Using fresh fish as fertilizer : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

What is the best way to prepare or use fresh fish in a garden as fertizier? I was thinking about using a blender and tilling it into the garden, but fish emulsion you buy is black and stinky.

-- Bill Pope (, December 30, 2001


Hi; I just use 'post hole' diggers and put a couple in each hole.keeps the critters from digging them up. Ourfarm.

-- Ourfarm (, December 30, 2001.

I don't have the pleasure of fresh fish very often, but I agree with Ourfarm, just bury them where you plan on planting. Bury them deep enough to keep the critters from digging them back out! Good luck!

-- cowgirlone (, December 30, 2001.


I've only used perch a few times for fertilization, but I can share what I've used and read with you.

For whole fish or chopped pieces you can use the native american method, which would involve digging the planting whole and either- a) place fish, cover with 6" of dirt, then plant on top of dirt or b) place fish in a dug trench about 30 days before you plan to plant and cover with dirt. Plant in the same location in 30 days.

Note: You'll lose nitrogen while fish decomposes, and if fresh fish is too close to plant roots too soon, it'll burn your plants. I use fish only for corn, tomatoes, and peppers.

The other method I've read invoves putting lots of chopped up (1-2" chunks) fish into a 3 or 5 gal. plastic bucket with a lid in fall, and scopping out the muck in spring for use like the fish stuff you buy in the store. Put the fish into the bucket, and cover with water (just barely). You'll need to make a little whole in the lid so gases can escape. As above, remember that you can burn tender roots if you don't put dirt over the fish muck.

-- Marty in KS (, December 30, 2001.

My indian ancestors supposedly placed a minnow with each corn seed when planting their gardens. I have placed fish remains in a five gallon bucket and let it seep for a few days and used the water on plants with good success.

-- r.h. in okla. (, December 30, 2001.

As avid crabbers,fisherman we always have plenty of fish fertilizer, the problem was the skunks,raccoons and sometimes the dog digging up the goods! I found that if I used my saved wood ash to cover the fish or parts there of, the critters were less likely to dig. I've been told animals don't like the 'feel' of the ash. Whatever. It works

-- Kathy (, December 31, 2001.

bill, i've heard of people using a tree chipper to shred up thier salmon along with the fall leaves, but depending on your species it might do damage to a shredder. I think your blender idea would work on small amounts of fish, but if you are going to till it, be very spacific about where you put it, fish goop is precious good stuff. The bears like it. Dogs like to roll in it. Keep it underground. combine it with other things. I used fresh storm washed starfish under my potatos with amazing results; that is a Haida potato growing recipe. I don't use the salmon myself, too many bears and dogs.

-- roberto pokachinni (, January 03, 2002.

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