Saturday, March 03, 2007

Beer Fertilizer

So, there's been a lot of talk about this beer fertilizer. I, for one, had no idea where to find the ingredients and then, once I did, I had a lot of fun making it. So I thought I'd bring you Hills' Guide To Making Beer Fertilizer. (This has been edited as of April 19 2007 to reflect my experience of using it)

I will note here that I had an American cup measurer in my cupboard, so I used it most of the time as opposed to attempting to use my not-very-small measuring jug.

Get a 2 pint bowl (this is about 4 litres, which is about one US gallon).

The first ingredient is 12 oz beer. This is 1.5 cups, 35ml, or just more than one small bottle of beer. I used some flat beer I talked about in an earlier post that someone kindly left to expand and dribble beer all over my freezer.

1/4 cup Epsom salts. This is about 250g by my reckoning. I found Epsom Salts in Boots, a UK-based pharmacy, in the "digestive aids" medicine shelf, as you can probably see by the picture.

1/2 cup ammonia. According to the conversion, this is about 10ml, so I used the cup measurer for this... I found ammonia in a hardware/miscellaneous cooking/gardening/cleaning items shop called Robert Dyas, masquerading as a household cleaner. When you add this, you may want to open some windows. Ammonia stinks! You can just see the mixture behind the ammonia.
2 cups water. This is approximately 50ml, which I did measure out using my jug.
1/2 cup molasses. I found Organic Blackstrap Molasses in a health food store (GNC). I measured it using the cup again, because it's much easier.

Ok, by this stage you should have what looks like a bit of a mess. I can say that because that's what I got. The useful information like, use warm water, would have helped me a lot. I guess you could always warm the mixture up over some boiling water (please take care, I'm not responsible for burns!!) as the epsom salts don't readily go into solution. In the end I poured the lot into a 2 litre bottle (it makes just over 1) and shook it until the salts went into solution.

You use 1 teaspoon of beer fertilizer per gallon of warm water.

One US gallon is approximately 4 litres.

To this four litres, I also added:
Quarter teaspoon of Superthrive (yes, you can buy it here, on Ebay)
Some Bloom Booster - I have some African Violet Fertilizer, which is 12:36:14. It says one measure to 2 pints. 4 litres of water is 7 pints, so this is about 3 and a half measures. It seems a bit strong, so now I just add one measure to the mix.

I water this on the plants once a week. If they need watering in the interim I use plain rain water.

1 comment:

roybe said...

Hilary, I made some beer fertilizer after reading about it on daves garden. I got cold feet about using it after I used the first lot. The label that David L. puts on all his Hoyas says to fertilize with a weak low nitrogen fertilizer in the warmer months. I was a bit afraid by using the beer they might go super rampant at the expense of flowering. I'll be interested to hear how your plants go. Also it seemed jolly expensive by the time I'd bought all the ingredients.