Monday, April 15, 2013

Fertilizers for the Prepper's Garden

     The prepper always has an eye on the future.  When the yard guards or the desperate housewives are minding their own survival, we will dig up our yards and plant our gardens.  We are ready to survive on our harvests but there is no garden shop to sell us bags of fertilizer to feed our tender plants.   
             Manure tea is an age old fertilizer that could be available to you in a post-TSHTF world, if you know how to make it.  
Obtain manure from vegetarians.  I do not mean to annoy your in-laws who don’t eat meat! I mean vegetarians like horse, cow, (some say chicken, but I mean to say, grain fed chicken). For now, almost anyone who owns or boards horses will give away the stuff!
Place the manure in a burlap sack,old pillow case or a square of any loosely woven fabric scrap tied to at the corners to make a bag and set in a big bucket or barrel. Five pounds of manure for a five gallon bucket.  Up to fifty pounds of manure go in a fifty-five gallon barrel. Fill to capacity with water.  Let it stand for a month.  You can pick up the bag and rinse it up and down in the bucket or you could stir it with a stick!  Pretty much just make sure the water level never goes below the halfway mark in the container.  At the end of the month, remove the bag and any straw, sand or stray matter will come with it.  Fill the container to the top with water and treat your garden to a nutritional natural organic fertilizer.  

If you are raising rabbits, you are also raising fertilizer.

     I bought some Black Cow brand manure from Wal-Mart last year.  It is readily available at Home Depot and Lowe's.  It is full of sand.  This is not altogether a bad thing.  I have made my manure tea as I would have with a hot steaming donation of fresh from the horse, but with the bagged Black Cow manure.  I felt the tea happened quicker than with fresh.  It was as dark and the plants didn’t complain.  The biggest difference I experienced was the smell (it was not as intense as fresh) and the sand.  When I removed the bag and had a bag of manure/sand mix, mostly sand, I took a handful of it and slapped it up against an oak tree like a mud pie.  I placed it between two leaves of a golden pothos vine that was only bearing small leaves and not growing very fast.  The sandy mud pie dried quickly and remained in place.  The vine grew leaves twice their original size and doubled in length.  I also noticed it wintered outdoors very well.  
     Gardeners living near the coast could enjoy the use of seaweed as a fertilizer.  Plow it directly into the soil to amend it.  They say the salt content discourages weeds.  Plow it in the fall and let it rot away all winter before plowing and planting in the spring.

     If you have a fish pond or aquarium you have a fertilizer farm!  Clean the aquarium filter in a bucket or barrel.  Pour the green, fishy nitrogen rich goo in the garden!  Or, Lower the pond’s water level into your garden and replace with fresh.

     I have stated earlier that I like to use Cod Liver oil as a plant food in container gardening and fish emollient was a traditional Native American fertilizer.  Rotting fish is not red meat waste.  It does smell bad when handling and can attract cats which is why I use a fish oil product indoors and manure tea outdoors.
     Don't throw out the 'extra' red wigglers after a fishing trip!  If the worms are dead, make manure tea from the contents of the cup.  If the worms are alive, throw them in your compost heap. The worms will break down your heap faster and will give you the finest humus to work into your garden.

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