Tomato plants are hungry creatures and after sowing the tomato seeds in late March, the plants are growing beautifully in the greenhouse. Peppers and aubergines should be growing strong as well by now, and it will be time soon to put them into their final position and feed them some high nitrogen fertilizer to encourage growth. Here are a few tips on how to make your very own liquid fertilizer for free.
Stinging nettle – Urtica dioica
If you have an allotment plot or a garden you must have some stinging nettles growing somewhere and you think it is very hard to get rid of this perennial weed. It has a fast growing yellow rhizome and as it is a perennial it is best to keep it at bay or will take over your garden. This plant is used as a medicinal pant and as a food source too. And the plants are high in nitrogen which is why it is used as a compost activator and to make liquid feed. The best time is to use nettles as a feed is before flowering because the plants are somewhat low in phosphorus, but high in nitrogen, magnesium and iron.
Comfrey – Symphytum officinale
This plant is a quite common perennial herb which is full of nitrogen, potash and phosphorus. Comfrey is very similar in appearance to borage as they are in the same family Boragonaceae. The roots grow really deep to get all the goodness from the soil what other plants cannot get to. Some tests showed that a home made comfrey liquid can contain more NPK than many of the commercially available liquid feeds. If you have a good source of comfrey it is recommended to throw them on your compost heap. To encourage flowering and the setting of the fruits it is the best to use a mix of nettle and comfrey in your liquid feed.
Making the feed
Collect nettle and comfrey foliage and place them in a container, tub or just a small bucket. Put half a brick on top of the leaves, this will ensure that the leaves will stay under water. Fill your container with water and cover the top; and let the foliage rot down, which takes about 10 days, depends how warm the weather is of course. You will know when your feed is ready as it will be really smelly. Dilute your feed until it is a light green in colour and water your tomatoes, peppers, aubergines and any other fruits and vegetables too. For best results use this feed once a week.
If you dilute the feed even further you can spray it on your plants, this will make the plant tissue stronger and make the life of sucking insects harder.