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Organic Garden Magic: Create Powerful Homemade Fertilizers For Your Garden

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homemade fertilizer

Many garden blogs and videos suggest a lot of fertilizers. I often think if I purchased everything the garden gurus say I should, the cost of gardening would far outweigh the benefits! Fortunately, there are lots of homemade fertilizers that work just as well as expensive store-bought products.

Our ancestors didn’t have many fancy store-bought options. It’s always good to remember that. They had to make do with what they had on hand. They relied on animal manure a lot more than most of us do today. But many other plant products were useful. Here are just a few of our favorite homemade fertilizers.

Listen to Podcast 1.15 – homemade Fertilizers

Egg Shell Calcium Powder

  • Ingredients: Clean eggshells.
  • Method: Preheat your oven to a low temperature (around 200°F or 93°C). Spread the eggshells out on a baking sheet in a single layer. Place the baking sheet in the oven and allow the eggshells to dry out completely. This usually takes about 30 minutes to 1 hour. Alternatively, you can dry them in a microwave by heating them in short intervals until dry. Let cool and grind into a powder.
  • Benefits: Adding crushed eggshells to the soil can help replenish calcium levels, which is particularly beneficial for plants that require calcium for cell wall formation, such as tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants.

Bone Meal

  • Source: Ground animal bones.
  • Method: After making bone broth the bones are soft. Bake them in the oven to dry them out and then grind the softened bones. Sprinkle bone meal around the base of plants or incorporate it into the soil.
  • Benefits: High in phosphorus and calcium, bone meal promotes strong root development and flowering in plants.

Banana Peel Fertilizer

  • Ingredients: Banana peels, water
  • Method: Chop banana peels into small pieces and soak them in water for several days. Strain out the solids and use the banana peel-infused water to water your plants.
  • Benefits: Rich in potassium and other nutrients beneficial for plant growth.

Alternately, you can bake banana peels in a low oven until dried, then grind them into a powder. Top dress flowering plants to help with blossoms.

Compost Tea

  • Ingredients: Finished compost, water
  • Method: Place compost in a bucket or container, add water, and let it steep for a few days to a week, stirring occasionally. Strain out solids, dilute with water, and apply to plants.
  • Benefits: Provides a rich source of nutrients and beneficial microbes to the soil.

Fish Meal

  • Source: Ground-up fish or fish byproducts.
  • Method: Sprinkle fish meal around the base of plants or incorporate it into the soil.
  • Benefits: Rich in nitrogen, phosphorus, and trace minerals, fish meal provides a balanced nutrient source for plants.

Fish Emulsion

  • Ingredients: Fish scraps (such as fish heads, bones, and guts), water
  • Method: Place fish scraps in a container, cover with water, and let it decompose for several weeks, stirring occasionally. Strain out solids and dilute the liquid with water before using.
  • Benefits: Provides a concentrated source of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, along with trace minerals.

Wood Ash Fertilizer

  • Source: Ash leftover from burning wood, preferably untreated wood.
  • Method: Scatter wood ash on the soil surface or incorporate it into the soil.
  • Benefits: Contains potassium and other trace minerals, raises soil pH, and helps improve soil structure.
homemade fertilizer

Coffee Grounds

  • Ingredients: Used coffee grounds
  • Method: Sprinkle coffee grounds around the base of plants or mix them into the soil.
  • Benefits: Rich in nitrogen, coffee grounds can help improve soil structure and stimulate microbial activity.

Seaweed Fertilizer

  • Ingredients: Fresh or dried seaweed, water
  • Method: Rinse seaweed to remove excess salt, then soak it in water for a few days. Strain out solids and use the seaweed-infused water to water your plants.
  • Benefits: Rich in nutrients, including potassium, magnesium, and trace elements. It also helps improve soil structure and increase plant resistance to stress.

Epsom Salt Solution

  • Ingredients: Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate), water
  • Method: Dissolve Epsom salt in water according to package instructions. Apply around the base of plants.
  • Benefits: Boosts magnesium levels in the soil, which is essential for plant growth and productivity.

Green Manure

  • Source: Cover crops like clover, alfalfa, or vetch.
  • Method: Plant cover crops and then till them into the soil before they reach maturity.
  • Benefits: Adds organic matter to the soil, improves soil structure, and fixes nitrogen from the air.

Urine

  • Source: Human or animal urine.
  • Method: Dilute urine with water (approximately 10 parts water to 1 part urine) and apply it to the soil around plants.
  • Benefits: Rich in nitrogen, urine provides an excellent source of nutrients for plants when applied in moderation.

Stinging Nettle Fertilizer

Stinging nettles (Urtica dioica) are rich in nitrogen, potassium, magnesium, iron, and other trace minerals. Despite their reputation for causing skin irritation, when properly prepared, nettles can be an excellent addition to homemade fertilizers.

Method:

  1. Harvest stinging nettles when they are young and before they flower. Wear gloves to avoid skin irritation.
  2. Chop the nettles into small pieces and place them in a container.
  3. Cover the nettles with water and allow them to steep for several weeks, stirring occasionally.
  4. Strain out the solids, dilute the liquid with water, and apply it to your garden as a liquid fertilizer.

Benefits:

  • Rich in nitrogen, nettles provide a nutrient boost to plants, promoting healthy growth and green foliage.
  • They also contain potassium and other minerals essential for plant development.
  • Additionally, the liquid fertilizer derived from nettles can help improve soil structure and microbial activity.

Other Weeds:

Several other common weeds can also be used to make fertilizer, including:

  • Comfrey: Comfrey (Symphytum spp.) is another nutrient-rich plant that can be used to make fertilizer. Like stinging nettles, it is high in nitrogen, potassium, and other minerals beneficial for plant growth.
  • Dandelion: Dandelions (Taraxacum officinale) may be considered a nuisance by some gardeners, but they are rich in nutrients, including potassium, phosphorus, and calcium. You can include dandelion leaves and roots in homemade fertilizers to provide a nutrient boost to plants.
  • Clover: Clover (Trifolium spp.) is a nitrogen-fixing plant that can be used as a green manure or added to compost to increase nitrogen levels.

Benefits:

  • Using these weeds as fertilizer helps recycle nutrients from plants that would otherwise be discarded.
  • They contribute organic matter to the soil, improving its structure and fertility over time.
  • Additionally, making fertilizer from weeds reduces the need for synthetic fertilizers, promoting more sustainable gardening practices.

While weeds can be valuable sources of nutrients for the garden, be sure not to allow any flowers or seeds into the fertilizers.

homemade fertilizers

Benefits of Homemade Fertilizers

In conclusion, incorporating homemade fertilizers into your gardening routine offers a multitude of benefits for both your plants and your wallet. Not only do these DIY solutions provide essential nutrients to nourish your plants, but they also promote soil health and microbial activity, leading to stronger, more resilient growth. You also dispose of household waste that would otherwise end up in the landfill…a win-win!

By harnessing the power of natural ingredients like kitchen scraps, weeds, and organic matter, you can achieve impressive results while reducing your reliance on expensive commercial fertilizers. Embrace the cost-saving and plant-boosting potential of homemade fertilizers, and watch your garden thrive like never before.

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