How to Make Homemade Fish Emulsion from Scraps

One of the foundations of a self-sufficient life is to never let anything go to waste. Or at least try to waste as little as possible. For example, vegetable scraps turn into compost to be added to your garden soil.

For all the bits that are left over from your home-caught fish dinner, they can be turned into nutrient-rich fertilizer. Never feel like spending money at a hardware store: You can easily make your own homemade fish at home.

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To make homemade fish emulsion, you only need a few basic ingredients. Fortunately, these can be found in and around the old homestead.

For example, the materials you will need are:

  • A five gallon bucket with lid
  • Four or five cups of fishmeal
  • water
  • Well-aged sawdust or manure
  • Molasses
  • Seaweed or Algae (optional)
  • Epsom Salt (also optional)

If you have a pile of compost on your property, you want to dig out some of the best aged bits to use here.

When you are cutting and chopping wood for the winter, you can also avoid some dust and detergents. Considering how much wood the average household uses during the cold months, you make sure to make a pile of stuff.

Keep all your sawdust in one place and age it well. This will decrease over time, as it makes it very ideal to mix with various fertilizers.

Using this stuff also means that you are following the previously stated principle “don’t let anything happen in vain”.

Source for fish

For fish… well, it can be stored in many different ways.

We are fortunate to have a river full of northern pike, smallmouth bass, perch, catfish and trout. This allows us to be a great local protein source and lots of scraps to use in and around the garden.

If you don’t go fishing on your own, but have access to fresh fish at the grocery store, this is great! Save fish heads, bones, skin, tails and other inedible bits in the freezer, until you have four to five cups worth of solids to work with.

Alternatively, if there are no fresh fish to work with, that’s fine. Just go to the dollar store and pick up eight to ten cans of fish. Sardines, mackerel and anchovies all work well, provided that they are packed in water instead of oil.

The homemade fish emulsion that we drink here is very high in nitrogen (N). This means that it is ideal for leafy green growth.

You will be using this stuff to nourish your bud, spinach and other plants that need large bursts of N to thrive. If you want to use your fish emulsion to feed other plants, you must add other trace minerals.

This is where Epsom salts and algae or seaweed come in. The salts will combine magnesium and sulfur.

For seaweeds, not only are they full of growth hormones, they also stimulate beneficial soil bacteria. This makes your plants more resistant to harmful nematodes and increases their nutritional value.

Since we do not live near the sea, where items like kelp and bladderrack are plentiful, we make them from the banks of the river with algae and other water plants. You can also order seaweed online, or use the novie raps left behind in the pantry, which are thin and inedible.

Molasses will add the sugars required for everything to ferment. If you do not have them on hand, you can use brown sugar instead.

Mix & Brew

Do not use raw fish to make your homemade emulsion. Use bits that have already been cooked or give raw parts a quick boil before using. This stuff will stink to high heaven anyway, but raw fish will make it So bad.

Get that five-gallon bucket near you and fill it halfway with manure or old sawdust. Then add your four or five cups worth of bits of fish.

Add water to cover all this, then add about half a cup of jaggery. If you want to add seaweed and Epsom salt, now is the time to do it. Just cut the seaweed first, so that it breaks more easily. For salt, a spoon or two should be cured.

Fill the rest of the bucket with water until it is about two inches below the top. Give it all a good stir with a stick, or wooden spoon that you will not return to the kitchen again.

Cover the bucket with a lid, but do not close it super tightly. As for this stuff, it will create some powerful pressure as well as stink, and you don’t want the top to blow up and the material being literally thrown everywhere. Allow it to drink for two to four weeks, shaking regularly.

Erm, as a side note, I would recommend storing this stuff somewhere you won’t grieve if it bursts with great enthusiasm. For example, a lean-to shed is attached to an exterior construction that is far from home. Not in the basement next to the homemade peaches from your partner’s love.

Put this stuff to good use!

After its homemade fish emulsion has been running for a few weeks, it is very ready to use. I recommend putting the mixture in another large bucket, so you don’t have chunky bits.

In this way, you have a ton of bio-nutrients ready to pour and use as necessary.

Once you are ready to use it, I suggest getting yourself a handy garden sprayer that holds at least two gallons of water. You are going to use three to four tablespoons of fish per gallon to use as a clay wrench.

To apply this, water your plants well as you normally do. Then, sprinkle emulsion on the soles of the stems of your plants. The water you drench them with initially will help them suck up all the happy nutrients.

Do this once or twice a month during the growing season, either early in the morning or in the evening. To see that your plants are the best.

Drinking water in the evening means that nutrients will be sucked more into the roots. Conversely, wetting in the morning will send those nutrients up the place of the leaves.

If you are planting and gardening by lunar cycles, do so when the moon is moving towards perfection. Since this feed nourishes green growth the most, it will make its way into the stems and leaves.

Some people also like to use the emulsion of this fish as a fisher feed. If you want to try to do the same, then reduce the amount of fertilizer in one to two teaspoons per gallon of water instead.

Remember that feeding leaves in the morning or evening also works best. Watering at these times will also reduce the risk of your plants getting burned by the strong sun rays during the hottest part of the day.

Longevity and storage

Provided that you keep your house fish emulsion well stirred regularly, this brew will remain healthy and useful for six months to a year. Of course, if you have a thriving botanical garden, you can very well get through all of these in a single season.

Keep in mind that this emulsion is high in nitrogen. As a result, even green, grass lawns will be all lush and very likeable.

If you have a grass spot on your property that you want to nourish, you can do it below with this emulsion as well. Feel free to use it as a feed for fruit trees, berry bushes, and even ornamental deciduous species.

These nutrients are never really wasted. Anything your garden does not use will sink into the soil and be sucked in by nearby plants. Chances are that trees and shrubs will erode well after a few doses on the periphery of your property.

For storage… remember what we said earlier that somewhere about drinking it, you will not get flushed by its terrible smell?

This is where you store it as well. Try to keep the bucket out of direct sun until the next time you want to open it.

As an aside, keeping this stuff in a partially open walkway bucket is fantastic for keeping unwanted visitors on the side of the road.

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