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Fertilizer shortage? No Worries.

David Dubyne from Adapt 2030 mentioned Fertilizer Shortages a few years back. I took notice and planted vegetation that would help with mitigating the shortages. Find out more about how we at “The Struggling Homestead” deal with it…..

No problem with fertilizer shortage

I follow a few channels on YT and other social media stuff, Adapt 2030 is one I follow. David Dubyne seems to do comprehensive research and he warned of shortage a few yrs back. Mainly food shortage, due to the Grand Solar Minimum and of course the “green policies”. Based on research and “looking at the future using history” I made a few alterations to my gardening. I do not use chemical fertilizer but figured I can sell some fertilizer in the future if my gardening fails.  

Free online Course Horse Manure Collection

Horse Manure

I started to collect horse manure, from the local area. It is a win-win the horse owners want to get rid of it and want it. A horse creates about 9 tonnes of poo a year. This horse poo has to go somewhere. I wrote a “course” about how to turn horse manure into good fertilizer for your garden and how to use it, nothing special just basic stuff which I keep updating. 

Horse manure is tricky, horses are generally treated against worming, and other chemicals to keep the horse healthy. Horse feed is also notorious for weeds and seeds. For that reason, you have to process the manure. I use cooking, this means that I stack the manure so it gets hot inside and that kills all the weeds. I generally leave it to sit for 3 months before I use it, this works for me. 

Horse manure is a solid type of fertilizer it will need to break down a bit further before the plants can use it. For this reason, I use multiple types of fertilizer that I make on the homestead. A mixture of solid and liquid fertilizer seems to work for me, and I use it in different stages of the veggie growing cycle. (If I only could grow veggies successfully :-)).  

Meet the humble worm

Worms are at the moment my go-to, it is easy and I have been selling worm juice for a few years now. Worm juice is not to be confused with leachate, which is the wee and moisture that drips out at the bottom of your worm farm. A well-balanced worm farm has little or no moisture dripping from the bottom. It is about castings not about leachate. Well, so they say. I run my worm farms reasonably wet and moist, and occasionally give the worms a bit of a spray with rainwater.  

Over time that moisture runs down, to the bottom where I tap it off and use leachate in the garden. It works for me, still, I use the castings to make the famous worm tea. Mix it with some molasses and let it bubble. No fertilizer shortage here ;-). There are different opinions on making worm tea and air-rate it, it works for me this way. 

Lets make some juice

First worm juice might be the wonder liquid you have been waiting for. 

  • It can be used directly on your plants. 
  • It does not burn your plants
  • It kills bad bugs.
  • It kills some plant diseases. 

I got inspired by Green Gregs, he is based in the USA so I had to do my own thing to get worm juice. After reading up on how and what I figured this is a good addition to my “toolbox”. 

I am treating my potatoes and other veggies for the brown spot with a mixture of baking soda and worm juice. You can follow the progress on the Struggling Homestead forum. 

Let us go all vegetarian style.

So yes, I use a lot of animal poo, horse poo, cow (steer) poo, chicken poo, turkey poo, duck poo and soon fish poo all with a few drops of wee. (It is a lot of poo). You can go all plant-based if you want. Fortunately, I took notice of the pending issues (fertilizer shortage 2022), and we are only at the start of that problem cycle. It is no surprise and we have seen it all before, I started to propagate Comfrey, it is truly a miracle plant. Comfrey can have the tendency to get a bit out of control. 

I use Comfrey as fertilizer, and compost accelerator and I use it for medical purposes. It is great for external use on old bones. I dry it and send it to NSW where a friend turns it into all sorts of good organic medicine stuff. We barter, bartering is well and truly alive on this homestead. 

Comfrey tea

Adding water to something makes tea, adding water to Comfrey is no different, other than it stinks like a “warmed up corpse”. The way I go about it is by filling up a bucket with comfrey leaves and filling water to the top of the bucket. Put the lit on and leave it to sit for a few weeks. 

I then dilute it and use it in the gardens, I do not let it get in contact with leaves etc. just pour it on the soil. 

Comfrey press?

Not quite sure what this is called, it works by putting comfrey leaves in a drum, putting pressure on it and eventually juice will drip out. So they say. Time to build it and do some dumpster diving. 

I put some bricks on the bottom, some Rio mesh and some sort of rubber mat with holes. The idea is that after a while the pressure from the weights will push the sap out of the leaves as they break down. This liquid can be used as fertilizer, using one litre of juice on 10 litres of water to start off with. 

I will update you on how it all goes, first time for everything really. 

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