If using homemade fish emulsion is a good thing, is getting rid of it even better?

August 20, 2011 | By | Comments (6)

I had high hopes for my fish emulsion project. You may recall how I wound up with an extra 15 pounds of fresh sardines that went south, and brought them home to turn into nutritious fish emulsion for my plants. I imagined the results as big as Jack-in-the-beanstalk’s garden. Well, the fish emulsion “emulsified” all right. The problem is, I’ve been afraid to use it.

If blogs had an aroma option, you’d understand what I mean.

Now, I did dump the emulsion onto the tomatoes about a month ago, and they’ve been quite happy. Unfortunately, my kids had to avoid our trampoline (which is nearby) for 3 days afterwards, and the bucket has been sealed up ever since.

  Tomatoes and fish emulsion

Happy tomatoes (photo taken recently), oblivious to the fragrant brew before them

So, I realized I had to buck up and get rid of this stuff. Lacking a salt mine or other nuclear waste site, I poured the liquid portion onto this spindly Meyer lemon in the driveway (fortunately, the next-door-neighbor was away).

  Spindly Meyer lemon

But what to do with the solids at the bottom of the bucket (the compost and fish remains)? Ah ha, I thought, bury them in the compost!


A quick heave-ho, and my problems were over. Or so I thought.

The next day, my husband came in from the backyard.

“You’ll never guess what just happened,” he said. “I went out to the compost pile and fainted for 45 minutes. Oh, and the pitchfork stinks.”



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  2. jengod


    August 28, 2011 at 4:33 am
  3. Amy

    Fish emulsion is stinky business. I’ve used the ‘deodorized’ stuff and it still reeks for weeks.

    August 23, 2011 at 8:30 pm
  4. phshmngr

    The United Nations banned the use of fish emulsion after two world wars. You are lucky your neighbors have not pressed charges of felony assault with a deadly gas. Fish emulsion is the gift that keeps on giving every time you use it. Better to have buried the fish deep in the compost pile the first time around, then waited until after several half-lives. Veni, vidi, fragri.

    August 20, 2011 at 5:28 pm
  5. jen

    I wish my neighbors would use fish emulsh I’m pretty sure that they are fertilizing with human waste. There is no other smell.

    August 20, 2011 at 3:46 pm
  6. Dawn Chabolla

    I am falling over with laughter…my fish emulsion experiences have not been so hilarious but they have been as fragrant. I have to hide the bottle from my husband as he has forbidden it’s use (and the bottle says “deodorized” in large letters on the front) I still use it between regular feedings and find that it really does the job!

    August 20, 2011 at 1:40 pm

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