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Fertigation Brews

    54 responses

amanda starts with ...
Hello - does anyone know how to make a homemade fertiliser brew for fertigation thru' a venturi system at all? (this is liquid feeding thru retic lines).

I am currently using Seasol and Powerfeed (fish based) but a 10L container is about $70...with about 100 fruit trees/plants - this doesn't go very far and the cost is a worry for us...any help much appreciated! :)
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amanda19
Geraldton. WA
13th August 2009 5:46pm
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Brendan says...
Hi amanda, find some old cow manure, (I suppose you could use a bag of cow manure from the garden shop?), put it in a hessian bag, ~ half full, then tie a rope around the top and suspend this in a wheelie bin, then nearly fill with water. Leave it there for a week or two, remove the bag, then strain the liquid. Dilute this, start off about 5 (water) to 1 cow poo 'tea'. It should be the about colour of tea. If it blocks your feeder lines, strain finer. I have used a mix up of 2 water to 1 cow tea.
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Brendan
Mackay, Q
14th August 2009 8:10am
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Original Post was last edited: 18th August 2009 6:56am
amanda says...
Thanks Brendan - is this a fairly balanced feed do u think? I know it's a bit difficult to judge - but do u use it regularly and get good results?

The trees all have copious amounts of woodchip, manure, straw and worm castings for long term feeding....but they need a boost at the beginning of spring and end of harvest. Organics are not enough in my sandy soil and also not available as a quick 'hit' at the right time.

Can u put other things in the bag (like a bit of fresh seaweed, worm castings, compost etc) ?
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amanda19
Geraldton. WA
14th August 2009 9:15am
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Julie says...
amanda, when I read your question, my first thought was 'manure tea' as Brendan describes.

I am not familiar with a venturi system. My concern was that anything organic would clog the lines. But you are using Seasol and a fish-based product, so maybe not a problem?

I would think anything like that would have to be filtered well. If you are close to a beach and can get free seaweed (lucky you!) that would be great. But check with your local council - believe it or not, in some places it is illegal to remove seaweed from the beach!

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Roleystone WA
14th August 2009 2:18pm
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Jimmy says...
Market gardeners do it this way...

First you need an old tank eg concrete and a centrifugal pump for supply water ex the bore.

Put the fertiliser in the tank (dry).

Turn on pump and fill tank, then divert water down irrigation lines.

Stir tank to dissolve fertiliser.

Put a pipe from the suction side of the centrifugal pump into the tank and suck it dry as the water is now going down the irrigation line.

The key is the simplicity, if you need 100Kg on 100 trees, you just put the 100Kg in and suck it dry, if the irrigation system is effecient then the feeding will be even.

For nitrogen ammounium nitrate was the chocie but its now Urea with low biuret.

For K you muts use the sulphate version.
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Jimmy
 
14th August 2009 2:48pm
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amanda says...
Thanks Jimmy - I got some info from an agronomist in Perth who was saying that calcium nitrate is 'king' with professional horticulturalists down there....he said fruit trees need a lot of calcium. I haven't really used any chemical fert's b4 and am worried about my salinity problems becoming worse with them.

Looks like I have lots of homework 2 do again!? I have a venturi system which 'sucks' the liquid feed from a tank into the retic lines - it's a very simple set-up that doesn't require anything other than retic fittings and a bit of aquarium type tubing...

I will post a pic later (after my Nana-nap...)..there may be others who would like a bit less work too!?
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amanda19
Geraldton. WA
14th August 2009 3:36pm
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Jimmy says...
Check with your dude...

CAN = Calcium Ammonium Nitrate

or

CN = Calcium nitrate.??????
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Jimmy
 
14th August 2009 5:41pm
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amanda says...
Hi Jimmy and all, this is a venturi system - and the agronomist info about Calcium Nitrate (CaN2)- this is from his e-mail:

Calcium nitrate is the backbone product of horticulture as all the N is in plant available nitrate form so it is taken up fast. And the only other thing it contains is Ca which i believe is the most important nutrient in horticulture. It has no effect on pH like other N products eg sulphate of ammonia , ammonium nitrate, urea etc.

Hope this helps?
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amanda19
Geraldton. WA
14th August 2009 6:27pm
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amanda says...
OK... I foraged for kelpy type seaweed and put it in a bin with sheep poo and water...so here goes!! Here is a link to a neat video on compost tea..the accent is funny too... :)

http://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Compost-Tea
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amanda19
Geraldton. WA
16th August 2009 7:07pm
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Speedy says...
Looks like Ecklonia sp. (Ecklonia radiata?)
I've used that in miso soup as a substitute for Kombu.
get some nice fresh stuff and just hang it on the clothesline till dry.
store in sealed container.

Off topic , sorry.
your plants are gonna love it!
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Nth.Vic
16th August 2009 10:32pm
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Brendan says...
Hi amanda, you could add a good organic fertilizer that has trace elements, like dynamic lifter plus, organic extra etc., it's the pelleted type. Depends on the size of the drum. In a wheelie bin, I add ~ 1/4 of a bucket of organic extra (with the moo poo). Give it a stir every now & then to help it dissolve.

I used to use seaweed too, but now we're not allowed to take it??? I grew the best cauliflower ever (no grubs), using seaweed as mulch, I didn't even wash if first. I'd use it as mulch around the fruit trees. It's full of 'goodies'.
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Brendan
Mackay, Q
17th August 2009 5:55am
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amanda says...
Thanks Brendan n Speedy...after rough weather the seaweed piles up into noxious mountains on the beaches here! pongs! Mostly seagrass so I have to pick out the good bits. Council takes it away with trucks n front end loaders too! (to stabilise dunes)

I was pondering what to add to it to give it that extra punch when needed - the video clip above also talks about alfalfa - as it has some kind of plant stimulant properties. Worth a try too I reckon!? :)

Now Grace at school - I have lots of time to collect it so yes - mulching n composting to come! Fert's are a big expense for me with this size block - so anything low cost/free is good.
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amanda19
Geraldton. WA
17th August 2009 9:20am
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Julie says...
speedy, which one is the ecklonia? There seems to be two types in there.
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Roleystone WA
17th August 2009 6:53pm
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amanda says...
Hi Julie - I think the Ecklonia is the flat kelp one...? The other stuff is regular seaweed that hubby cheated with in order to fill his sack quicker!! :)) (and he didn't think I'd notice...) It's not as good as kelp.

I picked up these 4 x 190L ex-olive drums 2day for $35 each - they are great - got seals etc... I am going to have a "bank" of liquid fert on the go!

BTW ... apparently alfalfa is American for Lucern.
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amanda19
Geraldton. WA
17th August 2009 9:18pm
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Original Post was last edited: 17th August 2009 9:21pm
amanda says...
I know this is a bit gross 4 some people...but can u put human wee in these mixes do u reckon? It would sure speed thing up a bit? Or would it get really ponky? Grandad always used to take a leak on the compost pile.... he reckons it was his "secret" ingredient! :))
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amanda19
Geraldton. WA
18th August 2009 4:56pm
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sadcitrus says...
hey amanda. i dont think you can put much human waste into fertillers/compost as its not very good for plants. i guess the occasional; leak wouldnt be that bad but doing it often could make your plants sick
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aus
18th August 2009 6:02pm
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amanda says...
Yes - that's true - because of the urea content. You can use urine diluted 1 in 10 parts no problems - but never "neat" on your plants. My orchard is reticulated with a Biolytix system - which recycles grey and black water...plants love it!

But this is a few wees in a 190L container - very dilute - and "broken down" as such (takes weeks to make a seaweed brew apparently?) Urine is actually sterile b4 it's voided - so a very "clean" liquid!

I have started growing comfrey - so I will put this in too! And the weeds with seeds. It will b interesting to see how it all turns out!?
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amanda19
Geraldton. WA
18th August 2009 8:00pm
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speedy says...
It shouldn't be a problem.
There can be a bit of salt (NaCl) though depending on diet.
Urea is fairly quickly converted by bacteria into Ammonia, which is more plant-available.
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Nth. Vic
19th August 2009 10:20pm
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amanda says...
Hey Speedy - I thought nitrate was more plant available? ... info gets very confusing sometimes :( Anyway - I am chucking everything in! Am freaking about my friendly postie catching me on the bucket..he he! waste not want not.... :)
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amanda19
Geraldton. WA
19th August 2009 11:30pm
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Brendan says...
Hi amanda, what are you going to do with all the fruit after you get this project up and running?
You'll have to set a 'fruit stall' by the road side :-)
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Brendan
Mackay, Q
20th August 2009 5:24am
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Kit says...
Im thinking of setting up a camp toilet next to my compost heap ( so neighbors cant see me ) with a pvc pipe draining onto ( into ) my compost ....I figure its for me only (male) I think my wife brought up the meatloaf song " I would do anything for love But I wont do that ") ...anyway this saves me flushing countless litres of water down the system and hopefully helps out the compost.....any idea's/advice people ?
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20th August 2009 6:31am
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amanda says...
Hi brendan n Kit...I am planning on having a stall at the locals farmers market on Sat's....I don't want to go back to my day job!!

Kit - It shouldn't b a problem - but u may want to b careful about putting too much on - it could get stinky...? Your nose will tell u if this the case tho' :)) grandad did it and there were no dramas... might be good to stop a bit b4 using the compost so that the last wee's have time to break down properly. Urine has potassium in it as well.
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amanda19
Geraldton. WA
20th August 2009 9:36am
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Jantina says...
And I thought I was the only one who thought there was a lot of wee going to waste.
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Jantina
Mt. Gambier S.A.
20th August 2009 10:36am
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Tiggerbow says...
I am training husband and 4 year old boy to 'water' the lemon tree for me.
I am told it is also useful on passionfruit vines : o )
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Jodie
Perth WA
20th August 2009 2:32pm
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amanda says...
Hey Brendan - I put the seaweed straight on top of soil in the veg garden...what happens to it now? Does it break down like that or am I supposed to put somthing else on top?
This is fun! Took a nose dive straight into the water 2 day when the seaweed 'bank' gave way...brrr bit cold!
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amanda19
Geraldton. WA
20th August 2009 4:44pm
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Brendan says...
Yep amanda, just use the seaweed as mulch, it doesn't take long to break down. I used to have it ~ 100mm thick, to stop any weeds popping up. Any worms or micro-organisms will love it and because it contains heap of minerals and trace elements, your vegies will love it too. Although I've never grown it, Asparagus grows mad with seaweed mulch. Don't forget mulch around all your fruit trees with it too. Make it 150 to 200mm thick. You are so lucky getting mulch for free :-)
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Brendan
Mackay, Q
21st August 2009 7:54am
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Original Post was last edited: 21st August 2009 9:06am
amanda says...
I found this onfo on what kelp is actually made up of (i thought it was interesting)...

The chemical composition of the Australian bull kelp, Durvillea potatorum, was determined. As a percentage of the whole stipe dry weight, components were: Crude fibre, 57.40 %; alginic acid, 35.15 % ; "cellulosic" polysaccharide, 22.61 % ; laminarin, 1.79 %; mannitol, 3.20%; nitrogen, 1.21 %; ash, 28.09 %; insoluble ash, 8.81 %; Ca2+, 1.47%; Mg2+, 0.44%; Na+, 1.45%; K+, 3.36%; PO42-, 5.15%; Cl-, 5.87%; SO4-, 3.49 %; I-, 0.25%; and chlorophyll, 0.01 %.
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amanda19
Geraldton. WA
22nd August 2009 9:20pm
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Brendan says...
Hi amanda,
Another old method of fertilizing fruit trees (don't know if you've heard of:), get out the trusty crow-bar and punch a circle of holes around the tree, at the drip-line. Make these holes, if possible, 150 to 200mm deep and ~600mm apart.
Fill these holes with a mixture of 2 parts of a good organic fertilizer (dynamic lifter plus,or super growth, or blood & bone etc), 1 part sulphate of potash and 1 part epsom salts.
That's all you have to do. Now sit back with a cool drink and watch the trees grow. Can do this twice a year.
I go overboard sometimes and space the holes only 300mm apart :-)
I didn't have any sulphate of potash one time, so I used wood ash from the bbq. I had the best tasting crop of avocados ever.
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Brendan
Mackay, Q
25th August 2009 5:28am
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Original Post was last edited: 25th August 2009 5:32am
Brendan says...
Hi amanda,
With the above method of helping fruit trees to grow, I just move the mulch to one side first, before punching the holes into the ground. Then after filling the holes with that fert mix, cover with mulch again. As the tree grows, you'll end up with many circles of fertilizer. I find it a very easy method of fertilizing fruit trees.
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Brendan
Mackay, Q
28th August 2009 6:15am
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Davo says...
Hi Amanda, Just been reading your posts and I think the best way to get the nutrients to your plants is to get your water soluable fertilisers through your local wesfarmers or stockfeed place. you should have no problem with blockages and the 20kg bags arent overly expensive and should last you a while, Urea is starting to get fairly expensive now days so i would look into a ammonium nitrate along with a pottasium sulphate, magnesium sulphate is another form of your epsom salts.
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Davo
Perth
6th September 2009 1:05pm
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amanda says...
Thanks for feedback Brendan and Davo - Unfortunately I have a big problem with our water supply being saline. Adding chemical fertiliser "salts" to the situation is the worst thing I can do - on a regular basis - and requires very careful management.

I have had my soil tested and the Magnesium fine. I do add a little bit of low biuret Urea to the liquid feed in spring - but am changing to calcium nitrate under agronomist recommendation.

I can't seem to find a good organic soluble source of nitrogen to use instead - for when the trees hungriest?

The organic slow release options are just not enough in my sandy soil. I use tonnes of organics (manure mainly).

I am very much against blindly putting chemical fert's on my trees unless I know they need it (eg: iron and zinc sulphate). Not meaning that to sound in anyway offensive - it's just my gardening philosophy :o)
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amanda19
Geraldton. WA
7th September 2009 9:36am
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Brendan says...
Hi amanda,
What if you added liquid gypsum to your brew, that will help neutralize the salt(s).
Failing that, try dissolving powered gypsum and adding that to the brew.
Failing that, apply LOTS of powered gypsum around every tree, that should help.
Failing that, try a combination of all three :-)
Adding Dolomite &/or garden lime won't hurt, unless your soil is already alkaline.
What is your soils pH?

PS Did you read that other post where I mentioned bunnings in Mky sell 25kg gypsum for $13.75, and it's mined in WA !!!
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Brendan
Mackay, Q
8th September 2009 6:47am
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amanda says...
Hi Brendan - yes I did read that! we can't even get 25kg bags in our Bunnings!? Life stranger than fiction sometimes...

Have been looking into the Gypflo (liquid gypsum) - can't afford it at present but it's definitely on my hit list! I do use the powdered stuff. pH is perfect. This is where calcium nitrate is good as it doesn't affect pH like the other nitrate fert's.

Speedy has given me excellent info on fert's etc in the Blackwater topic. Salinity is managed thru' irrigation techniques in the main - and then careful fert management. If I won Lotto the first thing I would do is flood irrigate the orchard to field capacity and give it a good flush out! ...I can dream... :)

One of the benefits of using my rural supplier is that I am now getting a free visit from their horticulture manager shortly... should be interesting..

Are u going to do an Edibles page Brendan? U seem to know a fair bit about growing - what have u got on the go over/up there?
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amanda19
Geraldton. WA
8th September 2009 9:10am
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Brendan says...
Hello amanda,
Yeah, I'm working on the Edibles thing, but my old camera is past it's use-by date :-(
We've only had 1mm rain in the last 14 weeks straight, and things aren't looking too lush.
After we get some rain, I'll borrow a camera and give it a go.
I'm a bit of an 'avocado nut', and have 9 avo trees growing at the moment. Some of the older seedling avo trees have been getting a good pruning over the past few years, they don't really like it as they've stopped flowering/fruiting etc. I bit the bullet a while ago and put in 4 grafted avo trees, Reed (A), Edranol (B), Hass (A) & Shepard (B). So when they start bearing, I'll be sick of eating avocados :-)
(Being on a disability support pension doesn't help much either.)
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Brendan
Mackay, Q
10th September 2009 6:44am
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amanda says...
Oh Brendan...that's a miserable amount of rain hey? Last summer we went 7 or 8 months with only "trace" rain..it was bloody awful! Every summer I want to move..but then autumn, winter and spring come along and it's always superb and I stay!

Money is probably our biggest limiting factor too. We got 4 ex-battery hens yesterday (my first chooks ever!) and Nick and I built a hen house and run out of ALL recycled stuff - it looks cool and cost about $20. The nesting boxes are the bottom halves of old suitcases from the salvage yard. It was hard work but we are very proud of our efforts :)
Water is very expensive here too - my winter bill was $700 alone (4 months)....! :(
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amanda19
Geraldton. WA
10th September 2009 7:41pm
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amanda says...
I have tested my seaweed brew on some potted bouganvillias and they have survived! 2morrow - the orchard... I am scared tho' - I quite like the safety net of "instructions" ?? I am trying the "weak tea" dilution... any other thoughts out there (or... fingers crossed? ... :-o )
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amanda19
Geraldton. WA
18th September 2009 9:58pm
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amanda says...
Well - I cracked the lids on my seaweed brews today... they stank! The seaweed was quite rotted - but I pH tested it and it came out at about pH9 - uh oh.

I am not sure what to do with it now :-( maybe put some sulphur in?
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amanda19
Geraldton. WA
14th June 2010 8:07pm
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Charles cant spell says...
What ph is your water that will be diluting it, remember your adding it very dilute, its a log scale while pH 9 is high test the pH of the final solution at the dilution ratio before you go stuffing with it.
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Charlesstillcantspell1
Perth Innaloo
14th June 2010 8:27pm
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amanda says...
Hi Charles - good point. Tap water slightly alkaline. I have everything sort of balanced here (due to the salinity problems)I think I am too chicken to use this brew! But my buffaloe lawn would love it.

Next time I think I will just put the seaweed in the gedys bin.
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amanda19
Geraldton. WA
15th June 2010 9:33am
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Steven says...
Hi amanda, it would be awsome to make seasol, my plants always respond really well to it but its just too expensive.

I tried making a compost tea once, i half filled a wheelie bin with food scraps, manure etc then filled it with water. i figured the water will make it break down really well and quickly................it wasnt a good idea!! i think i stank out the whole neighbourhood.


What would happen if you let the seaweed breakdown in the container slowly then as it did you transferred the pulp (squeezing out as much water as you could) to another container full of worms to break down all the pulp. So you had two containers one with the juice with bacteria breaking it down the other with worms breaking down all the pulp. once it was all broken down really well put the pulp in a large sac mix it with the juice and fill it up with water. it might break down alot better so you have more nutrients available and it probably wont stink and the pH will be closer to neutral.


worm farms also make great compost tea, but not alot of it.

If you figure out how to make seasol please let me know :)

Regards

Steven
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Steven
Eastern Melbourne
15th June 2010 11:48am
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Steven says...
Ohh btw, i remember watching a documentary once about a group of people trying to develop a toilet that separates number 1's and 2's. they want to figure out a way to put urine through a chemical filter to remove pharmaceuticals etc and then use the urine for agriculture, i think in powered form. It was really interesting.
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Steven
Eastern Melbourne
15th June 2010 11:52am
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kert says...
Best compost tea recipe > Eat a wide ranging diet of seafood ,vegetables and fruit. Pass contents into septic system > allow to brew for a month ,then spray resulting"tea" over plants.
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sydney
15th June 2010 11:54am
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snottiegobble says...
Boy! I wouldnt be round for a NICE salad at your place Kert! it reminds me of an article about greens imported from China.
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snottiegobble
bunbury
15th June 2010 2:28pm
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kert says...
Good point . Not recommended on vegetable greens but dynamite on the ground around fruit trees.
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15th June 2010 4:37pm
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amanda says...
Hi Steve - don't quote me but I am fairly sure that Seasol is made by drying the kelp - blending it super fine and then resuspending it as a concentrate.
I have put seaweed in the bottom part of my worm farm (where the liquid accumulates) The worms did a great job of breaking it down in there and the liquid was very good. I don't know if they would live on seaweed alone - but I will try it and see. Will post back results when I do.
Something like this may be the go - I need it on a much bigger scale - but little steps first :-))
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amanda19
Geraldton. WA
15th June 2010 6:47pm
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John Mc says...
Pity about your saline problem there Amanda. Otherwise I could give you an excellent hydroponic recipe that works wonders on all my hydroponic veges. The concentrate is dirt cheap. It costs around $5 per 2 litres. I then add around 4mls of concentrate per litre of water.
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John Mc
 
15th June 2010 8:12pm
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Steven says...
Hey Amanda.

Yeah i was thinking that too to be honest. the worms will probably die.

if you could figure out a way to crush it you could easily make a concentrate out of kelp. what if you dried it, put it through a mulcher then added just enough water to cover it and attached something on the end of a drill similar to what painters use to mix paint only with blades on it like a barmix. you could blend it to a fine mush.



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Steven
Eastern Melbourne
16th June 2010 5:00pm
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amanda says...
Thats's novel Steven! U can get commercial size hand blenders too.... we do have mulcher with gristing attachments (for wheat et) - that might work.

Our block is probably going to be sold to developers in the near future - which means my whole garden will be bulldozed :-( So I am kind of not bothering to do much anymore. I guess I will be madly digging UP trees this winter!?
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amanda19
Geraldton. WA
20th June 2010 11:22am
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amanda says...
Hi again Steven - i was thinking about your compost tea. From what I can gather from the Net - the best ones are made with aeration - such as an aquarium bubbler. The idea is to keep them aerobic - otherwise you end up with a big stinky soup (which is anaerobes at work).
The other way to make it - is to make hot compost and then suspend some of this (in a stocking or such) in a big bucket or drum of water for a few days and use the "tea"

I like your idea with the drill! it wouldn't take much to glue some razor blades or such to the painters stirring gadget.
Wouldn't it be great if u could buy bulk powdered seaweed!? I might investigate as I know it's used as a supplement in horse feed.
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amanda19
Geraldton. WA
21st June 2010 9:54am
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amanda says...
cheapest google search: seaweed meal $112 for 25kg from NORWAY???. Where is the Tassie stuff? Possibly large carbon footprint for an organic product....?

I also found "fossilised guano" as an organic source of phosphate....surely a non-renewable resource..?

I'm confused :-(

PS - that eco-cweed stuff comes all the way from Canada....

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amanda19
Geraldton. WA
21st June 2010 9:13pm
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Original Post was last edited: 21st June 2010 9:17pm
Palitu says...
Hello, I am looking to create a fertigation setup, using a venturi.

Does asny one know where i can find one? or buy one? Im in perth and don't know the first place to look.

Cheers,
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palitu
Perth
31st January 2011 2:14pm
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amanda says...
Hi Palitu - I got mine from a local rural supplier similar to Landmark/Elders etc - they ordered it in for me. Very expensive though. If you know a handy person you could likely make one though. A specialist reticulation shop should also be able to help.
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amanda19
Gerladton. Mid West WA
31st January 2011 11:55pm
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Palitu says...
i am going to try an aquarium shop. They tend to use them to oxygenate the water going through the filter. they may be able to suck up enough fertiliser. I don't want a lot to go through, as it will be done at least once a week, depending on the volume of wee, but i do want it to spread fairly evenly through the retic system.
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palitu
Perth
17th February 2011 1:01pm
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amanda says...
My butcher was telling me today that he throws out 100's of kilo's of fat on a regular basis - it's a shame it can't be made into a fertilser or something...?
(as there must be tonnes of be thrown out every week all over Aust..)
I wonder if a lard spray could protect trees from frost! lol...
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amanda19
Geraldton, Mid West WA
18th May 2011 3:12pm
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ringelstrumpf says...
I don't know how to do this but you could render the fat and fry your potatoes in it! I actually must ask our butcher for fat. And you could feed it to your chicken, but not too much.
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ringelstrumpf1
Blue Mountains
18th May 2011 10:39pm
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