Fish Heads under Fall Crops Exper.

vgkg(Z-7)August 18, 2001

Hi Folks, I just started this one today so thought it best to jot it down while it's still fresh in my mind.
Last month I caught 44 nice Croakers and froze their heads for using as fertilizer for my fall crops of collards, kale, cabbage, broccoli, and turnips. Today I started this exp by planting 3 rows of seeds each of:

Curley Kale
Purple Top Turnips
Georgia Collards

Before planting the seeds I divided each of the 3 rows in half and buried the fish heads under one half of each row/crop. The fish heads were lined down the center of the half row about 1" apart in a trench and covered 6" deep. The seeds were then sowed on top of them and in the unfished half of row too.

This way I can compare how each crop of kale, collards, & turnips do with & without the fish heads.
In 2 more weeks I do the same with cabbage & broccoli transplants.

My first thoughts on this is that the leafy veggies like cabbage, kale, & collards will do well with the extra nitrogen from the heads. Not certain how it will effect the broccoli & turnips, hopefully it won't make them all leaf and few buds/roots. Maybe the bone/Phosphorus source will balance things out?
We'll See as autumn comes along.

BTW, I also planted carrots today but decided it best to leave them out of this experiment. Carrots don't need a lot of fert and the thought of them growing deep into the heads didn't seem quite right. I compromised with the turnips since they are more shallow rooted.

Footnote, it's eerie how all the fishheads lay on their sides so that one eye is always watching you as they are lined up and buried. I thanked them as I said farewell, still enjoying the rest of them on a weekly basis ;o)
Stay tuned, vgkg

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Native Americans or aboriginal people or whatever it's PC to refer to the people who were here before us in your neck of the woods have been doing that forever. Try it under corn, that's a real experience I can tell you. Good luck, vgkg, let us all know how things turn out. Regards: Metaxa

    Bookmark   August 19, 2001 at 12:49AM
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I tried the fish under hills of corn method, with half the crop, the other half left with just good soil. All the harvest came from the unfertilized hills, because my dogs and the neighbor dogs dug up all the fish to roll in! American Indians are supposed to have had lots of dogs, and I wonder if the fish fertilizer story is a myth...

    Bookmark   August 19, 2001 at 8:22PM
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To all you "fish-head" planters...
I also tried it under corn but alas and alack, some critter sneaked in during the night for I planted more heads deeper but to no to do?? polly

p.s. fencing didn't help!

    Bookmark   August 20, 2001 at 2:31AM
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I believe that the Native Americans taught the Pilgrims how to use fish as fertilizer (at least that was the story in 1st grade history lesson, 40+ years ago). Corn is the most legendary crop for this method but I'm doing this fish head exp on mostly "leafy" veggies to see if it makes a difference there. So far the worst damage that has occured is my cat just digging in the fresh beds to poop (nothing unusual there). She's not interested in fish thank goodness. For you folks out in the country it'll be a tough battle with racoons and other nite diggers. vgkg

    Bookmark   August 20, 2001 at 7:51AM
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Go deep. Corn roots will find the fish. Critter noses are a problem but depth overcomes. How much root do those leafy specimens have? At any rate they are in the vicinity and when the fish "amendment" liquifies I bet it will be like my children at the milkshake place. Slurp.
Regards: Metaxa

    Bookmark   August 20, 2001 at 12:31PM
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I bury lots of fish bodies (ie heads, guts, skins) in the garden areas and let them rot well before planting veggies. I started this last year, and for the first time, had a good crop of potatoes (may have been coincidental). I bury them about 10 inches below the surface and water them in, compacting the soil a little and haven't had problems with skunks or racoons digging them up so far. Not even my dog seems interested.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2001 at 12:56PM
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Update: The seeds are now up (kale, turnip, collards). It'll be a while yet before any roots get down deep enough to reach the fish heads.
Also, planted my Broccoli, Cabbage, and Brussel Sprouts seedlings today. Planted one row of each and placed 3 fish heads under two plants of each. Now my fall garden is all set. This is where it gets interesting. Stay tuned. vgkg

    Bookmark   August 25, 2001 at 11:41PM
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I put a croaker in the bottom of every planting hole for my roses, and one per two tomato plants. The tomatoes love 'em.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2001 at 1:30AM
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blufloyd(5 cent. il.)

ok. I give up what's a croaker? drum? I fish never caught many freshwater. or are you saltwatering?

    Bookmark   August 26, 2001 at 4:44PM
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Hi Blufloyd, Croakers are salt water. Big time in the Chesapeake Bay and Va rivers this summer. Good 2-3 pounds of a meaty fish. Got it's name because it actualy does "croak" once out of water (no, not a pun, ha :o). Weird to have it croaking at you as you're trying to remove the hook. vgkg

    Bookmark   August 26, 2001 at 10:16PM
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I planted a sunflower over the top of a trout carcass in hopes of winning the organic sunflower contest. It grew so tall and huge a hippy picked it before it was half ripe-so much for winning!

    Bookmark   August 27, 2001 at 12:50AM
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>>Got it's name because it actualy does "croak" once out of water (no, not a pun, ha :o). Weird to have it croaking at you as you're trying to remove the hook. vgkgFreshwater drum do the same thing. And be sure to save the lucky stones when you clean them. (otoliths)

Since I love to fish (bet you thought that Love2Troll meant something else) I have lots of fish parts to dispose of. I dig a deep hole (compost pit) and add to it all year long. In the spring I use the composted fish as a supplement to my container soil.

When I was a kid we used fresh fish scraps only for the squash & melon plants which were 90-120 day to maturity types. Don't know why the scraps weren't used for row crops.

Am curious to see how the Drs experiment comes out.


    Bookmark   August 27, 2001 at 6:54AM
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veilchen(5b southern Maine)

I will sit in my armchair on this one since I had a bad experience last year with my dog running around the yard with a 40" striper carcass my husband had buried. The smell was unbearable.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2001 at 6:22AM
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i have a freind at work that claims his cherry tomato plant grew to a height of 12 feet.he attributes this to working a can of tuna(packed in water)into the soil three times during the life of the plant.i didnt ask him about animal problems.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2001 at 6:28PM
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colleen_mi(5b/6a SE Mich)

Now that's what I call "using the old noggin!" ;-)

    Bookmark   September 17, 2001 at 4:51PM
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Good one Colleen! Fish noggin that is.
As of this date there appears to be no difference between the controls and the fishy plants. But the root systems should now be getting very close to the fish heads and soon should show some changes. I would like to add that all of these plants have been well amended with compost too. Will update again soon on progress. vgkg

    Bookmark   September 18, 2001 at 8:29AM
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ccmarketgirl(9a TX)

Did you ever post the final results of this experiment. Getting ready to plant my spring crop out and I'd like to use fish parts etc since we're doing more fishin' nowadays and have all sorts of stuff leftover.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2002 at 5:25PM
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ccmarketgirl...Whew! for a moment there I thought all my follow up posts had vanished. Then I scrolled down to the bottom of page 1 and remembered that I made a new thread : FishHead Update. It's down further with final results. vgkg

    Bookmark   January 24, 2002 at 10:13PM
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What a waste! Could have used those fish heads for yummy Thai sweet and sour soup instead!

    Bookmark   February 11, 2002 at 2:08AM
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Showmekid(z5b MO)

I have to share this little tale. One year my Kidnergardeners did a science experiemnt using seeds and fish. We planted bean seeds using different kinds of fish in the pots to see which seed grew the best. We had four pots. One had a dead gold fish, one had a fish cracker, one had a gummy fish and the last had nothing but the seed. The gummy fish pot came up faster and grew larger. The children came to the conclusion that we should put sugar in the ground with our seeds. It was a total surprise to me but the kids loved it.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2002 at 1:16AM
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That sounds interesting Showmekid. I had read in places that sugar may restrict the uptake of nitrogen in plants. I might "guess" that since beans (a legume) produce their own nitrogen that maybe the sugar helped it do so? Normally beans don't need a nitrogen source. This is purely speculation on my part.
BTW, I took the liberty of linking my updated fish head thread to this one below. vgkg

Here is a link that might be useful: Link to final outcome/conclusions of Fishhead Exp

    Bookmark   February 14, 2002 at 8:23AM
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gardengrl(Northern Virginia)

Keep us posted on your experiment...

I remember when I was growing up, my dad and a neighbor down the street used to go fishing on a regular basis. Well, the neighbor used to take the "junk" fish and bury them into their garden which our dog inevitably found and rolled in with delight. Bleck!!! He would come home with a big ole' doggie grin on his face and smelling awful...he never seemed to figure out that rolling in that stuff equaled a bath every time! :-)

    Bookmark   February 21, 2002 at 8:50PM
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When I was young and foolish I planted the remains of my husbands "catch" under some ageratums. The ones over the fish remains grew to 3 1/2 feet tall, the rest of the row, about 7 inches.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2002 at 11:05PM
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krzjaz11703(6b or 7 LI NY)

I read in the indians planted a dead fish, corn kernel, squash seed, and a bean together, the bean grew up the corn stalk, the squash kept the weeds down, and the corn was the staple.
Check it out on check under masters of agriculture

    Bookmark   February 15, 2003 at 2:43PM
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I always use fish parts under the tomatoes. I usually have trout here but my home turf is NC> so it was alwaysCROAKERS!

    Bookmark   February 16, 2003 at 9:42PM
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shirley52(z 5-6 ks)

I also use fish when I plant tomatoes.What I do is
cut them in small pieces and put them in an old blender
and I add 1 tsp epsom salt per hill. My husband puts a whole fish in the hill. We have a lot of 3 tomatoes but no
7 lb ones.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2003 at 4:12PM
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