Manure produced by herbivorous animals has long been touted for its benefits for any garden. This excellent soil amendment adds organic content, improves soil texture and substance, and boosts moisture retention capabilities. Manure can be cheaply and easily converted into homemade organic fertilizer. The most commonly available manures are cow, horse and chicken, and all will work just fine. The best source for manure is a farm, where the proprietor will probably invite you to help yourself if approached about his or her fresh stock. Failing that, manure and composted manure products can be purchased from garden supply, hardware, and even some department retailers.
Pour about a gallon of manure into an old pillowcase. One or two spadefuls would be about right. Tie a knot in the end of the pillowcase, creating a large tea bag.
Set a plastic 5-gallon bucket in the sunshine where it will be out of your way for a few days. Fill it with water to about 4 to 6 inches from the top. Immerse the bag of manure in the water. Don't cover the bucket because developing gases must be allowed to escape. Let it sit and steep for a week, and stir it once every day.
Lift the bag from the water and squeeze the excess fluid back into the bucket. Strain the liquid manure tea fertilizer through a pillowcase into another bucket if any solids are still floating around in it. Add the remaining manure solids to your compost heap.
Add 1 cup of Epsom salts if your plants require extra magnesium and sulfur. Roses typically adore this addition.
Dilute each pint of manure tea solution with about a gallon of water, so that the resulting fertilizer resembles watered-down tea in color. Remember that it's always better if the preparation is a little too weak rather than too strong.
Use the diluted homemade organic fertilizer just as you would any other liquid plant food. Apply 1 pint to small plants, 2 pints to medium-size plants, and so on.
Cover the homemade organic fertilizer to keep mosquitoes from breeding in it. Store in a cool, dark place.