Fish Emulsion Fertilizer

What is fish emulsion?
Fish emulsion comes primarily from the processing of a fish called the menhaden, but it could theoretically come from many types of fish. These fish are cooked and pressed to extract their oils, and some of the solid by-products are further boiled down to create fish emulsion. Fish emulsion is mixed with some chemicals including phosphoric acid to make sure it is suitable for storage and shipping, but chemicals are used in such small amounts that fish emulsion is still certified as organic in origin.

Fertilizing With Fish Emulsion
Many organic fertilizers are effective but slow acting, because they have to decay before their nutrients are released. Fish emulsion, on the other hand, is the closest an organic fertilizer can get to instant to gratification, because its nutrients are released immediately. However, it is still a relatively mild fertilizer.

What makes fish emulsion particularly attractive to the desert gardener is that it does not add salinity to the soil like chemical fertilizers do, and it also acidic in nature. Therefore, it is an excellent way to get nutrition to salt sensitive plants without damaging them.

Use Of Fish Emulsion At Phoenix Tropicals
I have found fish emulsion to be very good for my more salt sensitive plants that are too easily burned with chemical fertilizers. I use the 5-1-1 formula (5% nitrogen, and 1% phosphorus and potassium) and have used it on Mangoes, Guavas, and more and these plants have responded with new growth, darker green in their leaves, and no noticable increase in salt burn. I am still conservative when applying it for the first time, just to be safe, especially with the most sensitive plants.

One of the downsides of fish emulsion is that its direct effects are short lasting so it does need to be applied more frequently than chemical fertilizers. Also, because it is mild, it is difficult to get enough nutrition to very hungry plants such as bananas and passion fruit. It is more efficient to use chemical fertilizers with these plants since they do not burn very easily anyways.

Fish emulsion is fairly stinky so it is best to be careful not to spill it on yourself and try to keep it off your hands and clothes. Once diluted in water, as described in the instructions, and applied to the soil, it only has a mild odor and is not even noticeable after several days.

Fish emulsion also comes in a 0-10-10 formula which is harder to find. I usually end up buying it on the internet. 0-10-10 really helps with plants that are more hungry for these elements, but it is a little bit more harsh than the 5-1-1 so more caution should be taken when using it.

Links to more fish emulsion information

Rainy Side Gardeners Fish Fertilizer      Organic Gardener Fish Emulsion and Fish Meal