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Gardening — Fish Emulsion

Bottle of Fish Commercial Emulsion 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.

What is Fish Emulsion?

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.

Benefits of Fish Emulsion

Some quick release synthetic fertilizers offer immediate nutrients in the garden because they are processed to be readily available for plants to absorb. 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.

All of this microbial activity enhances the strength and vigor of plants by increasing 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.

As fish fertilizer improves soil health, it also 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, which is found in dry fertilizers.

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 pest issues.

How to Use Fish Emulsion

Water after applying fish emulsion 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.

Homemade Fish Emulsion — Even Better!

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.

Further Information

 The Life Cycle of Plants: Fertilization
 The Spruce: How to Make Your Own Fertilizer
 Pollination and Fertilization
 4 Ways To Use Eggshells For Your Plants
 10 Ways to Use Banana Peels in Your Garden