Low Cost Garden Fertilizer Made From Sardines (With Recipe) – Mother Earth News

Garden fertilizers come in all shapes, sizes and formulas. Books and magazines claim that you can make your own by mixing this and that, and your flowers and vegetables will amaze you. So you run to the store and buy their suggested ingredients and yes, that makes good fertilizer, although you may be spending close to what you would pay if you were buying ready-to-use fertilizer.

You can, however, follow our simple homemade garden fertilizer recipe and not have to spend any extra money. We make our fertilizer inexpensively and it works great! Our garden fertilizer comes from sardines.

Health and Fertilizer Benefits of Sardines

If you aren’t eating sardines yet, you may be missing out on one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids and other important minerals, not to mention the taste is awesome! We switched to canned sardines of tuna because of reports we read of small fish that contain less toxins than big fish.

Sardines are very low in the food chain and eat mainly plankton. Their small bodies process their food quickly because they have a greater metabolism, removing any significant amounts of mercury or other toxins they may have ingested. Larger fish, such as tuna and salmon, digest the smaller fish they consume more slowly, allowing toxins to build up and concentrate in their organs and meat, to then be ingested by humans.

When I include sardines in a soup recipe, sometimes I pour the whole can, juice and all, into the kettle, but sometimes I drain the watery juice and just use the sardines. When I empty the box, I save the watery juice to make garden fertilizer. I simply add a little water to the sardine juice and fertilize our outdoor plants and vegetables with it. Free fertilizer!

Our plants and vegetables thrive on sardine juice because, after all, it is fish food. Sardines are good for us and sardine water is good for plants. I make sure to buy quality sardines, especially for the flavor but also for the quality of the juices, and I only buy sardines in water, never in oil, and I always look for sardines with less sodium both for our health and to avoid adding too much sodium to the soil.

Too much sodium can threaten the life of many plants, so read your labels carefully! Saline soils can easily recover by quickly applying enough water to help wash the salts out of the root zone.

Sardines are rich in nutrients known to keep our cardiovascular system healthy. This reduces unnecessary fats in our diet and is more easily usable for plants. They are raised in omega-3 fatty acids, as well as EPA and DHA, which can lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels. Sardines are an excellent source of vitamin B12, vitamin D and phosphorus, which help our arteries and bones and help us absorb calcium.

Sardines are high in protein to help build muscle, connective tissue and antibodies to keep our immune system strong. To learn more about the nutrients in sardines, click here.

Sardines contain many valuable nutrients that we need:
• Selenium
• Phosphorus
• Iron
• Magnesium
• The copper
• Zinc

The name Sardine comes from an Italian island called Sardinia, where large schools of these fish were often seen. To know more about Sardinia, click on here. With the growing concern for the health of our open waters, many people eat sardines because they do not contain concentrations of heavy metals, such as mercury and other contaminants like large fish do.

These oil-rich fish are small, saltwater, and soft-boned. They are numerous in the Atlantic, Pacific and Mediterranean oceans. In fact, Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte is credited with making these small fish desirable by developing sardines as the first canned fish. This was how emperors fed the multitudes of people in the land he ruled. If you want to know more about the history of canned sardines, click on here.

How to eat and where to find sardines

Sardines are becoming increasingly popular today as people discover their rich source of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D, as well as their incredibly low levels of mercury and PCBs.

Here are some ways to enjoy sardines:
• Add to any green salad drizzled with lemon juice and olive oil
• Add to any pasta sauce with lemon juice, garlic, mustard, salt and pepper
• Add to any soup for extra protein and great taste
• Eat right out of the box, adding your choice of spices and herbs
• Mash in a bowl, add mayonnaise and onions and spread on toast
• Add to your favorite dip or hummus
• Use in place of beef when making tacos

Some very good brands of sardines are:
• Bar Harbor
• Heir prince
• Wild Planet
• Season mark

One of our favorite ways to use sardines is with quinoa. Here is our recipe:

Quinoa and Sardines Recipe

Makes 2 servings


• 1 cup cooked quinoa
• 1 tablespoon chopped coriander
• 1 tablespoon of chopped arugula
• 1 teaspoon chopped lovage leaves or celery leaves (learn more about lovage here)
• 1/4 teaspoon fenugreek powder (Learn more about fenugreek here)
• 1/4 teaspoon bay leaf powder (optional)
• 1 box of chopped artichoke hearts
• 1 can chopped sardines, drained (save liquid for fertilizer)


Heat the artichoke hearts and sardines in a small saucepan. In another saucepan, heat the cooked quinoa, coriander, arugula, lovage or celery leaves, fenugreek and bay leaf. Serve by putting the artichoke-sardine mixture on a plate with a scoop of quinoa on top. This is, of course, gluten and dairy free. Enjoy!

Homemade sardine fertilizer for your garden

1. Open and drain a can of sardines of your choice, keeping the liquid

2. Use the sardine as you see fit

3. Add two quarts (64 oz) of water to the sardine liquid, stirring to distribute

4. Immediately pour over outdoor plants and vegetables

5. Follow with a good watering to help sardine fertilizer into the soil

Draining a can of sardines yields a generous two quarts (64 oz) of fresh garden fertilizer. That might not seem like a lot of garden fertilizer if you have a big garden, but if you eat two cans of sardines a week, that’s a gallon of fresh fertilizer a week year-round, which makes a lot of very inexpensive garden fertilizer!

Disclaimer: All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. The author of this blog makes no promises as to the accuracy of the information contained and will not be liable for any errors, omissions in this information or damage caused by this information. Read the nutritional information on each label. Use sardines with the correct sodium level for your plants tolerance. For more information on sodium levels and herbss, Click here.

Mary Ann Reeseis a certified mentor in the design, construction and operation of food bank farms. She has also been certified to teach cooking classes to low-income families. As an organic farmer, Mary has owned a mini-farm, greenhouse, chickens, ducks and geese raised from eggs in an incubator and is happy to share years of wiser life advice with her readers. . Read all her messages MOTHER EARTH NEWShere.

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