Have you ever heard of using fish emulsion fertilizer to grow plants? What is fish emulsion? Healthy garden plants are a result of good quality soil, plant food, sunlight, water, and of course sufficient nutrients for their health.
Along with using fish emulsion, there is plenty of organic matter or organic OMRI (Organic Materials Review Institute) gardening products you can use to fertilize your plants with:
- Earthworm castings
- Kelp Meal Fertilizer
- Seaweed Fertilizer Extract
… and so on.
Down at the garden center, you’ll often find special fertilizers for growing tomato plants and roses like Knockout rose bushes.
However, there are also good organic items and supplements to consider – fish emulsion fertilizer is a good example.
What Is Fish Emulsion?
Fish emulsion is a liquid organic fertilizer made from whole fish and fishing industry byproducts.
It has an NPK ratio of 5:1:1 and provides a quick boost of nitrogen. It is used as a liquid foliar fertilizer in the organic garden.
Fish emulsion is high in nitrogen and sold as a concentrated liquid fertilizer which gardeners dilute and use.
It has a typical fishy smell but nowadays, deodorized versions are available. It is beneficial for leafy vegetables and fruits we grow.
What Ingredients and Nutrients Are In Fish Emulsion?
We all are aware that the fertilizers have the ingredients Nitrogen, Phosphoric acid and Potassium denoted in N-P-K ratio number.
This ratio tells the percentage by weight of each of these three elements.
Generally, fish emulsion plant fertilizers have a ratio of 5 :2:2 or 5:1:1.
These liquid organic fertilizers may provide the ingredients which your soil might lack and are necessary for a rich and balanced growth in your garden.
Fish emulsion also provides trace elements like:
- Sulphur (sulfur)
… which plants require in micro quantities.
How Do You Use Fish Emulsion In The Garden?
Fish fertilizer for plants:
- A bottle of fish emulsion (either store-bought or home-made)
- A clean bucket
Using fish emulsion is very simple. For every 1 gallon of water mix 3 tablespoons of the fish emulsion concentrate. Increase this quantity with the number of gallons water you will be using.
That’s all there is to it. Your liquid fish fertilizer is ready to go. Fertilize berries, bulbs, perennials, shrubs, herbs, and outdoor container plants.
In the garden, use fish fertilizer as a foliar feed like you would a liquid fertilizer by watering plants with the solution through its leaves. It’s recommended to use around 1/2 gallon per tomato plant for example. [source]
As simple as the process is of using fish emulsion on plants, there are reasons for using organic fish emulsion fertilizer over other synthetic fertilizers.
- Organic emulsion fertilizer is produced from unused fresh fish parts, and are natural resources which will otherwise be wasted.
- They contain ample Nitrogen- Phosphorus- Potassium which are essential plant elements.
- The micronutrients like Calcium, Magnesium, Sodium etc. which are constantly replenished and needed by plants.
- Fish emulsion for plants can be used at any point of time as an all-purpose garden fertilizer.
- They are mild and there is less chance of damaging/ burning the plants.
- You can also use fish emulsion as a soil drench as well as a foliar spray. No fancy injector for chemical fertilizers needed. A hose-end sprayer will work just fine.
- They are beneficial to the plant but do not cause any harm and contamination of the environment like the chemical fertilizers.
- Some use it in the dry fertilizer form called a fish meal and add it to the compost pile the same way bone meal fertilizer powder is added.
The nutrients supplied by fish emulsion make the plants stronger and pest resistant. The addition of lavender oil has helped take the fishy smell out with a deodorized option is available.
One additional benefit of fish emulsion is, that plants will not be overfeed.
The nutrients help increase soil health and soil microbes.
How Often Can You Use Fish Emulsion Fertilizers?
Since the fish emulsion acts fast on providing nutrients, more frequent applications are required.
Many plants grown outdoors are watered twice per week. Research has shown, that the application of half ounce of fish emulsion mixed with 1 gallon of water applied twice weekly helped plants grow vigorously.
Try using fish emulsion on flowering plants or as a drench to encourage healthy plant roots.
Check The Percentages
Before feeding plants using fish emulsion, always check the nutrient levels currently present in the soil to avoid overfeeding. Follow the instructions on the packet, if using store brought emulsions.
How To Make Your Own Homemade Fish Emulsion Fertilizer
A store brought emulsion fertilizer is dependable and convent, but you can definitely make your own. Homemade fish fertilizers tend to be pure and have more plant nutrients.
Store brought products are made from various fish parts – blood, tails, heads, insides etc. Some use raw whole fish and some use cooked. Some may add seaweed to add additional nutritional value.
Homemade emulsions from fish scraps are rich in nutrients as well as in fungi/ bacteria which are also needed. You’ll find different recipes for making fish emulsion plant fertilizer.
To make your own liquid homemade fish emulsion plant fertilizer:
- Half 5 gallon bucket of Composted Manure
- 4-5 Cans of Sardines in water or fish oil
- Half Cup Black Strap Molasses (some recommend unsulfured molasses)
- Handful Epsom Salts
- Fill with water
- Cover with lid and cut holes in lid so it can breath (cover holes with screen)
- Stir Daily for 2 weeks, then strain solids off
- Use liquid as you would store bought Fish Emulsion Fertilizer.
Using a fish emulsion is an excellent organic fertilizing option to fertilize your outdoor plants with a simple watering can. Improve root growth and soil structure, DO NOT use on your indoor plants. The reason – SMELL!