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Plant Feed Preparations

Discover how to brew comfrey compost tea made with a traditional steeping method as well as an alternative method of extraction.

| September 2019

watering-flowers
The Haws watering can in action, designed to simulate natural rainfall. 

In this chapter we get down to the actual detail of preparing feeds by the traditional steeping method introduced in Chapter One. A number of techniques will also be introduced such as extraction methods for comfrey and the steps you need to take to prepare kelp meal. We will be applying some important resources that are world renowned for their fertility enhancing qualities. We will also be incorporating some plants that have fallen out of the attention of the mainstream but have a history of usage, such as yarrow. Some of the plants you may have come across are seen as weeds, but have surprising and useful roles for the home brewer.

As discussed in Chapter Two, plants uptake substantial amounts of nitrogen (N), potassium (K) and phosphorus (P) so it is understandable that they form a large proportion of both conventional fertilisers and organic feeds. Secondary calcium (Ca), sulphur (S) and magnesium (Mg) trace elements are also important as previously outlined, but are only needed in smaller volumes. Many of the plants described in this chapter have multiple benefits for the organic grower such as refuges and food stores for beneficial insects, which will be noted as we go along.

An important point is that a resource may not hold all the necessary nutrients to give your hungry tomato or pumpkin a boost, so with this in mind some preparations use combinations of plants and composts.



If you follow good organic practice for a basic level of soil fertility, many of the concerns with nutrients and their availability have been addressed in a holistic way that bypasses the necessity of tinkering with the finer details. In Chapter Two we introduced how to assess what may be lacking in your soil and in Chapter Three we looked at the cycles of some of the most important nutrients. In this chapter we hope to replenish many of the nutrients removed by harvesting and other causes with various preparations to furnish your plants with what they need, but before we proceed, we need to consider some issues with chlorine.

Chlorine issues

This only applies to people using tap water; if you are using rainwater, which is recommended, you can discount this section entirely.



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