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Make Your Own Organic Fertiliser

By: Lucy Debenham BA (hons) - Updated: 8 May 2014 | comments*Discuss
Organic Fertiliser Farming Plant Organic

You may have never considered making your own organic fertiliser before. But whether you're looking to make the most of out your flower or vegetable gardens, you'll need to feed your plants. This is especially the case when the same patch of soil is in constant use. Vegetable growing in particular uses up a lot of nutrients from the soil.

So as with farming, intensive successive growing will require you to replenish what is taken out in order to maximise the crop from your patch.

There are a plethora of ways to nourish, condition and improve your soil. Regularly adding compost definitely helps, as the soil benefits from the nutrition and structure to aid water drainage. However compost on it's own may not be enough - a regular 'top up' with an organic fertiliser is vital if you want your flowers and vegetables to flourish.

You can make your own organic fertiliser easily at home. The ingredients can be sourced directly from the garden or allotment. This article looks at different 'recipes' for making your own organic fertilisers.

Simple Organic Fertiliser

One of the simplest yet effective organic fertilisers you can make is from nettles. A liquid nettle feed are a great source of nitrogen, perfect for plants growing above ground. Nettle feed has also been attributed as a fantastic feed for tomatoes.

To make your liquid nettle fertiliser, you'll need lots of nettles, water and a large storage butt or bucket.

Firstly, you'll need to collect up your nettles - as many as you can find! If possible, opt for younger, more tender stems. Once you have collected your nettles, you can either chop them up with secateurs, crush them (wearing thick garden gloves, of course!), or shred them through a lawnmower or garden shredder.

The crushed or shredded nettles can then be put in the container. You can weigh the pile of nettles down with a stone or brick, before adding water. You should add enough water to just about cover the pile of nettles.

You'll then need to leave the 'brew' for around 20-30 days. During this time, the mixture starts to smell somewhat, so you might want to site it in a secluded corner of your garden or allotment! The brew will also become like a rich feed concentrate, so once it's ready to use, you'll need to dilute it with water to a ration of around 1:10 before feeding it to your plants.

If you have any leftover feed, this can always be added to your compost heap or bin over winter when the nettle-growing season finishes.

Also, if you live on the coast, the same process can be applied to seaweed liquid fertilisers, simply replacing the nettles with seaweed. Alternatively, landlocked gardeners can use other green plants such as comfrey or dock leaves to make liquid fertiliser. Comfrey can be reduced to a 50:50 dilution with water.

Poultry Manure Fertiliser

If you are a backyard poultry keeper, the chances are that you already benefit from the addition of poultry manure and bedding in your compost heaps. However, have you considered making a liquid organic fertiliser from poultry manure?

All you need to do is collect together around half a bucket or container full of poultry manure, and then fill the remaining half with water. Leave to 'stew' for around 3 or 4 weeks before using. This concentrate will need to be diluted - for every half a litre of concentrate, you'll need to add 10 litres of water.

Bonfire Ash

If you have had a bonfire recently, or have a working fireplace at home, you will have some ash to hand. Ash is rich in calcium and potassium, which are vital to healthy and strong plant growth.All of these methods are simple and effective. Using a liquid feed also means that the nutrients can be absorbed more quickly by the plants.

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[Add a Comment]
Good you please give me the recipe for making potash juice, from wood ash i.e. How many litres of water to add to what weight of wood ash? How long does the wood ash need to steep in the water? How often does it have to be stirred? What's the dilution rate once the potash juice is ready? How long will it store for? Many thanks Moira
Moira - 8-May-14 @ 8:52 PM
can i use sheep manure in a sack with small holes in in my water but to feed my tomatos
skippy - 12-Jul-12 @ 4:41 PM
Can I use piles of week old nettles that have dried a little and gone brown to stew up for fertillizer or is it too late and they have to be fresh and green?
tamtam - 18-May-11 @ 11:50 AM
Don't have nettles here in spain, but do have plenty of wood ash. Could you be more specific about making fertiliser for flowers and flowering plants using wood ash?
melias - 18-Apr-11 @ 8:40 AM
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