Look What the Cat Dragged In: Homemade Fish Fertilizer Recipe

| 5/29/2019 10:53:00 AM

Fish in the grass

I honestly don’t have a clue how this dead fish found its way into my yard. We have had a lot of rain recently but not that much! I discovered it at the lower border of the orchard bed as the photo shows — half in the lawn, half in the ground cover.

Perhaps a cat picked it from someone’s trash. Or a raccoon dragged it from the creek half a mile away then got spooked by a passing car. Maybe a neighbor wanted to make a not-so-subtle comment about the time it’s taking me to weed my bank. Isn’t there some biblical story about fish raining from the sky — maybe I’m getting my Bible stories conflated.

No matter how it got there or why, I’ve already thanked the Universe for this gift — however delayed it may be. A few years ago I purchased some live sweetgrass (native to Ohio) to grow for personal and ritual use. Upon its arrival, one of the requirements for boosting the starts was a fish fertilizer bath.

My first leaning was to see if I couldn’t economically make some from scratch. I looked up recipes on the internet and found a few calling for fish heads and scraps. Since I don’t fish (other than for salmon with my dad, now passed), I checked with a couple of local seafood counters. No one had any extras to sell me so I opted for Alaskan Fish Fertilizer since it was a name I recognized from my years in the Pacific Northwest.

My initial reaction to this new find in my garden was frankly “WTH?!” But, because of that search a few years ago, that reaction was followed immediately by a decision to create some of my previously imagined home-brewed fish fertilizer. I Googled once again and found new recipes. Most called for more than one fish but I’m a McGyver-style, make-with-what-you-have-on-hand kinda gal so I simply pared back on the recipes. I even learned that Native Americans used to bury a fish before planting corn seed — smart people, maybe in my future!

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