Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Homemade fertiliser

I've used the last of my existing batch of fertiliser so yesterday I made up a new brew.  Have you tried your hand at making it yourself yet?  Maybe you're wondering why you would bother when it's so easy to buy a bottle...

Here are my reasons for making it myself -

  1. It's really, really easy.
  2. It takes hardly any time.
  3. It doesn't cost a cent!
  4. It's good for the environment.
  5. It makes my garden grow.

I make up my fertiliser as a comfrey tea, weed tea or sometimes with manure.  If you want to give it a try, follow the steps below.

  • grab a bucket (I use an old nappy bucket)
  • throw in lots of your material of choice 
  • fill the bucket with water
  • leave for two weeks
That's it!  You don't need to be fussy or precise to get a good brew.  Yesterday, I decided I would use comfrey leaves in the bucket.  However much of my comfrey is very young.  I've recently planted it under most of my fruit trees so the roots can draw up nutrients from deep in the ground.  I found I didn't have enough leaves (but I sure will next year!) so I topped the leaves with grass that was growing on my garden paths.  A touch of accidental weeding.  Don't you just love it when two jobs are achieved in the same task!  
If I use manure I just put a layer at the bottom of the bucket but with plant material I nearly fill the bucket.  You can also place manure in a stocking if you want a clearer liquid but I don't bother.  At the end of the two weeks, the mix becomes very stinky.  This is good.  The bacteria that is breaking it down and causing the smell is the same bacteria that your garden is going to benefit from.
When the fertiliser is ready to use, I put about a litre in my ten litre watering can and fill it with water to dilute.  Then I gently pour it over my plants.  I always make sure the soil is already moist so the plants aren't forced to absorb more fertiliser than they need.  
When my bucket is nearly empty, I just tip the sludge in the bottom onto my compost heap and start again.  I like to have two buckets on the go most of the time so that I don't need to wait for the next brew to reach maturity.  I keep them next to a tap so that I can easily fill my watering can.  I've also attached an empty yoghurt container to the bucket so that I can scoop out the amount I need without searching for a vessel.

So there you have it!  A fertiliser that is free, creates no waste, uses no fossil fuels being transported to the garden beds and takes minutes to make.  Happy gardening!


Cheryl said...

I love this post Linda, so much good information put plainly!
I have made homemade fertilizer in the past, but I'm encouraged to do it more often after reading this post.
Love the tip about having moist soil before you fertilise, I didn't realise that, and it's precisely why I love our little blogging community! the sharing of information with like minded people!
Thanks :)

Anonymous said...

This sounds amazing! I make a version of this, a fertilizer tea that I absolutely love and works so well for my garden http://bit.ly/1F53uCa

Barb said...

Great practical advice Linda, thank you.

Chris said...

It does get incredibly stinky. I've been known to go around the garden and collect roo-poo to do this with too. Phewww when its done though!

I found I stopped making this, because bits of organic matter would get caught in the watering spout of my watering can, so it wouldn't pour properly. David has since found a catering sized sieve (made of stainless steel) from the second hand store. We use it outside for draining the chickens fermented grains with. I might make some more compost tea, and run it through the strainer before it goes in my watering can.

Do you find the same problem?

Linda said...

Cheryl, I'm glad you found this useful information. It's good stuff.

Myproductivebackyard, I'll have to check out your brew!

Thanks Barb, I hope it's useful. I reckon you'll love it!

Chris, yes I have had trouble before. That's when I began to beg people for used stockings so that I could fill one of the legs with manure and soak it like a giant tea bag. My current watering can has a screw off rose so I just remove it for fertilising and don't bother with the stocking.