Making Organic Plant Feed

If you are starting to grow your own or making the transition to organic gardening then you may be wondering how give your plants the extra boost they need to thrive by feeding them and providing the nutrients that may be low or lacking in the soil where you live. The good news is that you do not need to buy expensive organic fertilisers because it is very easy (though be warned, somewhat stinky!) to make your own at home. Here are a few good concoctions that make wonderful feeds for your plants and vegetables:

Comfrey tea:

Comfrey is something of a miracle worker in the garden. You can grow it easily from root or crown sections. Be sure to get a sterile variety – Bocking 14 is the usual one found. These cannot self-seed. If you get one which can seed itself then you may have a bit of a problem on your hands – they get everywhere and can be pretty difficult to remove as they have long tap roots and will regrow from any remaining root sections. Comfrey is a dynamic accumulator, which means that it gathers nutrients from deep in the soil and using them as a mulch or as a fertiliser can make those nutrients available to other plants in your garden. Place a large handful of comfrey in a bucket of water and let it rot down into a stinky stew. It will be ready in about a month. This potion can then be diluted so it is the colour of weak tea and used to water tomatoes and whatever other hungry plants you may have. Comfrey tea is one of the best home made feeds there is. It contains more potash and nitrogen than most commercial feeds. Just keep a lid on the bucket and do not put it too close to the door – it really reeks.

Seaweed tea:

If you are lucky enough to live by the coast then you could raid the beach for your fertiliser. Seaweed is an excellent fertiliser and fresh seaweed will not have too high a salt content after a quick rinse. Be sure to get fresh seaweed not dried. You could use seaweed as a mulch or chop it up for use in a tea. Seaweed is an excellent soil amender as it contains a lot of trace elements.

Nettle tea:

Nettles are very high in nitrogen and so make a fantastic tea (make as you would comfrey tea above) to use on leafy plants like brassicas that have high nitrogen requirements. It should go without saying but you should wear a glove to pick nettles, though if you are stung remember that nettle stings are good for you- they boost the immune system.

Weed bin tea:

Great news for all of you who suffer with persistent weeds. Those weeds can actually be very useful. In addition to nettles, just bung all your dandelions, dock leaves etc. into a bucket of water, dilute as you would comfrey tea and use the stinky brew as a general purpose organic fertiliser. Not only are you getting rid of your weeds, you are making use of them, returning surplus to the system.