Fertilising - Liquids
This term basically refers to making your own liquid fertilisers from manures/worm farms. Basically using one of those porous animal feed sacks (or the one's the sheep manure usually come in) place a couple of kilos of your chosen manure in the bag and immerse it in a large bucket of water for a few days. (Not too long.
When the fertiliser tea is ready, in our case after a week, lift the bad of pellets out of the bucket and let the liquid all drain out. Although a lot of nutrient will have leached out, the remaining manure pellets, which most likely have turned to a mud like consistency, can still be used on your garden beds, so don't throw it out. The "brew" that we achieved came from about 1-2 kg's of pellets in 10 ltrs of water. This brew needs to be watered down as it is far too strong to apply directly. Although you'll have to experiment, we found that 500ml of this concentrate in a 10 litre watering can was about right. (be guided by the colour of the diluted mix) Water all of the plants that need a feed with this diluted mix as a foliar feed (water over the leaves as it is absorbed directly)! Your brassica plants will love it and will get a real boost
This will leach the nutrients into the water and looks like strong tea. Using the resulting "tea", watered down in a watering can to liquid fertilise established crops, such as winter growing plants like cauliflower, cabbage and broccoli which are hungry feeders. The liquid fertiliser is more rapidly taken up by the plants, giving them that extra boost as they near harvesting.
Seaweed concentrates are not strictly a fertiliser, and might be better referred to as a "tonic". There are quite a few brands around, but the science that applies is the same. Basically, the chemical makeup of the solution that is produced from seaweed, stimulates the strengthening of plant cell walls and also cell division.
We always use a mix of a seaweed concentrate when planting seedlings and/or transplanting plants. This is because the mix is excellent at minimising transplant shock that occurs when plant roots are disturbed. Some plants are more susceptible to this than others. We have trialled seaweed concentrate on a range of plants with great results. Australian native plants can be very temperamental when planted out. We planted two beds, one treated and one not. We had a 100% success rate with the treated bed and only about 60-70% survival with the other. Having also endured a 10 year drought, we have also found that it greatly helps plants under these stressful conditions. A recent trial found that another well know crop brand, that comprises naturally sourced fertilisers as well as seaweed "extracts" does the trick of not only boosting the plants but also gives them a a liquid fertiliser feed as well.
Making your own Seaweed tonic?
Well yes you can, but..... I have seen a few professional gardeners be advocates for making your own tonic and or scattering seaweed over the beds. But a word of caution. Depending on where you live, it may not be legal to collect and remove seaweed from the beach. If you can, the next concern is the removal or minimising of the salt factor. High levels of salt from the ocean will burn most plants, so you need to wash off as much as possible. In my opinion, the commercially available concentrates are a much easier option. They are readily available, highly concentrated and work out to a few cents a watering can.