As spring gets going, your vegetables will amp up their growth. 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, I bet you have what you need at home for at least one of these recipes below.
5 Liquid Fertilisers your plants will love
Manure tea, compost tea, seaweed tea… if you add the word tea at the end it almost sounds appealing….
An excellent source of nitrogen. You’ll need 1 part well-aged manure and 5 parts, 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 in the bucket. Top with water and cover (it’s like a giant tea bag!) Let it sit for 1-2 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.
Same ratio as above, 1 parts 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 1 part homemade compost and top with 5 parts water. Stir and let it sit for 4 days. When ready to use, strain it through some sort of cloth (e.g an old t-shirt). Use it immediately and dilute to the ratio of 1:10.
Seaweed Liquid Fertiliser
Living in New Zealand means this one is an easy one to make- 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 part ratio again. Scour your local beach for the seaweed, you won’t need a huge amount. Rinse the seaweed well first to remove excess salt, then place in bucket, cover with water and let it sit. The seaweed needs to decompose for this fertiliser so you can let it sit for about 8 weeks in a dark place, away from your house. This one can get a bit stinky! Dilute to a ratio of 1:2.
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 2-3 banana peels in 600ml water for a few days, the minerals will leach into the water and you can use the water as it is for your plants, no need to dilute. Give the soaked peels to your worms or put in the compost
- Banana peel smoothie: Blitz your peels up with a cup of water to make a banana peel slurry! Pour this on the base of your roses, they’ll love you for it.
- Banana smoothie: Spoiled, old bananas can be blitzed up too into liquid and poured around your plants. Try it in your vegetable garden!
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 means the plant can absorb more nutrients which are passed into the leaves. These leaves can be put in the weed tea and all the nutrients will leach out into the water, ready to be poured back into the garden!
Stick with the 1/5 ratio (1 part weeds, 5 parts water) and fill a bucket with all your sourced weeds. Cover with water and put a lid on it. 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.