Natural Fertilisers

Last week we had an article on comfrey and all of it’s many uses, one of them being that it’s great in the garden when used as a mulch, but it also makes a pretty amazing fertiliser,  we often hear how wonderful seaweed is for the garden, and it is, but comfrey has it’s own blend of super nutrients.

These two recipes are for powerful fertilisers that you don’t have to buy, you can gather the ingredients and get to work making ‘tea’, just beware of the smell, it’s best to use a large sealed container stored away from the house. You can also use seaweed directly in your garden or add it to your compost bin for an extra kick.

The best time to collect seaweed is after a storm; the last time we went to the beach after one it was covered in the stuff which made for very easy picking, even if everyone on the beach collected some there still would have been plenty left for marine life.

This text is from our book Recipes For A Cleaner Life. 

Pic from Gardenersworld.com

Comfrey Fertiliser

Comfrey is high in just about every nutrient a plant needs, including nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium, as well as many trace elements. Its high carbon-to-nitrogen ratio means it does not deplete nitrogen from the soil as it decomposes. In fact, it becomes a good source of nitrogen. And it has more potassium than composted manure.

It is easy to make a comfrey fertiliser, but do be warned: it stinks, so make sure you store it in something with a good lid. Get yourself a large plastic bin – a standard rubbish bin is ideal. Gather as many comfrey leaves as you can and layer them in the bin. Fill to the top with water, put the lid on and place in a warm place for a few months.

The resulting liquid is great for your plants, but it is strong.  Simply dilute it – one part liquid to three parts water – and then spray it on.

If you’re a bit lazy, tear up comfrey leaves and use them as a mulch around your plants, or add them to your compost bin to start the decomposition process and add wonderful nutrients. Throw the whole plant in, even the stalks. Or next time you are planting a tree or plant, line the bottom of the hole with comfrey leaves. They will decompose and act as a slow-release fertiliser.

I forgot my bucket this time – this old towel worked out just fine.

Grab That Seaweed

Make seaweed tea by filling a bucket or a bigger plastic rubbish bin then fill with water. Leave in the sun for a few days then use the tea to spray on plants to deter insects or pour around plants to feed, be warned this does get a bit smelly.

Place some seaweed at the bottom of a hole when planting shrubs, trees or vegetables.

Use as a mulch on your garden to help retain moisture but also fertilise as it breaks down.

Use as a sheet composter – simply lay it in thick layers over the top of an unused garden bed and let it rot into the soil.

If you keep chickens, put some wet seaweed into a sack or bag with holes – it must be porous – put the sack on the ground and after a few days turn it over. You will have a smorgasbord of insects for your chickens to feed on. You can do this a few more times and when the insect run out simply put the seaweed in the compost.

One of our readers, Maureen Wellwood commented on our Facebook post and I thought I’d add it here, good info to be aware of … Just watch when using fresh seaweed as it contains a lot of salt from the salt water. Friends put fresh seaweed on their garden then planted cabbage When the cabbage was mature they picked one and when it was cooked it was not able to be eaten as it was so salty .it may have been the area it was collected from, I do not know, but I think it may be wise to let it rot a little before digging in and planting.

 

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