Liquid feeds are an easy way of getting quick nutrition to our plants. They are usually applied in one of three ways:
In place of expensive slow release fertilizers, as a regular feed during productive growing periods.
As a quick ‘pick-me-up’ when plants are hitting their most productive phase.
As a tonic if pest, diseases or adverse conditions have stressed or weakened plants.
Liquid feeds can be used as a ‘soil drench’ which means they are watered over the root areas around the base of plants or they can be used as a ‘foliar feed’ when poured directly onto foliage that then absorbs nutrients quickly.
As a rule of thumb most liquid feeds should be diluted until they are the colour of weak tea. Using a watering can with a rose attachment, liquid feeds can be applied to plants as a foliar feed or simply watered around the soil at their base.
Liquid feeds can be used all year round but are particularly useful during spring and summer when many plants are growing quickly and gross feeders such as strawberries, zucchini, and tomatoes are at their most productive.
Liquid seaweed is particularly good for plants that produce large quantities of fruit or just large fruit - melons, cucumbers, tomatoes and sweetcorn for instance. It is full of nutrients and trace elements that promote healthy plant growth and productive harvests. It also feeds the soil – stimulating the activity of useful bacteria that break down soil particles into nutrient compounds that can be more easily taken up by plants. Research has shown that when seeds are soaked in liquid seaweed they germinate faster and produce stronger, healthier plants. Soaking the roots of seedlings with liquid seaweed reduces ‘planting shock’ when transplanting them.
Worm juice (‘vermijuice’)
This thick black liquid is brim full of beneficial bacteria that stimulate activity in the soil that releases essential nutrients such as Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium so that plants can use them. ‘Vermijuice’ also contains nutrients that can directly boost plant growth and seed germination. Usually ‘vermijuice’ is diluted 1 part to 10 parts water or until it looks like weak tea before being added to plants as a foliar feed or simply watered at their base.
Is rich in potassium, an essential nutrient for healthy strong growth in many plants – especially fast growing gross feeders such as tomatoes, zucchini and potatoes. Tomatoes love comfrey so use a solution of diluted comfrey regularly once small fruits have formed and apply about every two weeks up until harvest.
The advantage of using liquid cow or horse manure is that it can easily be applied straight to plants without spreading around or having to be worked into the soil. Nitrogen-rich, well-rotted manure is soaked in a bucket or barrel of water for a couple of days and the liquid is then taken off and used as a feed – residue in bottom of container can be used as a mulch or thrown into compost heap. Dilute the liquid to the colour of weak tea.