RECIPES FOR LIQUID NUTRITION AND REMEDIES
Commercial fertilizers and pest control products often contain a confusing array of dubious sounding ingredients, which may upset the fine balance of lifeforms essential to healthy life giving soil. Therefore just like when I’m cooking, I prefer to make my own from scratch, and it couldn’t be easier!
If you have the space to grow your own comfrey, you can make a fantastic tea or jauche, rich in potash which will reward you with more intensely flavoured fruit and will enrich the colour of your flowers. Even if you don’t have room for these tall plants, try a little guerilla gardening and scatter some seed on a piece of local wasteland (be sure it isn’t patrolled by strimmers in summer).
Chop the plants with a spade into 6″ lengths and cover with water for 1-2 days’ for a foliar spray or up to 2 weeks for a concentrated liquid feed, which you will need to dilute 1 to 4 when using. Treat potatoes, tomatoes, fruit and flowers when coming into bud.
I make a similar tea with nettles, which as a foliar spray, packed with formic acid helps control caterpillars, greenfly and aphids. Apply in late afternoon or evening for best results. It can also be sprayed on the soil as a general tonic.
Be advised that all of these concoctions carry a strong smell, but by far the most potent is the liquid manure which gives my tomatoes the most deliciously intense flavour. Being lucky enough to live in the country I have access to farm manure but if you live in town try asking at stables or city farms. In spring the farmers “dag” their sheep which is when the rear ends are shorn clean. If you can get hold of this brown treasure you can soak the goodness out of it and dilute the results, using it as a superfood your veg will thrive on.
A wormery bin is ideal for this process as is has a grill in the bottom which stops the solid matter from bunging up the tap letting the liquid out smoothly. It’s also a good idea to strain any jauche before filling a sprayer so as not to cause blockages here too. All of the spent solid matter is added to the compost heap or the wool is used traditionally as a mulch for rhubarb, slowly releasing its nitrogen into the soil. In winter I use it as a cosy blanket, keeping my dahlia roots warm under the ground rather than lifting and storing them.