All gardeners want plants that are healthy and vibrant, with lush full foliage and flowers that bloom profusely. Short of a magic wand to produce instant results, most gardeners provide fertilizer to help their plants stay healthy and grow quickly. Liquid fertilizers are an effective choice for gardeners because they release nutrients more quickly than dry fertilizers and allow plants to absorb those nutrients more rapidly. There are numerous possibilities to choose from when using liquid fertilizers.
Commercially Produced Products
All types of garden and home maintenance stores carry commercially produced liquid fertilizers, ranging from seaweed or kelp extracts, to fish extracts, to blends containing all the various minerals and vitamins found in dry fertilizers. These liquid fertilizers contain blends of the same primary nutrients that any complete fertilizer contains—nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. You can find liquid fertilizers formulated for specific kinds of plants just as you can with dry fertilizers.
Any gardener who composts can make this tea by steeping compost in water, much as tea is steeped. The process takes three or four days and involves brewing, mixing, aerating and straining. Advocates of compost tea use the resulting mixture both as a spray and as liquid fertilizer. However, some studies have found that compost tea can damage plants if the tea has not been aerated properly and that compost tea does not provide the organic matter to benefit soil.
Instant Fertilizer Smoothie
Many of the nutrients that exist in the compost pile began as kitchen scraps. Eggshells, coffee grounds, tea leafs and fruit or vegetable scraps all contain minerals and vitamins that are helpful for plants. A simple method to convert these to liquid fertilizer, according to Fine Gardening online, is to simply blend them with water in a household blender, dilute with an equal amount of water and pour them directly into your flower bed.
Seaweed, or kelp, provides a healthy dose of minerals vital to a plant. If you live near the seashore, seaweed is a readily available natural product to use in the garden. It’s very important to rinse the seaweed thoroughly to remove the salt before processing it into a form your plants can use. To produce a liquid fertilizer, fill a garbage can halfway with rinsed seaweed and let it stand for two to three months. The resulting liquid can be diluted in a bucket of water in a ratio of one-half cup seaweed liquid to one bucket of water.
Aged manure, whether beef, poultry or even zoo animals (check with your local zoo—some do offer manure mixtures), is full of nutrients. The method for using manure liquid is the same as for seaweed; fill a garbage can with half manure and half water, let this mixture steep for one month and dilute the resulting liquid before using. Use a ratio of one cup fertilizer to one gallon of water.
With its roots high in potassium and its leaves filled with nitrogen, the herb comfrey is a natural for creating a potent liquid fertilizer. Herbal gardeners blend the entire plant in a blender to make a natural fertilizer. Let the mixture steep for three weeks to allow the plant to break down and become more accessible for your plants to absorb. The mixture can be diluted with water in a one-to-one ratio.