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Fertiliser Sausages
Fertiliser sausages are the term I have coined for a fertilising method I use that recycles natural fibres and provides a slow release source of nutrients for fruiting trees and vines (or any other plants).
I started to trial this method around four years ago because:
• I needed to provide a slow release form of nutrients for a lemon tree growing in a small sloping bed. Nutrients spread around the drip-line washed away too quickly because of the slope.
• Making a sausage helped to hold the mulch in place on sloping sites during the drought.
• I was already recycling old cotton fabric (towels, sheets, curtains) as a method of weed control and covering them under a layer of mulch. I was astounded at how quickly and completely the cotton fabric disappeared.
• Many gardeners find fertilising their fruit tree three or four times each year too labour intensive and their trees suffer as a result. With fertiliser sausages nutrients need to be applied less frequently.
I am now convinced that this method can work well for other gardeners.
To make a fertiliser sausage you will need:
• Material made from natural fibre (cotton towels, woollen blankets, cotton sheets, curtains, tablecloths, jeans etc ).
• A variety of animal manures (cow, sheep, alpaca, fowl manure mixed with sawdust litter)
• Pelleted manure and/or blood and bone
• Trace elements or rock dust
• Other natural nutrients like compost, worm castings, powdered seaweed.
Wrap a diverse mix of ingredients in the fabric to make a sausage. Wet fabric works best as it seems to hold the material together better and is easier to wrap. Roll the sausage over several times so as to encase the organic matter and fertiliser with several layers of fabric. Tie the ends of the sausage with natural fibre (wool, hemp twine, natural string).
Lay one or more sausages around the drip line of the tree and cover with mulch. As you water or when it rains the liquid nutrients drip down into the root zone.
Why apply fertiliser sausages?
• You can get away with fertilising less often and this is often a helpful strategy for time poor (or forgetful) gardeners.
• It is a good way of recycling natural fibre that is past being suitable for the lifeline bin.
How long does the sausage last?
• This varies depending on the thickness of the sausage, the material you use and the biological life in your soil. My sausages almost completely disappear with six to eight months.
When can you apply sausages?
• Any time you like, but especially after you prune your trees.
What can you apply sausages to?
It is very successful on fruiting trees and vines, but can be used on all plants.

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