12 July 2007

Homemade fertilisers (fertilizers)

One of the things H and I are trying to do is to bring as little as possible into our home from outside. We try to make or grow what we need and that applies in the garden too. Here are some recipes for homemade fertilisers.

Cut the leaves from the comfrey plant before it flowers and throw the leaves into a bucket that has a lid. Half fill the bucket with leaves and put a brick on top of them to stop them floating. Fill the bucket with water and put the lid on. It will smell ... a lot. Stir it every couple of days and in two or three weeks you'll have a nice brown liquid that is an excellent feed for your green leafy plants. It's high in nitrogen so it will really give them a boost. USE: Strain the leaves out of the mixture and put them in the compost. Add 20mls of your comfrey mix to every 2 litres of water and add a couple of grated pieces of soap to help it stick to the leaves when you spray it on. If you have any comfrey tea left over, pour it onto your compost. It will help it decompose.

Take two shovel fulls of horse/cow/sheep/pig maure, or one shovel of chook poo and place it in a hessian bag. Place the bag in a large barrel and fill to the top with water. Let this sit of 7 - 10 days. USE: It can be used straight, poured onto the soil around plants, or dilute it (50:50) for delicate plants. Don't waste what's left of the poo in the hessian bag. Dig it into the compost heap.

Almost fill a watering can or bucket with water. Add half a cup of worm castings, one tablespoon molasses, one tablespoon of fish fertiliser and half tablespoon of seaweed concentrate. Stir this well for at least five minutes. USE: Pour this on and around your plants first thing in the morning.

If your garden bed
will stand empty for a while, plant a green manure crop. This can be any legume type plant like cow peas or broad beans, or you try a grass like oats or barley. If you have left over peas or beans, use them, or buy green manure seeds from somewhere like Green Harvest (see further reading below). When the crop is about a meter high, cut it off and leave it as mulch. When you're ready to plant again your soil will be alive and healthy and ready for the new crops.




  1. Thankyou Rhonda for sharing these recipes. I have got a lot of Comfrey that i struck from root cuttings and ample supply of all the other ingredients.
    So thankyou again
    Big Hugs

  2. Isn't comfrey such a useful plant!! Thanks for the interesting links too Rhonda :)

  3. I have just aquired a comfrey plant thanks to John and Zoe from ALS and its doing quite well considering its not surpose to well here, I made up a stash of sheep poo manure tea yesturday and used some wonderful worm juice on the vegies. My first go at the sheep poo liquid has boosted our citrus but mind you i had a big accident when opening the bucket and poured about 3 litres over myself. I really stunk and couldnt get the smell out. Tea tree oil eventually helped. Thanks for some useful tips and recipes Rhonda. Neisha

  4. I have some comfrey coming from green harvest which I'll hopefully get to plant this weekend. I've heard comfrey can be invasive Rhonda, especially if the roots are disturbed. Do you have any thoughts on this?

  5. Rhonda, yes it's best to grow confrey from root cuttings. People always seem to have trouble with the seeds.

    Ali, it's the herb I ALWAYS have growing.

    Yikes Neisha!

    Susan, if you can't get the seeds to germinate, I'll send you some root cuttings. I have also heard mthat confrey is invasive, and I suppose it is, but not in the way most people think. Comfrey is a clumping plant and doesn't run away from the original planting. However, if you try to remove it, you'll have Buckley's. It will reshoot from just the slightest piece of root. It's a valuable plant that we should be growing, but make sure you plant it's in a space that you won't want for anything else.

  6. Heh, I remember having an old nappy bucket with lid brewing comfrey "tea". A friend of Linsey's ran into it on a bike and knocked the bucket over. Gah...STINK! I tried to retrieve the sludge but the liquid was lost on the paving.

  7. Rhonda, thank you for yet another kind offer but these are actually root cuttings from green harvest. I think it's something new they've just started to offer. No guarantees that I'll actually manage to grow them however (I seem to do badly with cuttings) so I may yet take you up LOL. I have a quiet corner to put them in so they won't be disturbed and I'll see how they go.

    I received my seeds in the post today, thank you! Beans as well - so generous of you. Roll on Spring!

  8. We just planted a comfrey root this summer. How long should we wait before we begin using the leaves or the root? I don't know much about it. My daughter, 17, thought we could use it. She's really into herbal fixes -- now she just someone to break something!

  9. Susan,I think we all remember our comfrey tea accidents. It embeds itself into your brain. LOL

    Kim, your daughter is a smart girl. Let the clump establish before you start using it. Once you have 6 or so leaves, even if they're small you could do some gentle harvesting. I'd leave the root alone for the first year. Once the clump is fully established, you can do anything you like to it. I often slice into my plants with a shovel to get root cuttings for friends. Here the leaves grow to about 25 - 30 inches and H goes in and cuts it back with the edge trimmer. We throw it on the compost heap if we don't want it for anything else. It stimulates decomposition in a compost heap. The chooks eat it sometimes, so you might want to see if they'll eat some too.

    I'll see if I can find some info on comfrey I have in my favourites and add it to this post.

  10. Have you tried nettles in a similar way to comfrey? I discovered this too late to take advantage of my huge quantity of almost me height nettles that have taken over in the monsoon season that we are experiencing. Next Spring I'll be making gallons of the stuff!

  11. Have just found your blog and found it very interesting. I've been looking for some info on sheep poo liquid fert as I'm currently making some to feed my tomatoes and courgettes. I've seen concerns raised on other sites that it might contain parasites (such as liver fluke.)How can you remove such possible contamination?Hope you can help.


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