You’ve probably heard the common nutritional advise urging us to eat fish. Turns out it’s good advice for plants, too.
My favorite fertilizer is fish emulsion. You probably remember learning in school that the Native Americans taught the Pilgrims to bury a fish when planting corn and other crops. Same idea.
I use fish emulsion–not frequently, maybe three or four times a year–on indoor and outdoor plants, including my edibles, and sometimes my lawn. The label calls for feeding every three weeks, but I never manage that frequency.
You can feed all sorts of plants with fish emulsion. And unlike many chemical fertilizers, you don’t have to worry much about burning plants.
The biggest downside to fish emulsion is it’s smell. Odor, would be a more appropriate word. But I use my imagination and pretend that rather than working in my Denver garden, I’m walking past a fish market in Portugal.
Honestly, the stink is not that strong. My bottle’s label reads “deodorized,” but that’s stretching the truth a bit. I can smell the stuff. My dogs used to get awfully interested in the stench. After I watered with fish emulsion, Friday and Copper looked as if they were scheming to figure out ways to climb into my containers so they could roll around in the smelly stuff–much the way they instinctively wanted to roll on a dead fish on the beach if they could find one.
But, hey, those caustic odors from chemical fertilizers offend me a lot more.
So give fish emulsion a try. It’s organic and earth-friendly, even if a bit odiferous for a short while.
Fish emulsion is the fluid remains of fish processed for fish meal and fish oils. it’s thick liquid, a gross brown color, and sometimes gloppy when you pour it, so get out your overalls or an apron or an old T-shirt. You don’t want to get fish emulsion on your church clothes.
I mix a fish emulsion solution in my watering can, but you can use a bucket or any sort of container. Your plants will appreciate it. Just think of it as a hearty fish stew for your hungry plant friends.
Click on this link for an earlier entry: a grocery shopper’s lists of most and least pesticide contaminated produce .
Colleen Smith’s debut novel Glass Halo, set in Denver, was a finalist for the Santa Fe Literary Prize and was praised in the latest issue of The Bloomsbury Review. The novel is available online and through your favorite bookstore.
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