Angela5237
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Fish emulsion

Hey everyone,
I am looking for a new way to fertilize my garden. I have been doing some research and I found that many people have used and found success with fish emulsion in their gardens. Has anyone on this forum been successful with using this fertilization method? How do I apply it to my plants to get the most of out it?

I don't have much experience with fertilizing, so I appreciate any and all advice!

Thank you!!! :-()

imafan26
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Re: Fish emulsion

Fish emulsion comes in a bottle. It needs to be diluted. The dilution rate should be on the label. The NPK is about 5-3-1. You can apply it to the plants once a week.

It is a good organic nitrogen source for growth.

On the down side, it is made from fermented fish, so it stinks. Your neighbors may complain if you use it too much or in low dilution. It is best not to use it when other people are not around. You can dilute it more to make it weaker. It also will attract flies and cats. Other than that, it really is great. Whenever, I have a problem with my plants and think it might be nutritional, I use the fish emulsion because it is a complete organic fertilizer.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Fish emulsion

Fish emulsion is really good stuff. I can't use it, because even dilute, it drives the cats and raccoons crazy and they dig up my plants looking for the fish.
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Susan W
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Re: Fish emulsion

I try to use fish on the basil and other herbs I need to grow on a regular basis, that being every 7 -10 days. This season not so much, as there has been regular rain, and most pots need more drying out than more water! I use the Alaska brand, comes in qt bottle at the box stores. It is rated at 5 -1-1, so not real strong, and doesn't burn. I mix in 5 gallon buckets and use a dipper (coffee can) to water the plants. This brand is de-odorized, so just a light odor left, and is OMRI listed.
It is great for green and over all plant health, but not much for blooms/fruiting.
Have fun!
Susan

Susan W
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Re: Fish emulsion

I forgot to mention I use John's Recipe (Lady Bug Brand) on the seedlings and starts. It's available at some garden centers, comes in qt bottle. It has fish and other ingredients, doesn't stink, rated at 3 -1.5 -2. Given the low numbers, I use regular strength on the babies. (tablespoon to gal water).
Have fun!
Susan

Angela5237
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Location: Long Island, NY

Re: Fish emulsion

@Rainbow- My neighbor feeds the stray cats of the area, so I'm thinking now that it won't be a good idea to use on my plants since you had them digging up your plants..The cats are always making their way through my yard and on occasion I find them climbing into my fenced off enclosure where my vegetables are.

@imafan- Thank you for your advice!

@Susan- Being that you use John's recipe and it doesn't have an odor, do you find it attracting cats, raccoon's, flies, etc?


Also, are there any other great fertilization options that I can use aside from fish emulsion that you all know of/use?

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applestar
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Re: Fish emulsion

What plants do you want to fertilize? As described above, fish emulsion is primarily nitrogen and good for green leafies and herbs. Also for heavy feeders in the earlier phase, but as they start blooming and fruiting, you need to increase the other nutrients and cut back of the N to balance them out.

After the initial garden prep, normally I don't use much more than home made compost and AACT for everything including tomatoes. I mulch with grass and weed clippings, leaves, hay and straw, and rely on the solid foodweb.

This year, a technique I'm playing with is building a compost pile in the middle of garden bed. This has meant less finished compost to harvest and spread around due to difficulty in turning, etc.

But this year I'm trying to improve my onion, corn and cucurbit growing skills, so I am experimenting with alfalfa pellets and bran in addition to my usual other stuff.

Last year, I bought fish meal which actually smelled less than fish emulsion, but only because it was on clearance sale. But I'm sure that would attract the critters just as much.
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ReptileAddiction
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Re: Fish emulsion

I have found that the more expensive versions of fish emulsion are not so high in nitrogen (they are more balanced) and they don't hardly stink. I use fish emulsion for almost everything and I absolutely love it. I use the Neptunes Harvest though it is pricey and only available from nurseries.

As to the cat issue, since the pricier stuff smells less I have not had issues with strays. I even had a stray that decided that my family was it's family. It got to the point where we would just let it in the house because it would bolt in whenever we opened the door anyway. That cat never messed with anything after I used the fish emulsion.

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applestar
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Re: Fish emulsion

Neptune's Harvest is cold processed hydrolized (enzyme digested) fish and actually very different from fish emulsion. It's supposed to be better for plants in a different way than the high N source fish emulsion.
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

jahjoe
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Re: Fish emulsion

Fish emulsion is produced my the fishing industry after they have extracted more valuable products like fish oil and other things for the health and medical industry. Much of it value as a plant food is loss. It is NOT a complete food. What you want is called fish hydro-slate, a product made from WHOLE fish,, crab, or shrimp.

imafan26
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Re: Fish emulsion

If you are trying to be organic, remember that the real point is to feed the soil, not the plant. If you support the soil community, in turn it feeds the plant. It takes about 3 years for an organic garden to be able to do this as well as with conventional fertilizer.
Before then you are building the soil community and plants are generally healthier but smaller and less productive than the same plants in a conventional garden. A garden that does both, adding compost and slow and fast fertilizer also builds the soil community as long as the fertizer is in proper amounts (usually based on a soil test), and has enough available nutrients to get plants to be tall and productive. Plant health is dependent on cultural practices and what you are doing to encourage beneficial insects to come into the garden. A strong garden patrol will protect your plants and keep them healthy with the mininum use of pesticides. You will have to tolerate some damage though, otherwise the predators will leave.

You will need to supplement before then with additional food especially when plants are young and demand more nitrogen for growth.

You should always be adding compost all the time. It is best to use a blended compost made from a variety of different sources. Mulching will help retain moisture and over time an organic mulch will break down and add to the soil.
Before planting you can use organic fertilizers like Garden tone, vegetable tone, plant tone. It will take 2-3 times as much organic food as conventional fertilizer because 1) organic food has more organic filler 2) NPK is low and available N usually less than half of what is listed on the bag. The bag lists total Nitrogen. Over time the soil microbes will convert the unavailable nitrogen and make it more available to themselves and the plants 3) Slow release organic fertilizers may take 2 years to completely release their nutrients. Hence, why it takes about 3 years with constant inputs of organic materials to have nutrients regularly available. 4) Soil microbes will use the nitrogen first and the plants get it afterwards. When you have a new garden and young plants, you may have to supplement the nitrogen with additional fertilizer. Composted manures are another source of nitrogen you can add before you plant. Again, it will release nutrients over time. Fish emulsion, compost tea, blood meal are sources that will release relatively fast in a form that the plants can take up. It helps if you plant beans and legumes first instead of heavy feeders like tomatoes to build up the nitrogen stores.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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