Liquid fertilisers are one of the best ways to help your young, spring plants get the nutrition they need. One reason is because soil temperatures tend to be low in the springtime, making the soil organisms that bring nutrients to your plants sluggish. This means fewer goodies for your plants to eat. That’s where liquid fertilizers come in—they can offer these micro-nutrients straight to the plant, without having to wait for the soil to warm up. Applied directly to the ground as a tea or sprayed on the foliage, liquid fertilisers are both economical and easy to make.
Spring Plants That Could Really Benefit From A Liquid Fertiliser
Any plant that is a heavy feeder during the spring can benefit from a a liquid fertiliser. This includes
- Cut-and-come-again salad greens (i.e. lettuce, mesclun, spinach, etc.)
Apply once a week as a tea to plants full in growth.
Types of Homemade Organic Teas
All of these teas are best if stirred once or twice a day.
How to make Manure Tea
This tea is made simply by filling a burlap bag half full with fresh manure and then submerging in a garbage can filled with about 25 gallons of water. (I do mine in smaller quantities—soaking smaller amounts in 5 gallon buckets.) In about 7-21 days you’ll notice the tea begin to truly reek; this means it’s ready. Dilute the tea to 1 part tea to 4 parts water and stir well.
Nutrients Provided: The nutrient content of manure tea will depend on the type and quality of manure you use.
How to make Nettle or Comfrey Tea
This is made much in the same way that manure tea is made. Simply chop up and/or bruise the leaves well and immerse them in water. When the tea reeks, it’s ready. (If you thought manure tea reeked, wait until you smell this one!) Dilute 1 part tea to 5 parts water.
Nutrients Provided: Phosphorus, potassium, calcium, trace minerals, and plant growth regulators.
How to make Compost Tea
Some organic growers rely exclusively on compost tea for their fertiliser. To make it, fill a burlap bag half full of rich, fully digested compost (it should smell like a deep forest floor). Like manure tea, immerse it in 25 gallons of water. Stir daily and it will be ready in 1-2 weeks. Dilute it somewhere between 1 part tea to 3 parts water and 1 part tea to 10 parts water and use immediately (with 6 hours). (Again, if you need to make smaller amounts, simply soak some in a 5-gallon bucket and filter out when you dilute it.
Nutrients Provided: If stirred regularly, compost tea contains all of the soluble nutrients that occur compost natively. Depending on what type of compost you’re using, it will also contain beneficial bacteria, fungi, and protozoa.
Have a different method or some knowledge to share? Let us know!