Aquaponic Gardening

A Community and Forum For Aquaponic Gardeners

Found some interesting recipes and/or info on the various N-P-K values of some common organic compounds. What do you use for inputs for your fish-less systems?

"Instructions for Preparing Organic Fertilizers
Organic fertilizers need not be expensive and can be made on your own. This recipe,
to the best of my knowledge, was created by Steve Solomon, founder of Territorial
Seed Company. All measurements are shown in terms of volume, not weight.
4 parts seed meal
1 part dolomite lime
1/2 part bone meal or 1 part soft rock phosphate
1/2 part kelp meal
1. Seed meal provides N and smaller amounts of P and K. Some states prohibit its use
in certified organic operations (not something a home grower needs to be
concerned about). Other options are afalfa meal, or rape/canola meal. The NPK
value of cottonseed meal is about 6-2-1. Bloodmeal can be substituted in place of
some seed meal, since it acts more quickly. Use three parts seed meal and one part
bloodmeal. Seed meals tend to be acidic, so lime is included to balance that.
Dolomite limestone is roughly half magnesium carbonate (MgCO3) and half calcium
carbonate (CaCO3). Calcitic limestone is pure calcium carbonate. Plants usually
need more Ca than Mg, therefore a mix of 2/3 dolomite lime and 1/3 calcitic lime
is recommended.
2. Bone meal and rock phosphate provide the bulk of the P component. Less bone
meal (NPK 0-10-0) is required since it releases its P more readily. The advantage of
using rock phosphate (NPK 0-3-0) is that it continues to contribute P to the soil over
many years. Bone meal is produced as a byproduct of the beef industry while rock
phosphate is mined.
3. Kelp meal (NPK 0-0-10) contributes K and micronutrients. It tends to be more
expensive than the other components. Another possible K source is Jersey
greensand. It has the same advantages and liabilities as rock phosphate (very slow
release) but does not supply micronutrients. Wood Ash is also a plentiful, viable source of K.
Formulas for Balanced, All-Purpose Organic Fertilizer, Fertilizer Ratio
Fertilizer Ratio (N-P2O5-K2O) Ingredients:

2-3.5-2.5  -1 part bone meal
3 parts alfalfa hay
2 parts greensand

2.5-2.5-4 - 3 parts granite dust
1 part dried blood
1 part bone meal
5 parts seaweed

4-5-4 - 2 parts dried blood
l part phosphate rock
4 parts wood ashes

3.5-5.5-3.5 - 2 parts cotton seed meal
1 part colloidal phosphate
2 parts granite dust

0-5-4 - 1 part phosphate rock
3 parts greensand
2 parts wood ashes

2-8-3 -  3 parts greensand
2 parts seaweed
1 part dried blood
2 parts phosphate rock

Substance Nutrient:       Elements Supplied:

Blood meal                   15% N, l.3% P, 0.7% K
Dried blood                   12% N, 3.0% P, 0% K
Bone meal                    3.0% N, 20.0% P, 0% K, 24 to 30% Ca
Cottonseed meal           6% N, 2 to 30% P, 2% K
Fish emulsion, fish meal 10% N, 4 to 6% P, 1% K
Hoof and horn meal        14% N, 2% P, 0% K
Leatherdust, leather meal 5.5 to 22% N, 0% P, 0% K
Kelp meal, liquid seaweed 1% N, 0% P, 12% K

Calcite, calcitic limestone 95 to 100% calcium carbonate
Colloidal phosphate or soft
omission                             0% N, 18 to 20% P, 27% Ca, 1.7% iron phosphate, silicas, 14 other trace elements
Dolomite, dolomitic
51% calcium carbonate, 40% magnesium carbonate
Granite dust, granite meal,
crushed granite minerals      0% N, 0% P, 3 to 5% K, 67% silica, 19 trace

Greensand, glauconite          0% N, 10% P, 5 to 7% K, 50% silica, 18 to 20% iron
oxide, 22 trace minerals
Gypsum (calcium sulfate)      23 to 57% C, 17.7% S
Langbeinite                           0% N, 0% P, 22% K, 22% S, 11% Mg
Rock phosphate                    0% N, 22% P, 0% K, 30% Ca, 2.8% Fe, 10% silica, 10
other trace minerals
Sulfur                                    100% S

Composted cow manure          2% N, 1% P, 1% K
Guano (bat)                            8% N, 40% P, 29% K average, but varies widely, 24 trace
Guano (bird)                           13% N, 8% P, 20% K, 11 trace minerals

Rabbit                                    2.4%N, 1.4%P, 0.6%K

Views: 2930

Replies to This Discussion

I've read that I should brew my compost tea for 24 to 30 hours and use it all immediately.   I'm wondering if I couldn't just add a little more molasses to keep the bacteria alive.

Keep it aerated and keep feeding it and you can keep the bacteria alive, but I wouldn't say indefinitely since they probably need more than just molasses long term, best to use it in a reasonable time after brewing and KEEP it AERATED and FED until you are ready to spray.

My plan is to keep it aerated and change the "teabag" every couple of days. There is no spraying but rather flood and drain as in AP. I am simply replacing the plant food source from fish poop to high rate compost. That compost can be boosted as in Vlad's formulas above with Greensand, molasses, etc. although I have my own formulas as I have been around my Dad's work (Pliny Fisk) since I was about 8 yrs old. His field was composting solid waste and held many patents in that field. Dr. Earp Thomas (inventor of acidophilus among others) was his mentor and was an amazing pioneer in the compost field. My Dad's compost was the best sample Dr. Burkholder and his assistant at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden in NY had ever tested by his own words. I was about 9 when he drove over an hour to come out to our house in the country to meet the man that had left off that sample. I can still remember that day clearly. He was floored by my Dad's sample and started throwing around tech buzz words that my Dad had never even heard before. So this is a very intriguing marriage of the 2 and it sounds like Vlad has had experience doing something very similar. So I am psyched to get started.

It takes work and a good grinder. Last Summer I replaced the gas motor on my American Mackissic grinder with a 2hp electric motor and it is like a whole new machine. Gas looses power as it loads up while electric gains power as it gets loaded up. Big difference indeed and I have been delighted with it's performance and quiet, easy (flip a switch) operation. Grinding is a big key to going high rate (as in high temp due to the thermophile bacteria having a field day with the small particle size.) Done this way you can use everything from bones and meat to paper and cardboard, chicken manure, etc.. A complete organic recycling from kitchen waste to yard waste. Most compost operations don't even know what "high rate" is unfortunately. Mine is "finished" and ready to use in 2 weeks verses 6 months on average.

TCLynx said:

Keep it aerated and keep feeding it and you can keep the bacteria alive, but I wouldn't say indefinitely since they probably need more than just molasses long term, best to use it in a reasonable time after brewing and KEEP it AERATED and FED until you are ready to spray.

My next unit will be made of pvc drums verses steel as it should last 10 times longer. Just need to get up to speed welding pvc. Any of you had experience doing such? let me know. I have the hot air welder. I also need to select the right drums that wil nest well after removing top or bottoms.

For those who haven't seen my composter here are a few old pics:

@Jim -I turned my pile with a pitchfork yesterday, so I can really appreciate what you have built.

Thanks Bob, I've moved 3 times since then so I can't wait to build another. This time, like I said, out of pvc barrels. Found 5 heavy black ones. The guy has 1 bright green one and I sure hope he gets 4 more. That would be sooo sweet. It is my Green Machine after all

Jim that 'Green Machine' is too cool. Kudos. 

I get that you have placed holes between the barrels, but what keeps the compost moving in the correct direction?

How large are those holes?

Sloped to the right at a slight angle. Not that dire as to angle as the # of rotations every few days makes up for slope in terms of how fast it moves so it is a combination of both. The holes are about 8-10" and staggered so as to keep the anaerobic balls that form, inevitably, from getting ahead of the rest. Referred to as "flight pans". I also place a few bricks in the last couple of drums to help break up those clods but they also get screened out at the trommel screen and go back into the grinder with the next batch which also helps inoculate the new ground up garbage.I think the pvc barrels will be much stronger than steel but a bit trickier to weld.

I'll have to go and reread my own set of plans to freshen up on details (like I had to with the GH woodstove:-). I built the composter in the mid 80's and Yankee Mag. did a feature article on it back then. Sold a lot of plans since. I turned the original plans into pdf which did not exist back then. Those were the first plans I ever did on the computer tho. Before that it was typewriter and drawing board and copy machine and book binder. Amazing. 

Learned a lot about PLCs and differential temperature controls since then which will make automating it even easier. Should be even more fun this time around. The wood stove certainly has been. I have that sucker automated every which way but Sunday this time. Haven't gotten back to the waste oil injection yet but close. Right now I am making automatic fish feeders as they are more important. Have one working bread board style just this morning. Slick and cheap for me as I already have impulse timers and gear motors left from my commercial laundry chemical business. Using old wood augers for drive to push and meter the fish food. I'll need to make 5 eventually. Another thing a fishless system won't need

Bob Campbell said:

I get that you have placed holes between the barrels, but what keeps the compost moving in the correct direction?

How large are those holes?

Interesting update on Monsanto: Peru

Jim, do you have a link to this?

Jim Fisk said:

Interesting update on Monsanto: Peru

Peru is blue for a reason
Let me know if it doesn't work for you. It works for me.
Bob Terrell said:

Jim, do you have a link to this?


© 2023   Created by Sylvia Bernstein.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service