The Garden Guru’s Homemade Natural Fertilizer Guide

Are you tired of spending a fortune on store-bought fertilizers that may harm your plants and the environment? Well, look no further! In this guide, we will explore 15 simple and inexpensive options for making your own homemade natural fertilizers using common household items. Plus, we’ll share 5 recipes for homemade plant food that will help your garden thrive without breaking the bank!

Say Goodbye to Weak Soil

Back in the day, people gardened because the produce from their own backyards was far superior and cheaper than anything from the store. And you know what? It still can be! The secret lies in enriching your soil. Many people have poor-quality soil in their yards, which leads to weak plants and low-quality vegetables. But don’t worry, you have the power to change that!

The Power of Homemade

Now, some may believe that having a beautiful and healthy garden requires spending a fortune on expensive store-bought fertilizers. But let me tell you a little secret: you are full of fertilizer! Yes, you read that right. You can make your own natural fertilizer using items you already have at home. Not only is it cost-effective, but it’s also better for your plants and the environment.

The Basics of Fertilizer

Before we dive into the world of homemade fertilizers, let’s go over a few basics. Fertilizers contain essential nutrients that plants need to thrive. The three main nutrients, often referred to as the “Big 3,” are nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). Each nutrient plays a crucial role in the health and growth of your plants. Nitrogen helps plants grow big and leafy, phosphorus promotes strong root systems and flowering, and potassium contributes to overall plant growth and disease resistance.

Further reading:  Biostimulants: Unleashing the Power of Plant Resilience

Natural vs. Synthetic Fertilizer

You may be wondering, what’s the difference between natural and synthetic fertilizers? Natural (organic) fertilizers, such as alfalfa meal, cottonseed meal, and fish emulsion, work slowly to release nutrients into the soil, feeding your plants over time. They also help improve the soil’s health. On the other hand, synthetic (chemical) fertilizers contain concentrated forms of nutrients and work quickly to feed plants directly. However, they don’t improve soil health and can harm beneficial organisms in the long run.

Making Your Own Homemade Fertilizer

Now that you understand the basics, let’s explore some simple and inexpensive homemade fertilizer options:

1. Aquarium Water

Next time you clean your fish tank, don’t throw away the water! Use it to water your plants. The fish waste in the water makes an excellent natural fertilizer.

2. Bananas

Not only are bananas tasty and healthy for humans, but they also benefit many plants. Bury a banana or its peel alongside roses or mix banana peels into the top layer of soil to provide potassium for proper growth.

3. Blackstrap Molasses

Blackstrap molasses is a nutrient-rich option for plants. It feeds beneficial bacteria, keeping the soil and plants healthy. Mix it with Epsom salts and alfalfa meal, then dilute and apply to the soil for a natural fertilizer boost.

4. Coffee Grounds

Used coffee grounds contain nitrogen, phosphoric acid, and potash. They are great for plants that prefer acidic soil, such as blueberries, roses, and fruit trees.

5. Cooking Water

The water used to boil potatoes, vegetables, eggs, or pasta contains nutrients that can be used as a natural fertilizer. Just let the water cool before applying it to your soil.

6. Corn Gluten Meal

Corn gluten meal, a byproduct of corn processing, works as both an organic herbicide and a natural fertilizer. Simply spread a thin layer and scratch it into the top inch of soil.

7. Egg Shells

Crushed egg shells are a practical fertilizer rich in calcium. Sprinkle them around your garden soil to replenish this essential nutrient.

Further reading:  The Ultimate Guide to Fall Lawn Fertilization

8. Epsom Salts

Mix Epsom salts with water and apply directly to the foliage for a quick dose of magnesium and sulfur.

9. Wood Ash

Wood ash is a great source of potassium and calcium carbonate. Sprinkle it onto your soil, but avoid using it in areas with acid-loving plants.

10. Gelatin

Dissolve gelatin in water and water your plants with it for a nitrogen boost. This is especially beneficial for houseplants.

11. Green Tea

A weak solution of green tea makes a natural fertilizer. Use it to water your plants every 4 weeks for an extra nutrient kick.

12. Hair

Believe it or not, hair is a good source of nitrogen. Collect hair from your hairbrush or ask local barbershops or salons for hair clippings. It’s not limited to human hair—dog, cat, or horse hair works too!

13. Horse Feed

Horse feed contains molasses, which makes it an excellent homemade fertilizer. Sprinkle it on top of the soil or dissolve it in water and apply as a soil drench.

14. Matches

Easy-strike matches contain magnesium, which is beneficial for plants. Place them in the hole with a plant or soak them in water to create a magnesium-rich solution.

15. Powdered Milk

Powdered milk is a great source of calcium for plants. Mix it into the soil before planting to provide this essential nutrient.

These are just a few examples of homemade fertilizers you can make using items you already have at home. Get creative and experiment with different combinations to find what works best for your plants.

Recipes for Homemade Plant Food

If you’re looking for more complex recipes, here are a few favorites:

1. Simple Tea Fertilizer

In a 5-gallon bucket, mix Epsom salts, urine, wood ash, grass clippings, and water. Let the mixture steep for three days, then dilute and apply to the soil around your plants for a nutrient boost.

2. Homemade Fish Emulsion Fertilizer

Fill a 55-gallon drum with water and fish waste. Let it steep for several weeks, then apply the fish emulsion fertilizer to the soil around your plants.

3. Seaweed Fertilizer

Chop seaweed and steep it in water for three weeks. Strain the liquid and dilute it with water before using it to water your plants.

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4. The Quick Fix Fertilizer

Mix baking powder, ammonia, instant iced tea, blackstrap molasses, hydrogen peroxide, crushed bone scraps, and eggshell or banana peel in water. Let the mixture sit in the sun for an hour, then water your plants with it.

The Power of Manure

If you have animals, don’t overlook the power of manure! Manure from horses, cows, chickens, and other animals can be used as a natural fertilizer. Just make sure to age and compost it first. Spread aged manure on top of your garden soil or till it into the top layer of soil.

Making Manure Tea Fertilizer

Manure tea is another great option for garden plants. Steep aged manure in water for up to two weeks, then dilute and use it to water your plants. This tea enriches the soil and provides essential nutrients for healthy plant growth.

Take Control of Your Garden

By making your own natural fertilizers, you have complete control over what goes into your garden. You can reduce waste, reuse common household items, and recycle nutrients to nourish your plants. Don’t be afraid to get creative and tailor your homemade fertilizers to suit the needs of your specific plants. Your garden—and your wallet—will thank you!

So, why spend a fortune on store-bought fertilizers when you can make your own natural fertilizers at home? With just a little knowledge and a few household items, you can have a thriving garden without breaking the bank. Plus, you’ll be reducing your environmental impact and ensuring the health and vitality of your plants. So go ahead, get your hands dirty, and start creating your own homemade natural fertilizers today!

For more gardening tips and tricks, visit Ames Farm Center, your one-stop-shop for all your gardening needs.

Note: This article is an updated version of an original post published on September 1, 2015. The author may not currently be available to respond to comments, but we encourage our community members to share their experiences and answer questions!