In the garden: In the name of guano

America has claimed land in the name of God, in the name of freedom, in the name of honor and for some islands, in the name of manure. The island of Navassa in the Caribbean has been part of the United States since 1857, seized under the Guano Islands Act, which requires American sea captains to seize any unoccupied guano island for the Untied States.

Guano, the manure of seabirds, sea mammals such as seals and even bats, is a valuable fertilizer and gunpowder ingredient due to its high levels of phosphorus and nitrogen.

However, guano is not the only fertilizer that the sea gives us. Like guano there's an important and valuable fertilizer made from waste.

Hog packinghouses from about the 1860s boasted that they wasted nothing and used "From the snout to the tail--everything but the squeal." Fish processors likewise make an organic liquid fertilizer from fish parts left over from the production of fish oil and fish meal.

This "fish emulsion" fertilizer, when teamed with algae or seaweed-based fertilizers makes a wonderful spray-on fertilizer. By applying the liquid fertilizer directly to the leaves, the plants are able to absorb it almost immediately.

In addition to the seemingly light concentration of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (NPK of around 5-1-1), fish emulsion with seaweed has micronutrients and trace elements that are effective pest controls.

Use fish emulsion by mixing it with water, and spraying it on plant leaves as a foliar spray.

Spray your plants' foliage with fish emulsion every two weeks until early August.

Most organic fertilizers are slow acting, because they have to decay before releasing their nutrients, but when you spray fish emulsion directly on the leaves the nutrients are released immediately.

Plants use over fifty mineral substances. Most are needed in very minute amounts, and so are called trace elements. Yet a lack of any of these trace elements will stunt plant growth.

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