Something Fishy Lurking in our Soil

Our farm uses a lot of fish emulsion as natural fertilizer. Fish emulsion has high organic nitrogen. It’s a great soil conditioner and provides bacterial food to feed the soil’s microherd. You read it right, the soil eats. We always see the soil as living. (Sometimes I feel sad thinking about how advanced we are in science, knowing a lot about outer space, worlds outside our own, but we know very little about our own soil. There are so many microorganisms in the soil, thousands of them, still unnamed by science.) Fish oils also give a substantial supply of beneficial soil fungi. The fish bones also supply extra calcium.

How do we make the Fish Emulsion?We use fresh fish scraps from the nearby market, using the juices, sauces or oils that come with these. The liquid is used to breed beneficial microbes and supply extra proteins to the emulsion. We also use fresh seaweed, which has a lot of nitrogen. These parts are composted in a bucket with other brown matter such as sawdust and leaves. We also add molasses to the mixture build up microbes, and speed up decomposition. The brown matter molasses controls the odor and absorbs organic nitrogen from the fish. The bucket is stirred daily to get air into the mixture. Remember air allows for better decomposition and better aerobic microbial growth. The bucket of fish is then made to rot for at least one week.

When all this is over, we dilute our fish emulsion at a 1:1 to 1:5 ratio. The fish emulsion is then used to spray on leaves and drench the soil. Whenever we spray the leaves, we let in small portions of nutrients into the plant through its leaves. Whenever we drench the soil with fish, we build up the soil’s microbial activities, supplying lots of nitrogen to the roots and topsoil. What more, using fish emulsion as our foliar spray helps us get rid of pests too. They hate the fishy smell, no matter how miniscule. We poke holes in the soil to get more oxygen in the soil too, and further increase organic matter decomposition, while increasing the activities of microbes in the soil. Our soils love their daily dose of fish meal. The earthworms too!

Don’t forget that you can actually make your own homemade version of our fish emulsion for your house plants or garden. The resulting mix is as unique as every flower farm or every garden.

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7 responses to this post.

  1. Thank-you for visiting The Katillac Shack blog today!

    I love your organic approach to farming! YEAAAHHHHHH!!!

    love, kelee

    Reply

  2. Posted by Ramella on June 2, 2011 at 7:14 pm

    Do fish emulsion contains an ample amount of magnesium and potassium?

    Reply

    • I believe the fish emulsion has little bit of all of the essential minerals. And I’m sure it has other properties that I am yet to discover. It repels our insects and builds up our plant’s immune system. I don’t really know the science behind it though.

      Reply

  3. Posted by Prof. Noeme on June 2, 2011 at 9:00 pm

    Do fish emulsion could be a medium of contamination of harmful fungi??

    Reply

    • The fish emulsion we use is the oil that stays on top of the fermented fish waste (we ferment the waste with 50% molasses.) The fermentation process should eliminate any harmful bacteria and fungi.

      Reply

  4. […] While planning your garden, you should also prepare fermented fish. Our farm uses a lot of fish emulsion as natural fertilizer. Fish emulsion has high organic nitrogen. It’s a great soil conditioner and provides bacterial food to feed the soil’s microherd. Here is a link on how to make fish emulsion. […]

    Reply

  5. […] Fish Emulsion (Fish Amino Acid/Foliar): More than a pesticide, it doubles as a great fertilizer. Fish emulsions are wonderful sources of nutrients.  Read about Fish Emulsion here. […]

    Reply

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