Subject: Why does the fish fertilizer have to smell?

Date: May 14, 1997

Dear SWF:

I used your seaweed and fish product last summer and was very happy with the results.  My gardens looked great.  Why does it have to smell so bad?

John F.

The product you are referring to is our Liquid Seaweed / Fish Fertilizer (3-2-2).  It smells because it contains fish by-products.  We are a seaweed business and believe that the seaweed is the unique ingredient.  It is a rich source of micronutrients, vitamins, and growth hormones but does not contain much of the “big three” nutrients, Nitrogen, Phosphorous, and Potassium.  For this reason we call our regular liquid seaweed a plant food and not a fertilizer.  In order to make a high quality and balanced organic fertilizer, certain fish by-products seem to be the best organic source of nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium.  In addition to the nutrients, they also bring with them certain odors.

It is only since the advent of synthetic fertilizers that we started to expect our fertilizers to be nose-neutral.  Remember after all it is fertilizer.  Our product is a concentrate that gets mixed at 3 Tbsps. per gallon of water.  Fortunately the dilution also affects the smell and many people think that the mixed product is okay considering it is an organic fertilizer.  The Seaweed / Fish fertilizer is by far our biggest selling product.  The mixture is the most complete product for the health and growth of your plants.

We do recognize that most people, given the choice, would purchase a non-smelly fertilizer over an odiferous one.  Again, we are a seaweed company and not a fish company.  At this point, in the world of organics, certain fish by-products are the best source of nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium, and odor.  If a new organic source of the major nutrients became available and it just happened not to smell, I would suggest that we would switch very quickly, provided the end product was able to meet our high standards.

Remember that the product worked well for you as it does for many others.  Remember that it should not be surprising that fertilizer smells.  And go feed your plants, breathe deep, enjoy the smell and remember the last time you were down on the waterfront.


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