Organic Gardening with Fish Rich Fertilizer

My parents were organic gardeners by default - it was just how they were raised. Years later, I became an organic gardener - first out of laziness (who wants to figure out all the fertilizer/pesticide rules) and then out of concern for what is going into our bodies and our world.

So over my many years, I've come to know a thing or two about organic gardening. I've learned that by NOT fertilizing your plants, you end up with a much smaller harvest.  I've learned that beyond the chemical impact, organic fertilizers provide a more complete nutrient profile - micronutrients, enzymes, trace minerals, etc. I've also learned that not all organic fertilizers are created equal.

Take compost - which I vigorously work to create every day of my life. It's not always available and honestly, it's a great "soil amendment" and only a so-so fertilizer.

Then there are bone meals, blood meals, manures. They all have a bit of ick to them and have odd ways of application. Does anyone remember my horse manure debacle?  Just imagine 80 pounds of pure stink.

Personally, I prefer the "sea" fertilizers. I love the application. Most of the sea fertilizers I have used are mix-with-water and pour on your plant types. I like this for two reasons - #1 you water your plants at the same time you're fertilizing, #2 you have almost no risk of burning/damaging/killing your plants.

And that's why sea fertilizers are my favorite. They are the lazy organic gardener's dream. They are so easy. You cannot mess them up. You can fertilize every week, every few months, whatever. I have never harmed any of my plants using them - not even my blueberries and they are super picky!

But that's not the only benefit. They make my plants do amazing things! They grow, they flower like crazy, and they produce big/healthy fruits. And fyi - more flowering means more fruiting.

You can apply it to the ground, on the plant, at the root base, whatever. The cool thing about sea fertilizers is that the plants can absorb them through their roots, leaves, flowers. It's awesome. And they are made from natural, organic, sustainable products.

And that brings me to Fish Rich fertilizer - made from scraps of the Bell Aquaculture Perch farm in Indiana. They sell perch for human consumption. The rest is ground into liquid fertilizer. I love the lack of waste!

The fish are grown without toxins or hormones. They are not exposed to mercury or PCBs. It's the kind of info you want to hear when putting something into your body (directly or through the plants you feed.)
I have an interesting history with perch and fertilizing with fish. My siblings and I used to catch perch in a creek a few miles from our home. We'd take them home and my parents would refuse to cook them.

I don't know why. According to Bell Aquaculture, perch is one of the most popular North American pan fish. I guess my parents didn't get the memo. Anyway, they would bury them in our garden, especially around our fruit trees or anything that was newly planted.

They did this with most of the fish we caught when we went fishing with our grandparents too. Maybe they just weren't big fish people. But I remember the trees and veggies that got fish grew so much faster and stronger than the ones that didn't. It was actually pretty cool. My parents normally fertilized with manure and compost, so to see such great results was really neat.

And if you think putting fish into your garden is a little weird, remember that the Native Americans were doing it for years. It's how they taught the pilgrims to farm. It works and it's natural.

Okay, but I bet you're wondering about the smell. Here's the deal. The Fish Rich fertilizer smells like a fish oil tablet - broken open of course. It's a little fishy, but not at all unbearable.

I have been using sea kelp and seaweed fertilizers for years and as much as I love them, all I can say is WHOA MAMA! when it comes to how they smell. Fish Rich was like cupcakes in comparison. It really wasn't bad at all. The only issue is the oiliness.

I like to mix up the fertilizer in multi-gallon batches and scoop it out in 8-16 oz rations. I do this because I'm lazy, clumsy, and I want to be sure of exactly how much I give each plant.

Since I scoop out individual cups, I get it on my hands. I would never do this with a chemical fertilizer. Then again, I don't use chemical fertilizers. But with the seaweed and kelp fertilizers, getting the stinky blech on your hands was horrid.

Getting the Fish Rich on my hands was a little horrid too. Mostly because it was more oily and liked to stick to my hands - like an emollient. Who knows, I may end up with really silky hands by the end of this gardening season.

It took a few good scrubbings to get the lingering scent off my hands. On the plus side, my cat loved me.

I will update this post on how the garden grows after the regular application of Fish Rich fertilizer. Today was the first feeding.  And since I haven't fertilized before today, the garden is off to a bit of a slow start. I did say I was a lazy gardener, right? Here's hoping for some Fish magic....

**I received a complimentary bottle of Fish Rich to fertilize my garden. All opinions expressed are my own and no compensation was received for my opinion.


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Thank you for your comments! I appreciate all your tips, advice, and well wishes!


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