If you had not noticed the caption above, would you have been able to recognize the leaf in the photograph below? Not only is it a spinach leaf but one of several such leaves which grew in our back garden. My daughter who photographed the leaf placed it on a tray so that anyone viewing it could get an idea of the largeness of the leaf. The tray is approximately 30 centimetres (1 ft) in width. However, what makes this spinach leaf so special is not the size itself but the organic fertilizer which helped the leaves to grow so huge.
It may surprise you to know that the fertilizer was in fact produced in our fish pond by none other than the fish! The ‘fertilizer’ was the waste matter eliminated by the fish in the form of droppings. Most types of fish eliminate nitregenous waste as ammonia. As you may be aware, ammonia is widely used as a fertilizer.
Fittingly enough, the major contributor to the giant spinach leaves is none other than our giant gourami. All well and good but how do you collect the waste matter you must be wondering by now.
It is quite simple really and something which you can do easily without any special equipment. Here are the things you will need:
* The number of buckets needed depends on the
size of your pond.
The idea is to place the buckets which have been weighted down with rocks on the floor of the pond. Thereafter, the droppings of the fish get deposited in the buckets as sediment whenever the water in the pond tends to move, such as when the fish swim about or rain water hits the surface. The process is more efficient if you have a few large fish such as giant carp or gourami inhabiting the pond. They tend to move with a lot of force at times, creating ‘waves’ in their wake.
Depending on the number of fish in your pond and the resulting volume of waste, you can retrieve the buckets after 2-3 weeks. This is where the wooden pole with the iron hook comes to our aid. Simply place the hook around the handle of a bucket and steadily lift it out of the water. Drain off the excess water into another bucket or into the pond itself, preferably using a large fishing net. If you have small varieties of fish such as plaities or guppies in the pond, using a net to drain the water will ensure there are no fish caught in the buckets.
Now all you have to do is to dump the waste matter collected in the buckets into the soil surrounding your vegetable and fruit plants. Once that is done, put the rocks or bricks back into the buckets and place them in the pond again to collect more organic fertilizer. (Since our pond is fairly large I place 4 buckets at a time.)
I have been using this system for a number of years now. The effects on my crops have been amazing. Be it something as simple as spinach or cherry tomatoes to larger trees such as banana, all have yielded more luscious leaves and bigger fruits than what I have got in the past using chemical fertilizers.
So if you have a pond in your garden make use of the fish waste to make your crops grow. If you do not have a pond, do pass on this information to your friends and relatives who have ponds. After all, sharing is caring...
If you are interested in learning more about the health benefits of spinach, there’s an excellent on-line article titled 33 Amazing Health Benefits of Spinach