How To Use Fish Scraps In Your Garden?

When you grow plants in your garden they absorb nutrients from the soil. Slowly the soil gets depleted of nutrients. At this stage, you have to add organic matter that fulfils the needs of nutrients for your plants. 

It is better to use organic fertiliser to improve the quality of the soil and make it more fertile. If you want to fertilise your soil organic way then different things are available at your home without affecting your pocket.  

Fish scrap is one of those items which are obtained without spending money. Although gardening has become an expensive hobby, we can indulge our prudence without affecting our budget.

In this article, we will discuss how to use fish scraps in your garden to make your soil richer. Fish scraps are kitchen waste that you can get without spending money. 

What Fish Scraps Do For Your Garden? 

Fish scraps have been used since ancient times to fertilise the soil.  There are many benefits of using fish scraps in your garden but you should use them carefully because there are many cons. We will discuss all the advantages and disadvantages of fish scraps with you. 


Following are the benefits you can avail of when you use fish scraps.

  • When the fish scraps decompose in the soil it will break down and help to build your soil and add organic matter to make your soil more rich. 
  • As you know nitrogen is essential for the growth of foliage of plants. Fish scraps contain high amounts of nitrogen, which is a good thing. 
  • Fish scraps not only contain nitrogen but also calcium, zinc iron, and potassium. All these nutrients are very helpful in the healthier growth of plants.
  • When you apply fish scraps in your garden then you can easily dispose of the waste from the environment. 


Everything has good and bad sides. It’s up to you how to use it. You should use fish scrap with care otherwise it can be harmful to your plants. Following are the sum disadvantages you have to face when you use fish waste in your garden.

  • Pathogens are harmful bacteria that exist in raw fish.  When you use fish in the soil they start living in the soil and affect the health of your plants. 
  • Raw fish also contain parasites that are not good for humans.  If you bury infected fish in the soil then these parasites infect the soil and this infection transfers to your edible plants.
  • Fish is the favourite of many animals such as rats, raccoons, cats, and dogs. Flesh-eating insects can also become a problem for you as they like to eat fish scrap. To avoid this problem you must bury the fish scraps deeply in the soil. 
  • Fish scraps contain a small amount of Mercury and when you bury fish scraps in the soil this metal will not decompose and remain in the soil.
  • The smell of the fish is not liked by many people. If you leave the fish in the soil to rot then your neighbours complain about the smell. 

Where To Get Fish Scrapes?

We have told you all the pros and cons of using fish in the garden. Now the question arises where to get fish scraps that you can easily use? 

Mostly the fish you buy from the market has come from farms. It is not easy for you to go and catch the fish or buy it to use in your garden. You need only the head, bones, organs, faeces, and other offal of fish. 

You can go to the fish market and ask them for scraps as they don’t need them.  In case, there is no fish market near your house then you can go to a grocery store or restaurant and ask them. If they have any fish waste they will be happy to give them to you. 

Ways To Use Fish Scraps In Your Garden

Now we will tell you how you can use fish scraps in your garden.  Following are the 4 effective ways to use fish scraps to make your soil more fertile for your plants.


This is the most simple and easy way to use fish waste for your favourite plants. Experienced gardeners bury the fish waste under a seed to help it grow fast. 

You will see a dramatic improvement in your plants when you worry about fish heads in the soil. Fish waste decomposes very quickly compared to other organic matter. Following are the ways to bury the fish waste directly in the soil. 

  • You can’t bury fish scraps under the root crops because pathogens and parasites can affect your root vegetables such as carrots, radishes, and turnips.  It means you should use fish waste for burying under plants such as cucumber or tomato. 
  • It is suggested that you bury fish waste deeply in the soil. When you bury it deep it is not easy for your pets to dig the soil or smell the fish waste.  fish scraps easily decompose in the soil and make it self-sufficient in nutrients.  


If you don’t want to worry about the fish scrap in the soil. You will like this second method very well. Take the fish waste and blend it with water.  Now your liquid fertiliser is ready to use in your garden. 

When you apply this solution to the soil you can’t bear the smell of this stinking rotting mess that attracts flies. This is the reason why most people do not like to use this method.


You can easily make this liquid organic fertiliser for your plants. It is not difficult to make it but it is very smelly. 


The things you need for making fish emulsion are:

  • The first thing you need is fish scrap.
  • The second thing you need is sawdust. It is chips of wood that are produced during cutting, grinding, drilling, or sanding wood.
  • You need a 5-gallon bucket with a lid.
  • Molasses.
  • Water


Following are the simple and easy steps for making fish emulsions.  You can do it at your home without facing any difficulty.

  • Fill the bucket with fish scraps and sawdust in an equal ratio.
  • Now you need one cup of molasses and add it to the mixture of fish scraps and sawdust.
  • The next step is mixing this solution with water.
  • Now let the mixture sit for 2 weeks. You must stir it every day. 
  • When it has steeped, strain out the solid from the solution. You can use this solid with fresh water to make a new solution of fish emulsion. 
  • The strained solution is ready for fish emulsion.  You can make it more dilute by adding it to water.
  • The interesting thing about this fish emulsion is that it can decompose in the soil quickly. So your plant easily absorbs all the required nutrients. 


Fish is included in the healthiest food on the earth because it contains Vitamin D,  Proteins, and Omega 3. You can use fish scraps in compost but you can’t ignore the fact that it attracts pathogens and different pests.

The organic matter present in the compost decomposes and turns into Humus.  This Humus is made from plant or animal sources which is why it contains healthy nutrients. 

If you decide to add fish scraps to the compost then after adding fish waste close the compost bin. The reason is that fish become rancid and attract unwanted pests. When you close the bin they can’t enter. 

It is better to mix the fish waste with plant waste and buddy eat in the centre of the pile.  The centre of the pile is hot enough that’s why fish will decompose very quickly. 

The ideal temperature for composting the pile is at least 64 degrees Centigrade or 145 degrees Fahrenheit.   If you maintain this temperature for 5 days all the pathogens present in the raw fish will be killed. 

How Often Should I Use Fish Fertilizer?

You can use fish waste a few times in your garden. The ideal time for burying the fish pieces is before planting. When you are preparing the soil for planting your young plants or sowing the seeds you can use the fish waste to improve the fertility of the soil. 

Dig the hole in the soil and place the fish waste in it.  With the help of a rake or hands, you can make these pieces in the soil before filling the hole. 

Now you will ask how many times you can add fish to the soil.  The answer is 1 to 2 times during the growing season.  When you add the pieces or mixture to the soil mix it well but make sure the roots of the plants are not disturbed. 

If you damage the roots of the plants then it will affect the growth. You are adding the fish pieces to improve the development of the plants and when the roots are disturbed then it will stunt the growth and you will get nothing. 

The best way of using fish in your soil is fish emulsion which is a diluted mixture that easily mixes in the soil. You can use an ounce of fish emulsion in one gallon of water. Now apply this solution twice per week so your plants boost and produce a higher yield. 

Is It Better To Buy Fish Fertilizer?

When you use raw fish to make your soil fertile and self-sufficient for all the nutrients.  You should not forget that fish scraps contain pathogens and they cause many health problems.  If you want to avoid such a problem then you can buy fish fertilisers. 

Following are the forms of fish fertiliser that are easily available.


You are thinking, what is a fish meal? It is a byproduct that is obtained by grinding and drying fish waste. The flesh and bones of the fish are dried and ground to make powder. 

This is a protein-rich food for soil. Generally, fish meal powder is used for sprinkling on the garden fertiliser.


Fish emulsion is considered an organic fertiliser.  The gardeners who want to grow their plants organically prefer to use it. 

Fish emulsion is usually made from whole fish or carcass products such as scales, bones, and skin of fish. 


This is an awesome by-product because it contains a high level of Nitrogen that is needed by your plants. This is a thick liquid fertiliser that is very rich for your soil.

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