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Summer Fertilizing with Seagate Fish Fertilizer Concentrate

As an experiment this spring, Giant Sunflowers were planted. Some were fertilized with Fish Fertilizer Concentrate, others with commercial chemical fertilizer.

Seagate has been producing Fish Fertilizer Concentrate for almost 18 years. The ingredients are simply ground up and dried whole anchovies and/or sardines. There is no other ingredient.  This fertilizer has an N-P-K level of 11-5-1  (N= nitrogen, P= phosphorus, K=Potash), which is ideal to support the growth (or vegetative) stage of the plant.

The plants to the left of the fence (see first photo below) were fertilized with the Fish Fertilizer.  The plants to the right were planted in fresh soil, but without the fish fertilizer added to the soil.  A conventional mass-market fertilizer brand was used.

Giant Sunflowers – June 2018

By June, the sunflowers to the left were approaching 10 feet in height, almost to the level of Heather’s metal sculpture. As another reference, the chain link fence is 4 ft. tall. The flower on the fish-fertilized plant in the photo was already much larger than the conventionally-fertilized plants. The height of the fish-fertilized plants were on average 3 feet larger than the closest conventionally (chemically)- fertilized sunflowers at this stage.  All the seeds were planted on the same day in early April.

By late June, the heavy flowers were causing the stems to have some bend (photo below). You can notice the center of the flower filling in.

Giant Sunflower – seeds developing (late June 2018)

The most current photo of this same flower was taken on July 15 (below). The birds had begun to attack the seeds even though they were not yet ripe enough to pick.  We therefore hung cd’s from all the flower heads to discourage the birds from landing and eating up all the seeds.  You can see the size of the flower in proportion to the CD hanging below it.

Giant Sunflower July 2018 – flower almost ready to release seeds. CD hanging below (July 14 2018)

In comparison, the conventionally-fertilized plants are much smaller at this stage. Their leaves and seed pods are less than one-quarter the size. The fish-fertilized plants are also using less than one-half the amount water as the conventional ones which have to be watered almost daily in the current 90-100F heat in inland San Diego.

The results we are seeing in this backyard are similar to when we see on our commercial farms. The fish fertilized crops are much healthier, grow larger, and are much more resistant to water stress … and will eventually give you a much higher yield than conventionally (=chemically) fertilized plants and vegetables. The fish also is sustainable and does not harm our environment with chemical residues that may eventually wash down the drain into our oceans.

Speaking of which … it is time to take a look at a healthy reef along a Cayman Island Canyon.  If you look closely, you can see quite a few small fish swimming around their hiding places in this reef. Notice that only the foreground shows colors, while the background is all blue.  That is because at this depth, there is almost no natural (surface) light penetration. The photo must be taken with strobes.  Seawater slows the speed of light to the point that only objects within ~ 5 feet of the camera will be illuminated.  There is no time for the light from the strobe to travel further and return to the camera before the shutter closes. Therefore the objects near the camera give off their normal brilliant colors while the backgrounds will either be in blues or greens, the only wavelengths of light that can penetrate to this depth.

Cayman Island canyon reef @ 95 ft.

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