Liquid feeds provide nutrients in a form that is readily available to plants. They can be used to feed vigorous hungry plants growing in a restricted environment such as a pot or a growbag or in the open ground where the soil is poor. They can be used as a foliar spray where soil conditions or root damage prevent sufficient uptake of nutrients by a plants roots.
This is available on the market and is a rich source of nutrients, especially effective when mixed with seaweed solution and applied as a liquid feed.
Seaweed extract is a plant growth stimulant rather than a supplier of plant food. Rich in iodine and potassium and contains all the trace elements and compounds which promote healthy growth. It has been shown to have remarkable effects on plant growth as well as pest and disease resistance.
Recipe: Collect enough seaweed to fill a sealable container, cover with water and leave to decompose for 2 months when seaweed has dissolved. Dilute one part to four parts water.
EQUISITUM TEA (HORSETAIL)
This is a foliar feed to promote healthy leaf growth. Made from the dried plant and boiling water and used after cooling down and diluting.
Comfrey liquid can be used as a general fertiliser but its nitrogen levels are too low for plants living in a very restricted environment such as hanging baskets. It is particularly useful for tomatoes, peppers and other potash loving plants. Comfrey is a considerable source of potassium but lesser in amounts of nitrogen and phosphate. It is slightly alkaline and not recommended for acid loving plants.
When making comfrey liquid it is best to use cultivated comfrey rather than the wild version.
Harvesting can be done up to 5 times in the growing season but not later than early autumn to allow sufficient re-growth for the following year. A comfrey bed can last up to 20 years if tended properly.
Concentrate Recipe: Make holes in the bottom of a bucket, fill with leaves, cover the top of leaves and weight down with a brick. The liquid that seeps through the bottom should be caught in a tray and bottled. Dilute 10:1 with water.
Ready-to-use Recipe: Fill a container with cut comfrey and cover with water in the ratio of 1lb of comfrey to 1 gallon of water. Exclude light with a lid and in about 4 weeks a clear liquid can be drawn off. Note - do not use metal containers.
Nettle makes a good balanced feed, high in nitrogen to stimulate leafy growth. Use early spring nettles for the highest mineral content. Prepare liquid in the same way as the ready-to-use recipe of comfrey liquid. But dilute 1 part to 10.
LIQUID ANIMAL MANURE
Contains small quantities of all the major nutrients but is rich in trace elements. Sheep droppings make a stronger solution than cowpat and pig droppings are reputedly the most foul smelling option.
You can use it in varying strengths. Diluted to resemble weak tea is good foor newly planted fruit trees which do not have much root. When it resembles strong tea it’s excellent for mature fruit trees carrying a heavy crop.
Recipe: (Not for people with weak stomachs) Hang a sack of manure in a bucket of water. After 2-3 days of soaking, prod and stir and the water should be nicely permeated.
Another highly nitrogenous liquid feed. Good for brassicas, melons and other hungry feeders.
This is rich in nitrogen and contains significant potassium and other nutrients. Dilute 20 to 1. An excellent feed for lawns and undiluted is a good compost activator.