Make Your Own Liquid Fertilizer
Over the years, we've become avid home gardeners. We don't have a lot of space at this time, but we utilize what we have and very much enjoy our bounty when it comes time to harvest. We grow flowers, vegetables, and herbs on our balcony and each plant can have different requirements. Some prefer more rich soil and are 'heavy feeders' while others are quite content to be watered all season long with little attention to anything else. I'm learning all the time through trial and error, and it's terribly exciting when we've tried something new and it's helped to make our plants thrive.
Hungry, Hungry Vegetables
We don't have the room to grow everything we want, but we grow what we love to eat. Years ago, we were gifted some beautiful, heirloom Bulgarian tomato seeds. We learned to grow these tomatoes from seed and love the flavor and variety. They are so delicious! We've also come to learn what they like and what their needs are. Tomatoes, like most flowering vegetables, like to have an abundance of nutrients. Not all vegetables will need the same amounts, however. We practice organic gardening, so that means we want to do everything we can to naturally boost the yield and overall health of our garden. This means giving each plant the nutrients it needs when it needs them in order to produce the best-tasting and most nutritious crop.
There are many different DIY fertilizers and this recipe is just one of them. It's essentially free to make (assuming you can acquire the ingredients for free, as we did) and is very nutritious for your garden. I managed to get my hands on some donkey manure from the local animal park and aged - or "cured" - it in the sun for a while before using the following recipe to make liquid fertilizer. If you do not take the time to cure the manure, it will be too strong and can actually burn your plants! We have now used the liquid fertilizer in our garden for several years with excellent results. If you have access to donkey, rabbit, goat, or horse manure, you're all set! Note that cow manure is generally too complicated as it takes a long time to cure, so stick with other farm animals.
Side note: I used rabbit manure directly on my garden - without making it into liquid fertilizer - a few years back and it was nothing short of magical. Rabbits provide one of the few manures that you do not have to cure, but rather can place directly on your soil. It is probably the best and easiest fertilizer we have used in our garden, but the liquid fertilizer is terrific, as well.
3 cups or 710 ml of water
1/2 cup or small handful of animal manure of your choice (cured donkey, horse, goat, sheep - or uncured rabbit)
Place manure into a glass jar or small container, add the water. Let steep for a few days. Strain the manure out of the jar and discard it. This recipe can be doubled or tripled or more depending on your garden and your needs. Simply use 1 part liquid fertilizer to 5 parts water when you water your plants.
I actually use the same manure for several batches before discarding it, and that's only because I don't have a ready supply of manure on hand. I don't live near a farm right now, so I simply have kept the manure I collected several years ago and have used it continually in my garden.
Using "manure tea" or liquid manure is safe and effective for growing a healthy garden. This technique has been used by gardeners and farmers for millennia, long before chemical fertilizers ever came into the picture. If you aren't too squeamish, I hope you'll give it a try. Your plants will love it!