How to Make Fish Fertilizer Out of Fish Scraps


Fertilizer is used in a lawn or garden to provide a nutritional supplement. Decaying organic material releases nutrients into the soil, and decaying fish is an effective fertilizer because it releases beneficial nitrogen as it breaks down. Many commercial fertilizers, according to the Shenandoah Rose Society, are a waste product of commercial fishing, and there is no reason home gardeners can't make their own fish emulsion fertilizer.

Step 1

Fill the 5-gallon bucket halfway full with brown material, such as sawdust, leaves or straw as a base for your organic material.

Step 2

Pour molasses over your fish scraps until they are thinly covered. Molasses builds up microbes that break down the fish. Molasses also helps remove the odor of the decaying fish.

Step 3

Add several tablespoons of Epsom salts to the mixture. This adds sulfur and magnesium to your fertilizer, which plants require to grow.

Step 4

Put the fish scraps into the bucket and bury slightly under the brown material.

Step 5

Stir the mixture on a daily basis to add air to the mixture, aiding in the decomposition. Allow the mixture to rot for one to two weeks, then add the mixture to some fresh compost and apply to the garden.

Things You'll Need

  • 5-gallon bucket with lid
  • Fish scraps
  • Molasses
  • Leaves or straw
  • Water
  • Epsom salt


  • Shenandoah Rose Society: Making Your Own Fish Emulsion
  • Washington State University: Organic Fertilizers
  • Rainyside Gardener: How a Fish Becomes Fertilizer
Keywords: fish fertilizer, homemade fertilizer, homemade fish fertilizer

About this Author

Cleveland Van Cecil is a freelancer writer specializing in technology. He has been a freelance writer for three years and has published extensively on, writing articles on subjects as diverse as boat motors and hydroponic gardening. Van Cecil has a Bachelor of Arts in liberal arts from Baldwin-Wallace College.