5 homemade liquid fertilisers your plants will relish
As spring gets going, your vegetables will amp up their growth and a dose of liquid fertiliser can do wonders to ensure healthy growth.
Unlike granular fertilisers, liquid fertilisers get the nutrients to your plants quickly, so you can feed them when they need it most.
When using a solid fertiliser in the garden it can be easy to add too much, which in turn can be detrimental to your plants. Too much nitrogen added to beetroot, for example, will lead to big green tops and not much root.
A liquid fertiliser, on the other hand, makes it easy to give plants the boost they need, in a controlled dose.
You don't have to spend money to get a nutrient-packed drink for your vegetables. You probably have what you need at home for at least one of these recipes.
1. MANURE TEA
An excellent source of nitrogen. You'll need 1 part well-aged manure and 5 parts water, a large bucket (with a lid) and a sack/pillowcase.
Chicken, horse, sheep...It doesn't really matter what manure you use for this tea as long as it is well aged.
Shovel the manure into the sack or pillow case and place it in the bucket. Top up with water and cover (it's like a giant tea bag).
Let it sit for one to two weeks. When you're ready to use it, dilute it to the ratio of 1:16.
You can empty the manure-filled sack into your compost afterwards.
2. COMPOST TEA
Use the same ratio as above, 1 part organic matter to 5 parts water. This time, you'll be using some homemade compost instead of manure.
Homemade compost is known as black gold in the gardening world and compost tea is the golden liquid.
In a bucket, shovel in 1 part homemade compost and top it up with 5 parts water. Stir and let it sit for four days.
When it's ready to use, strain it through some sort of cloth, for example, an old t-shirt. Use it immediately and dilute to the ratio of 1:10.
3. SEAWEED LIQUID FERTILISER
Living in New Zealand means this one is an easy one to make as there's nearly always a beach close by.
Seaweed is packed full of goodies for your plants, including potassium, nitrogen, phosphate and magnesium. It also helps combat transplant shock when moving plants and seedlings.
We are sticking with the 1:5 ratio again. Scour your local beach for the seaweed, you won't need a huge amount.
Rinse the seaweed well to remove excess salt, then place it in a bucket, cover with water and let it sit.
The seaweed needs to decompose for this fertiliser so let it sit for about eight weeks in a dark place, away from your house - this one can get a bit stinky. Dilute to a ratio of 1:2.
4. BANANA PEEL LIQUID FERTILISER(S)
Banana peel is such a treat for plants, especially roses. They're packed with potassium, phosphorus and calcium. You can make a banana peel fertiliser in a few different ways.
- Banana peel tea:
Soak two to three banana skins in roughly 600ml of water for a few days. The minerals will leach into the water, which you can then use as it is for your plants, with no need to dilute. Give the soaked peels to your worms or put it in the compost.
- Banana peel smoothie:
Blitz your peels together with a cup of water to make a banana peel slurry. Pour this on the base of your roses and they'll love you for it.
- Banana smoothie
Spoiled, old bananas can be blitzed into liquid too and poured around your plants. Try it in your vegetable garden.
5. WEEDY TEA
This has to be the easiest one to source and make.
You can use all sorts of weeds from around your garden for this, especially those with tap roots, such as dock, comfrey, dandelions or wild fennel.
The long tap roots mean the plant can absorb more nutrients, which are passed into the leaves. When these leaves are put in the weed tea, the nutrients will leach into the water, ready to be poured back into the garden.
Sticking with the 1:5 ratio (1 part weeds, 5 parts water), fill a bucket with your sourced weeds. Cover them with water then put a lid on the bucket. Let it steep for about two weeks.
Dilute it to a ratio of 1:10 and use it anywhere in the garden.
Once the weeds have decomposed in the bucket, chuck them in your compost and start again.