Homemade Fertilizers That Can Save You Money

Fertilizers are necessary for your garden. Soil frequently needs a boost in nutrients throughout the year. Plants deplete the nutrients each year as well. The great thing is that you don’t need to run to the store to get fertilizers. Your pantry and backyard are full of materials that make for perfect organic fertilizers. In this post we will discuss about homemade fertilizers that can save you money and also those fertilizers are good for your plants.

All fertilizers in the stores are labeled with their content of the three major plant nutrients. Nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium (N-P-K) are all necessary for proper plant growth. Organic, natural fertilizers have lower levels of N-P-K, but that allows you to change how much you apply and the frequency of applications.

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Benefits of Using Natural Fertilizers

Many gardeners opt for natural fertilizers rather than chemical fertilizers. Doing so mimics nature and the natural decomposition of organic matter which creates a natural fertilizer. Natural fertilizers add nutrient-rich material to your soil which can improve the texture and quality, leading to healthier plants.

Another great benefit of natural fertilizers is that it can increase how much water the soil can hold. This benefit does wonders during a drought when water is scarce. Natural fertilizers can also reduce erosion from water and wind. The reasons for using organic fertilizers keeps increasing!

Creating your natural fertilizer means that you are less likely to burn your delicate, new seedlings once you plant them. The fertilizers aren’t as concentrated, which means you do have to apply the fertilizer more often. However, when you make your natural fertilizers, it is free and without any dangerous chemicals. Organic fertilizer must be used correctly to avoid contaminating surface and groundwater. If you use natural fertilizers incorrectly, you could potentially cause a nutritional imbalance, the opposite of your desires.

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Organic Fertilizers You Have at Home

Banana Peels

Our house goes through bananas like water, and that leaves a lot of banana peels behind. Banana peels are a fantastic source of potassium. Gardeners can use the banana peels in a variety of ways. You could put a peel or two in the hole before planting. You could put the peels on the soil, underneath the mulch.

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Coffee Grounds

Everyone (or everyone should) has coffee grounds available; the world runs on coffee. Don’t toss those coffee grounds out! They provide essential acid for plants who love it, such as blueberries and tomatoes. Coffee grounds introduce nitrogen to the soil. All you have to do is sprinkle coffee grounds on top of the soil before watering.

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Egg Shells

If you have chickens, you will have a plethora of eggshells for your garden. The first step is to wash your egg shells. Otherwise, they will stink. Once the shells dry, you should crush them up. The dried shells should be worked into the soil along plants that required more calcium. Tomatoes and peppers are fond of extra calcium. Calcium also can work against blossom end rot.

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Grass Clippings

If you have a lawn, you have access to free fertilizer. Grass clippings are rich in nitrogen. The clippings break down quickly, releasing the nitrogen in the soil. You can add grass clippings at the base of the plants. The other solution is to make a liquid fertilizer.

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Manure

For those of us with some farm animal, you have access to manure. Cows, horses, rabbits, and chickens create the perfect manure for your garden. However, it is essential to remember you should never use feces from dogs, cats or humans.

That would introduce dangerous bacteria and pathogens, which would be absorbed into your vegetables. No thank you! You must remember that manure should be mixed with hay or straw than composted for a minimum of nine months. Fresh manure can and will burn your plants.

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Epsom Salt

You might think that Epsom salt is just good for comforting bath water, but it can play a part in your garden. In fact, Epsom salt is a fantastic secret that few seem to discuss enough. Epsom salt helps to improve the flowers blooming, as well as enhancing the plant’s green color. Epsom salt is made of hydrated magnesium sulfate, which aids plant growth.

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Wood Ash

After a long bonfire, you will have an abundance of wood ash. Some people just leave it there for the next fire with your family, but wood ash offers other possibilities. Believe it or not, you can add wood ash to your natural fertilizer. Wood ash is a source of lime and potassium and also provides trace elements beneficial for your plants.

The key to using wood ash in your homemade fertilizer is that you must either lightly scatter it or compost before use. If wood ash becomes wet, it also produces lye and salts which might burn your plants in large amounts.

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Pine Needles

Millions of homeowners are lucky enough to have pine trees in their backyard. Pine trees produce an abundance of needles, much to the woos of those homeowners. Pine needles are a great source of nutrients for your garden! You can use them for mulch around your plant or in the compost. You do want to avoid putting too much pine needles in your compost because they do take a long time to break down.

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Building a Healthy Compost Pile

There is no homemade fertilizer like compost. Compost is, by far, the best fertilizer and soil amendment that you can develop for your vegetable garden. The best thing about compost is that you can make it from all kinds of things you already have around you. There is no reason for you ever to purchase those expensive bags of compost at the store!

Compost is typically worked into the soil from you plant the seedlings or seeds. You can also add later around your established plants. Compost contains nutrients, beneficial micro-organisms and helps to improve your soil health. Adding compost can also increase earthworms in your soil.

Building a healthy compost pile doesn’t take too much work! An essential key is to learn what and what does not belong in a compost pile. Once you have chosen your spot and created the pile, it is time to start adding your items. Let’s take a look at what you should add.

Eggshells, Nutshells, Coffee ground, Sawdust, Wood ashes, Grass clippings, Flowers, Tea, Leaves, Plant matter, Cardboard, Newspaper, Vegetable and fruit scraps/peels, Vacuum dust, Corncobs, Pine needles and cones, Potting soil, Paper bags, Dryer Lint.

The list of what you can add to your compost pile is much longer than what you cannot. The above list is just a few suggestions; there are dozens of things in your house right now that could be added to a compost pile. Now, let’s take a look at what you should NOT add to your compost pile.

Meat, Fish, Bones, Sand, Dairy, Feces, Coal Ash, Bleach or laminated paper products, Cat litter, Grease and oil.

Easy Liquid Fertilizers

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Sometimes, you want to use a liquid fertilizer rather than compost or one of the items around your house. Liquid fertilizers are faster-acting, so many people prefer to use liquid fertilizers. For those of us who use containers to grow, liquid fertilizer is the best choice because the plants prefer frequent light feedings.

Homemade, water-soluble fertilizers are short-acting, but you shouldn’t use them more than every two weeks. When you do apply a liquid fertilizer, make sure to soak the soil thoroughly. It is easier for the plant regulate liquid fertilizers than dry fertilizers.

Coffee Fertilizer

One of the easiest liquid fertilizers is to make it with the coffee ground. Soak six cups of use coffee grounds in a five-gallon bucket of water. This mixture should sit for two to three days. Then, saturate the soil with your coffee fertilizer.

Grass Clippings Fertilizer

If you want to add nitrogen to your soil, you can do so by creating an easy, grass clippings liquid fertilizer. You can even add the weeds from your garden because they soak up nitrogen from the soil.

Fill a five-gallon bucket of grass clippings, then add water to the top of the bucket. Let it sit for a day or two. After that, you can dilute it by adding one or two cups of the liquid grass to ten cups of water.

Epsom Salt Fertilizer

While you could sprinkle the Epsom salt around the base of your plant, you can create a liquid Epsom salt fertilizer to benefit your plants. All you need is a spray bottle or a sprayer (such as those used for chemicals). Add one tablespoon of Epsom salt per gallon of water.

Then, you can spray this Epsom salt fertilizer directly onto your tomatoes and peppers every two to three weeks. By doing so, you are decreasing the possibility of a magnesium deficiency.

Compost Tea

If you have a compost pile, you can make compost tea. It is a wonderful fertilizer and plant food. Compost tea allows you to reap all of the benefits of compost without having to add to the soil itself.

To make compost tea, you just need a few items. The first item you need is finished compost! Then, the next two items on the list are water and a mesh bag. It is possible to make compost tea without a mesh bag, but then you will need to strain out the compost later before using the compost tea on your plants.

First, fill a five-gallon bucket with water, preferably non-chlorinated water. Chlorine can kill all of the beneficial microbes in the compost that your plants will love. If all you have is chlorinated water, leaving the bucket in the sun for 24 hours will burn off the chlorine, and you’ll be ready to make compost tea!

Next, fill the mesh bag with compost. The ideal ratio is one part compost to three parts water, so don’t use too much finished compost. Some gardeners like to add molasses or liquid seaweed to help encourage the growth of microbes.

The compost tea bag should set for at least a few days. The water needs to aerate during this time. You could use a fountain or just simply stir the compost and water mixture with a stick. If you don’t use a mesh bag, you will have to pour the compost tea mixture through a strainer to avoid floating clumps.

Last, put five parts water with one part compost tea into a watering can. Do not use full strength compost tea or you might burn your plants.

Homemade Lawn Food

You will find dozens of recipes for homemade lawn food. Many of the ingredients you will find in these lawn foods are available in your house already. One recipe, by Chemistry Cachet, included:

  • One bottle of beer
  • 1 cup mild baby shampoo
  • 1 cup club soda
  • 1/4 cup Epsom salt - unscented
  • 1 cup ammonia

How in the world could this mixture do anything for your lawn? It is science! Ammonia contains large doses of nitrogen, very similar to nitrogen you might purchase from in-store fertilizer.

Baby shampoo helps your soil absorb the nutrients and for grass to grow effectively. Beer will feed the good bacteria in your soil. Club soda contains carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and mineral salts. Epsom salt, as we discussed before, has many benefits!

Homemade Plant Food

Now that we took a look at lawn food, you need a homemade plant food. You could use this mixture for indoor plants or those outside. I would suggest you use this recipe once a month. You don’t want to use it too often!

  • 1 TBSP Epsom Salt
  • 1 TSP Baking Powder
  • 1 TSP Salt
  • 1/2 TSP Ammonia
  • 1 Gallon Water

Mix all of the ingredients in a milk jug or a bucket. You don’t have to use it all the time; once a month will do!

Summary

Fertilizers are a necessary part of organic gardening. Without fertilizers, your soil will slowly become depleted of its vital nutrients. Instead of turning to the chemical filled fertilizers in the stores, try your hand at making homemade fertilizers.

Most of the ingredients are available in your kitchen or your backyard. That means you can make these homemade fertilizers for free or very cheap. Saving money while you are gardening is important; everything can add up to be quite expensive when you want to create an organic garden. Get started on making your homemade fertilizers right now by taking a step into your kitchen!

Homemade Fertilizers That Can Save You Money
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Tina Martino
 

My passion is gardening. Along with my husband and children, each year we grow a garden large enough to provide our family of five with over half of our needed produce. Besides vegetables and a small berry patch, I also focus my attention on beautifying our home with strategically placed flowers, herbs, and flowering plants. Gardening is more than just a hobby; it is a way of life.