because they are processed to be readily available for plants to absorb.
2. Because fish fertilizer is first digested by bacteria and fungi, it enhances microbial activity and
thereby increases the amount of organic matter in the soil. Fungi and bacteria break down nutrients
to make them available to plant roots, and then loosen the dirt as they travel, reproduce,
process nutrients and decay, leaving soil aerated with improved levels of organic
matter. Plant roots grow faster and stronger in this light, airy soil that is teeming with life.
3. As fish fertilizer increases soil fertility by providing the primary nutrients necessary for plants
to thrive. Fish fertilizers offer a source of burn-free nitrogen, along with the other primary nutrients
of phosphorus and potassium. Unlike synthetic options, they may also provide secondary nutrients,
such as calcium.
4. Plants that receive a balance of primary and secondary nutrients experience strong and
steady plant growth, leading to vigorous plants that can better withstand disease and
Using fish emulsion on plants is a simple process as well. Fish emulsion always
needs to be diluted with water. The usual ratio is 1 tablespoon of emulsion to
1 gallon of water.
The fish emulsion contains a lot of oil making the fertilizer to be viscous. Therefore, it
is important to make sure that you shake the fertilizer vigorously before using it.
Pour the mixture into a spray bottle and spray directly on plant leaves. Diluted
fish emulsion can also be poured around the base of plants. A thorough watering
after fertilizing will help plants take up the emulsion.
Making your own fish emulsion fertilizer may seem like a daunting task;
however, the smell is well worth it. Homemade fish emulsion is cheaper
than commercial emulsions, and you can make a big batch at one time.
There are also nutrients in homemade emulsion that are not in commercially
available products. Because commercial fish emulsions are made from trash
fish parts, not whole fish, they have less protein, less oil, and less bone than
homemade versions that are made with whole fish, making homemade fish
emulsion benefits even more amazing.
Bacteria and fungi are necessary for soil health, hot composting and disease
control. Homemade versions contain lots of bacterial microorganisms while
commercial emulsions contain few, if any, microorganisms.
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The Spruce: How to Make Your Own Fertilizer
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