Liquid fertilizers are fertilizers that come in a liquid form, most commonly as a concentrate. In other words, the grower must dilute the liquid fertilizer in water before feeding it to the garden. Either the soil or the plant can be watered. Foliar feeding is a technique of feeding plants by applying liquid fertilizer directly to their leaves. The absorption takes place through their stomata and also through their epidermis.
- Liquid fertilizers are faster-acting than granular fertilizers.
- With a liquid fertilizer the gardener has control over dosage and how often the plants are being fed. It is much easier to tailor a feeding program to the garden’s current stage of growth with a liquid fertilizer than with a dry fertilizer.
- Liquid fertilizers also give increased control when problems arise.
- Liquid fertilizers are instantly available to the plant. This is advantageous because it allows growers to give the plants what they need at the exact time they need it.
- Liquid fertilizers can be invaluable if you’re growing cold-tolerant crops that start growing when soil temperatures are low for example, overwintered spinach or garlic/onions. Nitrogen held in the soil is difficult for plants to take up until soil temperatures rise above 10 degrees Celsius, meaning plants can experience a slow start because of a temporary nutrient deficit in late winter and early spring. Liquid fertilizers provide a boost until the soil warms up.
Always look at the dilution rates when using liquid feeds - a little goes a long way!
Liquid seaweed enables plants to make more efficient use of nutrients, leading to improved yield, taste and colour - and increased resistance to pests and diseases, drought and marginal frosts. Concentrated liquid seaweed extract is made from seaweed (Ascophyllum nodosum) freshly harvested off the Irish Atlantic coast. Seaweed extract increases the strength and health of seedlings and plants. Regular use has a cumulative effect on your garden.
Liquid seaweed is great nourishment for plants but is different from most N P K fertilizer treatments. In fact seaweed only contains a little K – potassium. But it has many other minerals, vitamins, and enzymes that are natural growth stimulants. Many of these are not found elsewhere. These nutrients fuel the plant cells’ growth, and this results in healthier, stronger, and more disease-resistant plants.
Vinasse is a by-product of the sugar industry, made through fermentation of molasses. Vinasse liquid can be taken up by plant foliage immediately because the Nitrogen is available in Protein form. The proteins together with the sugar residues have the additional effect of stimulating the micro-organisms in the soil. It is very effective where plants show signs of nutrient deficiencies like stunted growth or yellow leaves. The natural combination of Nitrogen and Potash - N(4.5) - K(6) - (together with trace elements and small amounts of Phosphate, Sulphur and Magnesium) is ideal for all plants which require high Potash levels.
You can make your own liquid fertilizer from comfrey of nettles - both are rich in potash. To make liquid feed you will need a quantity of nettle/comfrey leaves and a large barrel/bucket. Break up the leaves a bit and jam as many as possible into the container. Weigh them down with a piece of wood and cover with water. Cover with a lid of some sort to keep out rain and flies. After about six weeks in isolation (it smells a bit) you will have a rich dark brown liquid that can be diluted as a feed for your tomatoes or potatoes. The residual sludge can be put on the compost heap. For a stronger less smellier feed don't put water into the barrel. Collect the brown liquid as it drips from the decomposing leaves. A barrel with a tap is good for this method.
Biostimulants both feed and protect the plant – encouraging it to defend itself from pests and diseases. When absorbed after watering or spraying the active elements in biostimulant products will increase the plant resistance and will develop the defence system, which is a self-induced system, thus a natural weapon against attacks by aggressors, like fungal diseases and pests. The growth of the plants is stimulated and the plants will be stronger and healthier. A Biostimulant is systemic and moves within the vascular tissues of the plant.
Fruit Hill Farm have range of products made from a highly concentrated blend of herbal extracts in a water base. They are environmentally friendly, break down in the soil and leave no residues behind. They can be used against insects and fungus/moulds on both herbaceous and woody plants. Very good against carrot fly.
If you are using a liquid feed you will need a sprayer! Look for one that is high quality, easy to fill and easy to clean. It should come with a range of spraying options from fine - coarse to give you greater control. You could also consider a mixing sprayer which can be attached to a hose-pipe which will automatically adds liquid fertilizer to the water in the chosen dosage.