Some time ago I was writing about organic additives for soil which will improve the growth of your vegetables. Today’s subject is similar to that one; we’re still in the area of organic production, but I have changed things a bit.
These 15 organic liquid fertilizer recipes are aimed to help you with growing stronger vegetables and having a more productive harvest.
Why Liquid And Not Solid Fertilizers?
To be honest, I didn’t find too many information about this subject on the Internet. Therefore, my intention is to make a complete guide, without the need of browsing for half an hour; everything needed is at your disposal here.
Also, liquid fertilizers are very convenient, since the majority of those you can make at your home, without the need to buy expensive solutions with doubtful effect. There is also a matter of control. When a pre-made product is purchased, you can’t tell for sure what was used while they were making it. For homemade one, however, you can.
Eventually, liquid fertilizers are much more natural to distribute, and the plants are absorbing them faster than solid ones. If you have a backpack sprayer, fill it with this liquid gold, and start fertilizing! Those milder recipes listed here can even be attached to the hose and distributed via sprinkler (the “upgrade pick” from my article about the best sprinkler heads has a filter, so this one is a recommendation) if you have one at hand. Watering at the same time is a convenient bonus as well.
What Will Be Needed?
Besides material and water, you will undoubtedly need a bucket (let’s say standard, 5-gallon one), an old pantyhose or coffee filter, depending on the amount of fertilizer you wish to make, a measuring unit, and a trowel. Some of the equipment will be listed afterward, but nothing you don’t have in the garage or kitchen.
There is also one big thing which should help you besides this, and that would be a compost tumbler. It is an excellent thing to help you not to bother with turning the compost, and in this case, it is useful for making material for compost tea. So, if you already had thought about whether you should buy it, let me tell you: you should.
As for the mixing process, you should acquire an old spatula; only it should be long enough. If you don’t have it, an ordinary piece of wood will do just fine. Be sure that it is sturdy enough that you can mix the mixture without breaking it.
Keeping track of nutrients in the mixture is vital. Therefore, you will also need a test kit. Those intended for soil can do just fine, as long as you can measure the NPK index.
So, here are my suggestions on liquid fertilizer recipes. You will notice that some of them are featuring non-organic matter, but this doesn’t make the fertilizer such. The term “organic” means that there were no chemicals or pharmaceuticals involved. Therefore, roll up your sleeves, and let’s get down to business!
1. Seaweed Soup
Although the Japanese are making soup from seaweed, this is not the one which should be eaten. I have used bought seaweed, but if you are living close to the sea, you can collect it on your own. Just rinse it with cold water several times to remove salt from it.
Fill the bucket with washed and dried seaweed, and add water to fill up the bucket. Cover the bucket with a towel and leave it for a few weeks. After that, check for NPK level, and if it is satisfying, strain out the seaweed. You will be left with beautiful manure tea which is rich in minerals and salts, and the remaining seaweed can be used for mulching.
In case that you live far from the sea, there are alternatives, luckily. This seaweed soup is an amazing choice for boosting overall health of the plant, so be sure to check it out.
2. Compost Tea
As I mentioned, a compost tumbler is a great thing to have in your garden. However, for this purpose, it is not directly involved. For making compost tea, I have used old, worn-out compost. It is far better for fertilizing than the “new” one.
Of course, I wanted the best brewer available on the market, and now you can have it too.
I’ve filled the bucket about a third with compost and added water on top of this. It was left sitting for three days, with stirring at least three times a day. After separating the old manure, I was left with an excellent base for fertilizer. Since this mixture is pretty strong, I’ve diluted it in proportion ten parts of water, one part compost tea. Since this is a very mild mixture, it can be used for succulent plants or for fertilizing seedlings.
3. Green Tea
For nitrogen and phosphorus-rich fertilizer, I have used grass clippings. To balance things out, I have thrown in several banana peels. These are rich in third essential ingredient, potassium. Fill the bucket to two thirds with clippings, and add water to fill it to the top.
The procedure is similar as with compost tea; leave it to sit a few days, with often mixing, and strain it by using old pantyhose. However, this recipe is much milder than the previous one, and I’ve diluted it with equal parts of water and fertilizer. Also, it is quite convenient for cabbage and similar vegetables.
4. Fish Tank Or Pond Water
Now, this was a surprise for me. But on the second thought, it is entirely logical. Since fish are living in the water, it is natural that their excretory is contained in water. Plus, some algae might develop as well, so their biomass will improve the nutritive value.
This is perhaps the easiest recipe; you just need to use that water as it is. With the high amount of nitrogen, you can use it for fertilizing the cabbage, if you are growing it from the seed. Just be careful not to pick up any residents of the pond or tank.
5. Fish Emulsion
This is one of the “smelly” recipes from this list, so prepare in advance. If you love having fish for meals, there will be some leftovers for sure, in the form of intestines and similar waste left after cleaning fish. This waste can be used to make a homemade fish emulsion.
First, you will need to add fish to the bucket and add green biomass such as straw or sawdust. I’ve also added an ounce of molasses to kickstart rotting process. I’ve covered the bucket and stirred once in every couple of days. The whole process took about two weeks. After that, I have added water to fill the bucket and stirred once a day for three days.
Of course, in the end, I’ve strained it and diluted with water in 1:1 proportion. This fertilizer is highly rich in nitrogen and phosphorus, so those plants which are requiring those will be satisfied.
If you love coffee, why wouldn’t your plants? This way of preparing fertilizer will require you to leave coffee grounds for some period. Dry it on a paper towel, and once you have about 6 cups, you can make your nitrogen-rich fertilizer.
Pour those 6 cups you have collected into a bucket and fill it with water. Leave it to sit for a couple of days, with occasional stirring. Once finished, strain it with the usage of pantyhose. Dilute with the same amount of water, and apply to your garden. Be careful though, since this fertilizer will increase the acidity of the soil.
This sweet, thick material can be found nowadays more often than it used to. In this case, molasses isn’t a fertilizer in terms that it holds nutrients, but it can help your plants grow, which is excellent.
Luckily, molasses for plants is sold almost everywhere, so you should buy it earlier, so that it can be shipped on time.
Mix 1-3 tsp of molasses per gallon of water, and mix thoroughly. This mixture will boost the growth of useful bacteria. However, since it is sweet, it can attract various pests so that I can recommend moderate usage.
8. Bat Guano
One of the best fertilizers to be used as liquid ones, bat guano can be a tad difficult to find. Luckily, it gains popularity recently, so it could be available in better-equipped garden centers, or you can always order it online.
Its usual variety is 10:10:2, which after mixing with water makes it mild fertilizer. Its main advantage is that it works lightning-fast so that the vegetables will absorb it in no time. About three spoons per gallon are more than enough to satiate the plant's needs for nutrients.
9. Human Urine
Yes, it sounds awful. But, in case that you are wondering, human urine contains a more considerable amount of potassium and phosphorus than the majority of commercial fertilizers. If you decide to use it, the proper ratio will be required.
Water to urine should be at 8:1 ratio. It can be added to another kind of fertilizer you are making, so it will be less gross. Still, there is one important matter which must be kept in mind the whole time. The person who is a donor for the urine must be 100% healthy since many diseases were spread with such usage.
10. Rock Phosphate
As the name suggests, this rock is rich in phosphorus, and as I said in one of the previous articles, it can supply your garden with this element for the next decade. However, diluting a stone in a bucket of water can be a futile job.
Luckily, they are sold as Mineral Fertilizers, and you should buy them as soon as possible.
I would say that following the instructions is all that is necessary. But, one general rule is that you can’t make a mistake. If you pour more water than it is needed, you will have to redo the procedure sooner rather than later. But, too much of phosphorus can cause burns. Therefore, if you are uncertain, add more water than the package says.
11. Cow Manure
There are many different kinds of fertilizer gained from farm animals, but few can parry cow manure regarding quality. If you have cows, or your neighbor does, this is a great opportunity to make high-quality fertilizer, rich in nitrogen and plethora of other nutrients.
To make a liquid fertilizer, add a shovel of cow manure in the bucket, add some straw, and pour water. Leave the mixture for a few days with occasional stirring, after said period, strain it through the cloth or pantyhose. Remains can be used as milder fertilizer since the majority of nutrients are absorbed.
This recipe comes from my grandmother, and she was using it primarily for pot flowers since it is very mild and non-aggressive. All that is needed are a few plastic bottles and sunlight.
Fill the bottles with water, close the lids and leave them in direct sunlight. After some time you will notice that water begins to turn dark, and after that green blotches of algae will develop. This is precisely the result I was after!
After that time, some organic matter in the form of algae developed, and using that as fertilizer is excellent. In case that you wish to accelerate the process, put several straws of hay in the bottle.
13. Worm Castings Liquid Fertilizer
One of the most popular and widely used fertilizers is worm castings fertilizer. To use it, you will have to make solid state one first.
Luckily, this is not difficult. Throw several Californian worms, add manure or other kind of biowaste, and let them work for some time. Next, separate the worms and use about two shovels of this fine manure with a bucket of water.
Stir it regularly for a few days, so it is mixed well. After that, separate the solid part and use the water as fertilizer.
14. Chicken Manure
Although cow manure is the richest of all regarding nutrients, chicken manure holds the highest amount of nitrogen. Chicken urine is that rich part of manure, and there is no better way to use it than to make liquid fertilizer.
Since awful smells are following this process, I can recommend you to use old pantyhose but filling it with chicken manure. Stuffed in such way, it should be put into the bucket with water, and left undisturbed for four or five days. After that, remove the pantyhose, and you got liquid fertilizer. Check for NPK index, if it is too high, dilute it with water in 1:1 ratio.
15. Bob And Marley (Again)
There are no words that I can describe how much I love my two ducks! Not just that they are my pest-controlling police (as I have mentioned it here), they are also providing me with top-notch quality fertilizer.
I made a pond for two of them, and it crossed my mind that I could use the water from that lake as fertilizer. I was a bit worried about salmonella and other bacteria, but I have washed the vegetables thoroughly to make sure that no diseases will spread. Anyhow, just take a bucket of water from duck’s or geese pond, and use it for watering. Since this water is stationary, there is a lot of organic matter inside, so it provides your plants with an excellent source of nutrients.
Here they are. 15 organic liquid fertilizer recipes which can be made in every home. Bear in mind that the process of making liquid fertilizer can be quite smelly, so it is best advised to make them outside of the house.
As always, feel free to leave a comment, opinion or advice in the comment section below.