One thing’s true when it comes to nature: let it follow its course in order to be productive. But beginners and pro preppers or gardeners know that one of the basics of gardening is to give nature a slight “push” in the right direction every here and then, for optimum results of course. There’s no greater joy for some people than that of caring for their garden. And caring for your crops isn’t only reduced to weeding out harmful plants or garden pests, but it’s also about making sure your plants get all the nutrients they need (and more) in order to grow and develop as best as possible. And that’s what fertilizers are for: to give your crops that extra dose of nutrients, to make them last even through the harshest environments. Fertilizers are available in most gardening shops, but they can also be easily made from many “leftovers” that can be normally found in any household. Why spend money when you can recycle what you’d otherwise throw away?
Liquid fertilizers are easy to make and easy to apply. They’re a bit more intricate than the material that you just throw and the soil and let them work their magic without further assistance, but they’re worth your time. They are normally used as a nutrient boost every month or so. During the growing season, liquid fertilizers can be applied every 2 weeks. Just add the liquid recipe of your choosing into a regular sprayer and go “trigger-happy” on your plants. Liquid fertilizers are best used as foliar sprays, meaning they are to be sprayed on the plants leaves more than anything. Once the excess liquid drips from the body of the plants on the soil, it will be picked up by the roots as well. When the roots are stressed or there is a shortage of nutrients in the soil, they can easily be supplied by foliar feeding.
How to use liquid fertilizers
First of all know that any type of sprayer will do, even the common plastic window-cleaner bottles. Just fill the sprayer with a mixture of your choosing and start spraying all your plants. In the case of flowering and fruiting plants, they’re best treated with liquid fertilizers during droughts or extreme temperatures, as this will provide a well-needed boost of moisture and nutrients alike.
Early morning or early evenings are the best times to spray your plants, as there be hardly any evaporation caused by the sun’s rays; this means that your crops will benefit as much as possible from the liquid fertilizer. So avoid doing it during sunny weather; rainy periods should also be avoided. When spraying, be as generous as possible. Keep spraying until liquid starts dripping of the leaves onto the ground. Spray most of all on the undersides of the leaves, where the stomas (the leaves’ pores) will be open and the liquid we’ll be absorbed as fast as possible. Any leftover liquid should be sprayed over the root zones. You can even go as far as adding the fertilizers to your irrigation system and let it do the work for you; add everything except fish emulsion fertilizers, as these will clog the system.
Liquid fertilizers recipes:
Kelp / Seaweed fertilizer
Seaweed emulsions are highly beneficial for garden plants. This is because the high amounts of growth regulators that stabilize all sorts of chemical processes in any type of growing plant. Not only that, but kelp also contains important amounts of ocean minerals as well. So if you happen to be living near the ocean, just go on the beach and gather as much seaweed as you see fit; just don’t overdo it, as seaweed is still important for the local ecosystem. Making the fertilizer is really easy: you just need some seaweed, a container with an airtight lid and a sprayer. Fill the container with water, add the seaweed and put the airtight lid on; leave it from a couple of weeks (hot season) up to a couple of months (cold season). In the meantime, most of the seaweed will have completely dissolved in the water. When you’ll remove the lid, the first thing you’ll notice will be the pungent stench that’s comes as a direct result of the liquefaction process. The bad smell along with the melted kelp are the main indicators that your fertilizer is ready for use. Add the liquid in a sprayer and cover your plants in it regularly. The leftover seaweed (that didn’t dissolve) can be thrown on the soil as mulch, which will release nutrients once it starts decomposing.
You can use any type of fish for this endeavor, but know that ocean fish represent a higher source of nutrients compared to fresh water fish. Do get going you’ll need some fish, water, probiotics, sugar, a powerful blender and a sprayer. Add the fish in the blender (bones and all) and grind them. Stop every once in a while and add a little water until it gets as ground as possible. When you consider the fertilizer is done, throw into the mix the probiotics and the sugar: 1 tsp per cup of water. If you can’t find any probiotics or you’re simply reluctant in using some, adding some yogurt or olive culture is the next best things. They’ll offer a surplus of active enzymes, that will break down the fish as much as possible, in order to make it more usable for the plants. Blend the concoction and place it in a container with a loose lid on, so the gases can escape without causing any trouble; let it sit for about 2 months. If it smells terrible when you first open the lid, it’s ready for use. Pour the water into a sprayer; whatever’s let from the fish, you can use as mulch.
Vegetable scraps fertilizer
The first thing to do is to save all cooked or raw vegetable scraps. Next you’ll need water, Epsom salt, some ammonia, a blender and a large bucket. Start by making turning your vegetables scraps into a mash; throw them in the blender and add just enough water so that the final consistency is nice and smooth. Once you’ve done so, pour everything into the bucket. For every blender of vegetables scraps you’re turned into mush add a tsp of Epson salt and a cap full of ammonia. Stir everything and let it sit overnight; the decomposing process is much faster than in the case of the kelp or fish. The end result will be a concentrated fertilizer; just dilute it with warm water (add a quart of fertilizer per one gallon of warm water) and shake the mix. You can apply to the soil as well as the root areas of the plants.
Making your own liquid fertilizer can be very cost-effective as well as fun. It’s not hard, nor is it time consuming. If you love your garden and wish to take proper care of it, DIY fertilizers are a practical and inexpensive answer to your prayers.