Healthy plants grow vigorously, flower profusely and produce a tasty harvest. Weak plants, on the other hand, are susceptible to diseases and pests. Important nutrients can help. There are two options: plant enhancers from the trade, a kind of vitamin preparation. Or you can rely on cheap home remedies that you can make yourself, which also provide many good ingredients. This is commonly called herbal remedies.
“Traditionally, fertilizers, broths, teas, cold water extracts and extracts of herb leaves, vegetables and flowering shrubs are made,” author Natalie Faßmann lists various varieties. The recipes are based on old gardening knowledge, they primarily help the plants preventively. Damage or pest infestation can only be reduced to an acceptable level with these self-made aids. Plant fertilizers contain many nutrients, especially nitrogen and potassium. But it can also be used to deter pests.
In the usual recipes, one kilo of fresh or 100 to 200 grams of dried and roughly chopped parts of the plant is mixed with ten liters of water. The German Nature Conservation Union (Nabu) recommends rainwater. The batch is stirred regularly to allow oxygen to enter the mixture. You can clearly feel an unpleasant smell. “Just stir one or two hands of stone powder into the liquid fertilizer,” advises Nabu consultant Verena Jedamczik. It not only binds the smell, but also upgrades the liquid fertilizer.
more on the subject
The liquid fertilizer is left in a warm place for about 14 days; the fermentation takes longer in a cooler place. The fertilizer is ready when no more bubbles form. Many liquid fertilizers can be compared to fast-acting liquid fertilizers, says Natalie Faßmann. The contained nitrogen is immediately absorbed by the plants. Nettle and Comfrey are the two most common plants used to make plant aids. In addition to the mentioned nitrogen, nettle also supplies silicic acid and iron, while the firewood also contains potassium and tannins.
Fertilizer deters pests
A fertilizer made from elder leaves, on the other hand, works through the scents it contains: They scare harmful insects and drive them away. The excipient also scares mussels. To do this, pour the shelf fertilizer into the beds. Fertilizer should be diluted, either in a ratio of 1:10 for distribution with a watering can, according to Nabu. Or in a ratio of 1:50 for spraying on the leaves.
A tea also improves the plant’s resistance or repels pests. For him, the herbs are poured over with boiling water in the same ratio as the liquid fertilizer and must then steep for 15 to 20 minutes – just like tea for us humans. Natalie Faßmann advises to close the pot with a lid so that the volatile essential oils drip back from the lid into the container and do not evaporate and get lost. Tea is used undiluted. Horseradish, for example, is suitable for this. They strengthen plant cell walls, prevent fungal attacks and release potassium and saponin.
A classic is the onion tea with a slightly modified recipe. The Nabu advises to pour ten liters of boiling water over 75 grams of onion and leaves and let it all steep for ten minutes. Sprayed undiluted on the plants every two weeks, this tea is said to be effective against fungal attacks.
For a broth, the plant parts are first soaked in cold water for 24 hours. The mixture is then boiled for 15 to 30 minutes. Then give in a ratio of 1:10 as a preventive measure or spray in a ratio of 1:20 for foliar fertilization. A popular home remedy is the broth made from rhubarb leaves, for example 500 grams of leaves and three liters of water. It is used undiluted against leek moths and black bean aphids.
When extracting with cold water, no heating is used. Soak the plants in cold water for one to three days. These are then sieved and the extract is used neat or diluted with water in a ratio of 1:1. A tip often given is the cold water extract of chamomile flowers, which the seeds are coated with before sowing to prevent the seedlings from being attacked by fungi. Nabu recommends yarrow for the extract, also to prevent fungi and sucking pests.
Tools from the garden
Many plants can be harvested in your own garden for these natural resources. Stinging nettle and yarrow for example, something many garden owners do not want in the garden anyway. They can be harvested, dried and stored throughout the summer. “Anyone who harvests in the wild must comply with the federal nature conservation law,” says Verena Jedamczik. It is prohibited to take wild plants from their location, except for personal use and under certain conditions. A prerequisite is, for example, a moderate harvest and the previous check that there are no animals such as e.g. larvae on. It is also part of basic hygiene in the garden to harvest only healthy parts of the plant and not to harvest seeds. Then the sieved plant parts from liquid fertiliser, tea, broth and cold water extract can be put on the compost without hesitation.
By the way: Verena Jedamczik advises to wait one to two weeks between spraying with a herbal preparation and harvesting the plant that has been strengthened in this way. Some components are toxic, such as reindeer antler. “And fertilizer affects the taste with its smell,” says the Nabu consultant.