Just like people, plants require nutrients to survive and flourish. Although many types of soil contain adequate amounts of nutrients, plants frequently deplete levels of existing nourishing ingredients. The application of commercially prepared fertilizers reintroduces necessary elements into the soil of crops, garden vegetables, fruit trees, flowers and houseplants. Make your own liquid plant food, also known as manure tea, to use as an economical alternative to commercial fertilizers.
Gather some fresh manure. Select manure from cows, horses, rabbits, sheep or chickens. Select fresh manure to avoid bacterial and fungal contamination present in some types of aged manure. Collect at least a cupful for use in a few houseplants, or gather a bucketful for an average-sized garden.
Scoop the manure into a cotton, burlap or nylon sack. Avoid using a material with a fine weave that inhibits the absorption of water. Tie the end of the manure bag closed with a piece of string. Connect the tied portion of your bag to the middle of a sturdy stick at least 4 to 6 feet long.
Fill a waterproof container, such as a large plastic bucket or watering pail, with warm water. Avoid using non-galvanized metals which rust when wet, creating toxic levels of iron in your plant food. Determine the correct amount of water by multiplying the amount of manure by 10. For instance, if you gathered 1 cup of manure, use 10 cups of water in your bucket.
Hang the manure bag over your container of warm water. Adjust the bag by loosening or tightening the string attached to the stick until the bag is fully immersed in the water. Avoid resting the bag on the bottom of the pail or hanging it above the level of the water in the bucket.
Stir your liquid plant fertilizer every few days by raising the bag above the pail and mixing the liquid in the bucket. Allow the liquid mixture to ferment in this manner for approximately six to eight weeks.
Remove the manure bag from the liquid and dispose of the entire contents. Siphon your manure tea into bottles or jars to store until you are ready to use it on your plants.