stephen lowe wrote:I'm not sure what fish manure is. Is it a byproduct of some sort of fish farm? The only thing I would be worried about if it is from a fish farm is antibiotics/other weird chemicals being fed to the fish. Also why is it mixed with perlite?
Tj Jefferson wrote:Mix it with wood chips and sell it as potting soil. You win from both the perlite and nitrogen. Thats a great resource. Are there any nurseries you could contract with locally to provide them with it? Potting soil sells at a premium.
Tj Jefferson wrote:Nope, I try to do everything super cheap and I get free chips, but maybe someone else does. I think mixed with the perlite and fish sludge you would have a fantastic potting medium in 6-8 months. we have been discussing wood chip composting on here.
You would definitely have to turn it a few times but I think you could have a great product in bulk. You would need somewhere around 8x the wood chip mass compared with the fish shmutz. I dump carcasses in the wood chips and it works, but takes more time. Yours would degrade very quickly. They are likely paying a tipping fee- and you should be getting a portion of that too. I could charge $20 a load for chips, but I take them for free because they know they had better be CLEAN or they will be back paying to dump. My suspicion is that they are probably paying around $60 a dump liquid like that in MA.
and yes, thats a lot of chips. Like hundreds of yards if you are getting 600 gallons a week. It is doable if you have the space. Potting soil sells for about $100/yard in bulk, so most places make their own from bark, coir, sand, perlite and peat or similar mixtures. None of those are cheap though, and most are not biologically very active. Additionally, there would be some (maybe a lot) of mycoremediation of the antibiotics if you used an appropriate fungal tea, if they are using them. you may need to protect your groundwater from getting contaminated. Definitely not something minor but something absolutely awesome to do for the environment if they are otherwise dumping this stuff.
I am making mine from composted chips and I add in 1/4 dirt. Perlite alone is pretty valuable, I wish I had that deal!
This could be a waste stream business! My hero!
Yeah dude, I absolutely do and would fetch a premium compared with compost at $30/yard. Screening would be great, but it you are selling to a nursery they won't be quite as picky. That is a lot of screening.
Do you think there could be any retail application for this potting soil?
I'm thinking more https://permies.com/t/86002/Mushroom-Slurry-Garden]mushroom slurry. You could mix it in with the fish/perlite.
Are you saying to spray the composting pile with compost tea in order to mycoremediate?
You would have perlite everywhere! I wouldn't probably be overly interested in it unless I was amending a compacted field mechanically (then it might be nice- maybe Bryant Redhawk will fill us in). Perlite is ~$20/yard, even if someone wanted to buy used perlite, and most people want sterile perlite for rooting. You have to remove the fish components from the perlite before it would have value, and then dry it. If it was easy the fish farmer would already be doing it, it probably isn't worth it. For $20/yard, that is alot of work. By applying the whole mix to a carbon source, you are capturing the fertility and could (maybe) get a premium price. I think I overestimated on the amount of chips you would need, if it is just the captured manure. What percentage of the mix is perlite? You don't want a potting mix more than about 10% perlite. If it is mostly perlite with minimal residue, then it might be useful in propagating blueberries, which is a big business. Could also work with figs.
What if I was to simply dry it out (I'm thinking large solar oven) and apply it as fertilizer?
Lucretia, that might be useful, but my concern is that this producer has probably run the numbers and figured the juice/squeeze ratio is not there. Waste stream enterprises are tough. In terms of the testing, the fish farmer should be able to produce a list of all inputs, and if he can't I would be concerned. I would think getting the basic levels of nitrogen/macros would be pretty cheap and useful just to calculate what you are getting and ratios to mix for sure. A lab only tests for what you order, so unless you are looking for a particular contaminant, you won't find it. It takes a working relationship with the producer. That being said mycoremediation is very powerful. I have chips that I am sure get bar oil and hydraulic fluid and whatever else leaked into them. Fungi given some time will degrade nearly any organic molecule, and otherwise they are headed for the river/estuary or the aquifer. Tradd Cotter's book on this is enlightening, this is in my opinion something we can all do on a small scale for a big improvement.
Maybe even strain it and sell it as a liquid fertilizer or a powdered concentrate.
Adam, does your fish manure come from a salt water farm or a fresh water farm? I wonder if it makes a difference.
I don't claim to have expertise in using fish manure as fertilizer but our garden produces a bounteous crop of veggies every year.
I still think it would be worth a shot with pure waste stream chips and maybe some sand/silicates (which should be readily available on the cape). If you can get a 10 yard load of chips, mix that stuff in and passively aerate it with some good ideas on here
Maybe even strain it and sell it as a liquid fertilizer or a powdered concentrate. Like fish emulsion where very small amounts are used? If it is super high in nitrogen then selling it as a "concentrate" that gets diluted could save lots of processing time.