Use Fish Fertilizer for Large, Healthy Plants

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PHOTO: MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
Craig Weir used Neptune Harvest fish fertilizer on his pumpkins, and grew a whopping 914 pound specimen.

The Whole Fish and Nothing But the Fish

The recent cutbacks in the fish trade have left many
hard-working people without jobs. The government has
enforced some drastic regulations on those in the fish
business including limiting the grounds that can be fished,
the days each boat can fish, and the size of catches that
are permitted. Although the government’s intention is to
try to preserve existing fish stocks, their regulations
have induced a 50% job loss among fish workers.

Neptune Harvest, a division of Ocean Crest Seafoods, Inc.,
of Gloucester, Massachusetts, has come up with a way of
putting people back to work and something back in the
environment–recycled fish.

Pondering the waste of fish parts that are left when the
fillet (or the parts you and I eat) is cut from the fish
gave the folks at Ocean Crest Seafoods, Inc., an idea. They
decided to turn the leftover fish parts into healthy
fertilizer.

While using fish parts is not an entirely new idea, they
use a special cold process in turning the fish into the
fertilizer that is particularly good for your garden. They
take fresh fish and grind it, breaking down peptide bonds
to the smallest element so the fish becomes liquefied.
Salvatore Parco, vice president of Neptune Harvest, insists
on using only fresh fish. “If you’re going to start off
with something that smells stinky, you’re just not going to
get good results,” he says.

The fish is not cooked and heat is never used, so valuable
vitamins, nutrients, and amino acids remain intact. Many
fish fertilizers are solubles that come as a byproduct when
cooking the fish. Often processing plants cook at
temperatures ranging from 300 to 500°F and many
heat-and light-sensitive nutrients are lost as a result.
The people at Neptune Harvest like to think of their
process as the difference between eating a cooked vegetable
and a raw vegetable. Sure, a cooked vegetable can be good
for you, but a raw vegetable is better. Another perk to the
cold process is that it is less malodorous, making it a
little easier on the sensitive noses of the fish workers.

The best part of the fertilizer is that the nitrogen is
high in amino acids, which when added to the soil, slowly
breaks down into basic nitrogen compounds. A slow breakdown
of amino is better because fast release formulations leach
quickly out of the soil and are not available for the
plant.

Proof of the beneficial growing properties in this
fertilizer is a whopping 914-pound pumpkin that was grown
by Craig Weir of Gloucester, Massachusetts. Craig was
attracted to the fertilizer because he heard it was high in
nitrogen, which is great for pumpkin vines. The pumpkin
broke the New England record by 196 pounds.

Neptune Harvest has been sold commercially in garden
centers for the past five years. In the past year it has
been sold in the retail market. You can pick up a pint for
about $4.99.