Make Your Own Natural Liquid Fertilizers: Seaweed and ‘Gardener’s Revenge’ Recipes

Reader Contribution by Emma Raven and Misfit Gardening
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<p>I longed for huge pumpkins for Halloween, tall sunflowers and plentiful chili and tomato plants, and I found that even with repeated mulching throughout the season, my plants were missing a boost of nutrients, so I made my own natural liquid feeds or fertilizers.</p>
<p>Now, I have sunflowers nearly 15 feet tall, tomatoes ripening nicely, three repeat harvests of chili peppers, squash and pumpkin harvests which don&rsquo;t seem to stop as well as luscious peaches the size of baseballs, and not to mention, numerous crops of broccoli which are on a cut-and-come-again rotation!</p>
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<p>The growth was astounding in a short space of time and in this post I would like to share with you step by step how to make your own liquid fertilizers.</p>
<p>Making your own liquid fertilizers is incredibly easy, super thrifty, less wasteful and you will be able to see the benefits very quickly.</p>
<p>To make the recipes below you will need the following equipment:</p>
<p>&bull; Bucket<br />
&bull; Water<br />
&bull; Stick to stir<br />
&bull; Old jars or bottles to store the liquid</p>
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<strong>Tips for Using Homemade Fertilizers</strong>
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<p>Try to use a container which can be covered to reduce the risk of mosquitoes laying eggs and their larvae thriving in the stagnant water.</p>
<p>Water the plants first before feeding with the fertilizers to ensure plants take up the appropriate amount and to reduce salt-burns.</p>
<p>There are lots of things you can use to make your own natural fertilizers which you may have already in your garden or homestead.</p>
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<p>1. <em>The chickens are a leading contributor to my fertilizer with their manure, 2. Bedding from the coop, feathers and all the bits of greens and everything else they didn&rsquo;t eat can all be used, 3. Weeds, 4. Grass clippings, 5. Seaweed meal.</em>
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<p>Below are some recipe guidelines for you to create your own liquid feeds to use in your vegetable garden.</p>
<p>A word of caution however, these smell terrible!</p>
<h3>’Gardener’s Revenge’ Liquid Fertilizer</h3>
<p>Perennial weeds should not be placed into the compost heap unless you know that you will get the heap to heat up enough to kill the weed and any seeds. &nbsp;You can however, drown the weeds then place them in the compost heap so nothing is wasted.&nbsp;</p>
<p>I think this is the easiest liquid fertilizer to make since it only requires enough weeds to fill the bucket.</p>
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<em>Filling the bucket with pesky weeds.</em>
<p>&bull; Fill your bucket with at least 1/2 way with weeds. I fill a 5 gallon bucket all the way with a variety of weeds including foxtail grass, fat hen, pig weed, couch grass, bindweed and some unknown weeds which sprout up over and over again.&nbsp; I add in everything, roots, flowers, leaves etc.</p>
<p>&bull; Chop them up a bit using garden shears or pruners for faster decomposition then cover with water. &nbsp;Rainwater is ideal but tap water should be fine; there is some debate about using tap water and the general consensus seems to be to allow the chlorine to dissipate 24 hours before using.&nbsp; I use the secondary water from my city which isn&rsquo;t treated.</p>
<p>&bull; After 2-4 weeks, the weeds should be sludgy and when the water is disturbed, a pungent (ok, extremely bad) smell released.</p>
<p>&bull; The water should be drained off into bottles or containers and labelled with the contents.</p>
<p>&bull; To use, dilute around 1/4 to 1/2 cup in 2 gallon watering can for general watering. &nbsp;If using as a foliar feed, reduce the quantity to around 2 table spoons to a gallon of water to avoid leaf-burn.</p>
<p>&bull; If the smell does become a bit overpowering, water the plants and garden afterwards and the smell will dissipate. I try to feed the plants on a windy day so it doesn&rsquo;t settle and disturb the neighbors too much.</p>
<p>&bull; The sludgy weeds can now be placed on the compost pile, these also smell terrible so put them amongst other layers or place layers straight on top.</p>
<h3>Seaweed Liquid Fertilizer</h3>
<p>Another easy fertilizer to make. &nbsp;You will need some fresh or dried seaweed. &nbsp;If you live on the coast, it is easy to forage for seaweed, particularly after a storm.</p>
<p>Check with local regulations to make sure you can forage in your area and research protected species so you don’t accidentally take something which is protected.</p>
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<em>Flamborough Head, East Coast of England</em>
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<p>If you are using fresh seaweed, wash the salt off by thoroughly rinsing with plenty of water then place in the bucket and top up with water and cover. &nbsp;You will want as much seaweed as the bucket can hold and equal amounts of water.&nbsp; It’s ok to use different varieties of seaweed.</p>
<p>1. Leave for at least 8 weeks for the seaweed to start rotting down, stir the concoction every few days. The longer you leave the seaweed in the water, the better it is.</p>
<p>2. Drain off the liquid into bottles or containers and label them. The seaweed makes a wonderful addition to the compost pile or can be used as a mulch around plants, in containers or spread on the vegetable bed.</p>
<p>3. To use, dilute around 1/4 – 1/2 cup in 2-gallon watering can for general watering. If using as a foliar feed, reduce the quantity to around 2 table spoons to a gallon of water to avoid leaf-burn.</p>
<p>You could also use dried seaweed meal if you live in a landlocked location. Seaweed meals do vary, so you should experiment with the amount of seaweed meal to water, I would start at 2-3 cups in a 10-quart bucket.</p>
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<em>Learn more recipes for natural fertilizers you can make at home in Part 2 of this post coming up.</em>
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<a target=”_self” href=”https://www.motherearthnews.com/biographies/emma-raven-homesteading-scientist-organic-gardener-and-home-brewer”>Emma Raven</a>
<em style=”font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; text-align: start; word-spacing: 0px;”>&nbsp;has been gardening, cooking, canning and home brewing for most of her life. Formulation scientist, blogger, home brewer and avid gardener. Born in a village on the northern east coast of England, she now calls the Wasatch Mountains of Utah home. Find Emma at </em>
<a href=”http://www.misfitgardening.com/” target=”_blank”>
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