Adding fertilizer to soil has been practiced for as long as gardeners have gardened! From our history lessons, we may remember that the American Indian taught the new settlers to add fish to the holes where they were adding corn seeds.
Since then, we’ve found more convenient ways to use this same practice. Only now we can find fish combined with seaweed which makes fish emulsion! Why a fish emulsion? Adding fish by-products to your garden brings a quick burst of nitrogen as a foliar feed.
It also brings a fair amount of P and K, too. The fish bones supply calcium, which contributes to strong cell structure and helps balance pH in the soil. When you use the combined qualities of fish emulsion and seaweed’s vast army of trace elements and plant hormones, you’re bound to see some positive benefits. Professional gardeners say a seaweed/fish fertilizer combo is to a plant is like pizza is to humans!
It’s most common to find the components – fish emulsion and seaweed meal or extracts – separately. They come in both dried and liquid forms. But there are some brands that come with both together so look for seaweed/fish emulsions wherever you find specialty fertilizers.
As you would expect, you can find fish emulsion and seaweed fertilizer through nursery outlets. It’s also available through retail establishments online. But for the do-it-yourselfer, you can try your hand at mixing up a batch at home!
- Start with a large bucket that’s filled halfway with sawdust and seaweed meal. Add canned or fresh fish parts then cover in a solution of water and a healthy dose of molasses and a tablespoon of Epsom salts. You’ll want to cover this as it gets ripe. Stir every few days for 1 or 2 weeks.
- After the brewing time, add water to dilute, then use the liquid to water your plants or to foliar feed (1:1 on the roots and 1:5 on the leaves). Then don’t waste the dregs. Apply them on your garden or in your compost pile.
There are many great websites online that give greater detail on this topic. Just type “fish emulsion and seaweed fertilizer” into your favorite search engine and you’ll find several sources that will provide you with more fascinating facts about fish and seaweed garden additives.
It may seem odd to those who are unfamiliar to gardening, but to those who know how soils and plants work, using a seaweed and fish mixture just makes good sense. The all-natural source of trace elements and starches in seaweed plus the high nitrogen and calcium content in fish parts make this combo a gardener’s “dynamic duo.”