Plants are into weird stuff. They like being sprayed with the hose and having poop thrown around them. It really gets them growing happy and healthy, even if it doesn’t sound like a good time for you and me. One fertilizer that I’ve used countless times and keep coming back to is fish emulsion. It seems pretty odd that plants would be so into emulsified fish remains, but hey, I’m not here to judge anyone, especially not my plants! Fish emulsion is an organic fertilizer that I recommend to pretty much everyone, especially if it seems like your garden needs a little push. In this article, we’ll be talking about what it is, how it’s made, and how to use it in your garden.
What is fish emulsion
Fish emulsion, sometimes just called ‘fish fertilizer,’ is a liquid fertilizer made from byproducts of the fishing industry – basically all of the fish parts, like bones, guts, and heads, that we humans don’t want to eat. Don’t worry, the plants love it! This type of fertilizer is typically very high in vital nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (NPK). It is typically an all organic fertilizer, making it ideal for organic gardens. It is, however, not a vegan product. A similar product that is fully plant-based would be something like a kelp-fertilizer. Keeping a vegan rabbit as a pet is a sustainable source of nutrient-rich rabbit manure as well.
Aside from containing large quantities of NPK, fish emulsion is known to contain calcium, magnesium, sodium, chlorine, and sulfur – other nutrients that are important for the health of your garden.
Homemade Fish Emulsion
There’s an old saying about not wanting to know how sausage is made, and the same is true for fish emulsion. It can be made at home, but it isn’t a very delightful process. Still, if you have some fish lying around, it can be a good way to make use of them. Simply add one part fish parts, three parts sawdust, and a bit of unsulfured molasses in a container. You will probably need to add a bit of water as well.
This mixture will need to sit for about 2 weeks – long enough for the fish parts to break down. You’ll want to stir the mixture once a day.
How to use fish emulsion in your garden
Fish emulsion is a very nutrient-dense fertilizer and needs to be pretty heavily diluted with water in order to avoid such problems as nitrogen burn. You can typically mix about 1 tablespoon of the fertilizer with a gallon of water. Once mixed with water, you can just pour it out near the base of your plants and let it soak into the soil. The water will help the plant’s roots take in the nutrients.
You can also add your finished fish emulsion to a compost heap. Diluting is still a pretty good idea for this, just to make sure it gets mixed up well and evenly spread throughout the compost.