Leaf Magic! – Foliar Plant Feeding
Foliar care is done for two reasons – feeding, and pest and disease prevention and treatment.
Compost, manure, and worm teas you have likely heard about, all for organic feeding. You can make teas yourself, simple, simple, or buy a brewer!
You can make it super simply, tie a batch of compost in a soaking material you can submerge, wait, strain, pour into your delivery device, spray. Or you can make a special brew by the Moon signs, pray over it, put in special things like horn shavings and other secret ingredients, ala Rudolph Steiner, and call it biodynamic!
Whatever you do to make your tea, be sure your ingredients are alive and healthy! You want your tea to be alive with bacteria that enhances plant growth. One simple formula is easy to make – 1 cup of compost in panty hose to a gallon of solarized, filtered, or rain water. Add a half cup rock dust (Azomite, green sand) to the compost – it contributes calcium and minerals for the bacteria to do their job. And a ½ cup molasses. Let it brew in the sun 24 hours to a few days, getting as stinky as you can stand! If you want a little more action, use a pump to aerate the brew.
Application techniques vary too! You can use a backpack sprayer – very convenient if you have a lot of plants to do and will do many times. Or you can use a watering can that has a rose (spray nozzle) that turns upward! Anyway, pour your mix into a watering can, add 5 drops liquid soap as a wetting agent. Whatever device you use, spray under the leaves as well as on top. Get both sides of your leaves, otherwise you are treating only ½ your plant!
Kelp, seaweed and fish emulsion are good too! Seaweed is high in Potash, that’s the K (Potassium) in the NPK designation on fertilizers. It stimulates bloom production and seed set, so you especially want to use it when your veggies start to bud up. It helps plants with their water uptake, drought resistance. Without it, plants are vulnerable to diseases and heat stress. And, yes, it makes fruits and veggies bigger and better shaped!!! It is also high in Magnesium and trace minerals.
Islanders and coasters have always known the value of ocean plants and fish as natural fertilizers. And it’s FREE! It can be dried, or chopped and used in compost, or laid on as mulch, sheet composting in place. It is thought Native Americans, some Europeans, buried fish for growing their corn. The key word here is buried – you can imagine the smell. The Mayan and Olmec dried seaweed, fish, and squid that they both used and traded. They were top-notch gardeners! In more recent times, the gardeners of Findhorn fame dragged seaweed from the ocean and grew huge vegetables in a cold barren land!
Next time you go to the beach, take a light weight bucket for your bounty! You inland gardeners jump on down to the nursery or online for a kelp/seaweed mix! Kelp extracts Maxicrop and Sea Crop/Sea Mix (includes fish emulsion) are terrific. If you add a wetting agent, a soap, perhaps an organic one like Dr Bronner’s – only 5 drops/gallon, your plants will absorb more nutrients! Add 1 ounce of 2% hydrogen peroxide (from your drug store) to add Oxygen. Oxygen allows even more uptake of nutrients! It is speculated your plants will then need only a half to a third of other regular fertilizers you use! Your plants will be healthier, stronger, last longer, look great!
Apply once a week in the morning. You will be the envy of your neighbors!