10 Natural Garden Fertilizer Ideas for Green Living
Organic gardening can be one of the most pleasant ways of making sure you eat healthy. Tending to your small garden can be a great activity but you must always be aware of the fertilizers you use. Natural garden fertilizer offers are often scarce on the shelves of the average supply store. And even those that do exist are expensive and you never know what’s in them.
That’s why making your own natural organic fertilizers is such a great alternative. There are many ideas you can try, all of which are not just easy but also relatively inexpensive. As you will see today, most of the components you might need to get started on your own garden fertilizer are already lying around your house. Check out 10 of the best natural garden fertilizer ideas that you could try in your own backyard.
Natural Garden Fertilizer Ideas
1. Banana Peels
Eating a banana is good for you; it helps you replenish the potassium you lost. However, plants like roses, for instance, also love potassium. All you have to do is throw one or two peels in the hole where you plan to plant your flowers. You could also bury the peels under mulch for delicious and natural compost. The result is bigger and brighter blooms. Banana peels are also great for a vegetable garden.
2. Egg Shells
A lot of kitchen scrap can end up as fertilizer and egg shells are no different. You just wash them first and then crush. The shell pieces should be buried in the soil near peppers and tomatoes. The calcium in the egg shells fends off blossom end rot. They could also bring an impressive improvement to your homemade potting mix. Egg shells give healthy fruits which are just right for seed saving.
3. Coffee Grounds
Tomatoes, roses, blueberries, and azaleas – all acid-loving plants, in the end – would love it if you mixed coffee grounds into their soil. It’s not the coffee kick that improves their quality, but the nitrogen. Simply sprinkle the coffee grounds on top of the soil before watering. If you’re using the coffee leftovers as a soil drench, you should mix 6 cups of coffee grounds in 5 gallons of water. For maximum results, let the solution sit for 2-3 days before pouring it in the soil around your plants.
You can buy dried seaweed at Asian markets; if you get your hands on the fresh kind, you don’t need to wash it out to remove the salt. Both versions of seaweed, however, are considered excellent garden fertilizer. Seaweed is a great food source for soil microbes. Just chop up a small bucket of seaweed, drench it 5 gallons of water, and let it sit for 2-3 weeks. Feel free to experiment with amounts and combinations with other tea fertilizers.
Molasses for the compost tea is supposedly good at feeding microbes and the healthy bacteria in the soil. For a simple fertilizer recipe which includes molasses, add 1-3 tablespoons of molasses to a gallon of water. Use this concoction to water your plants and see how big and healthy they grow.
The easiest fertilizer is growing right under your feet! Comfrey, nettles, horsetail, yellow dock, burdock, and chickweed are all great for preparing a wonderful garden fertilizer. Include them in your own fertilizer brew or use them to speed up your compost pile. If the weeds in your garden have not flowered yet, dry them in the sun, chop them, and use them as mulch. Their high nitrogen content is extremely beneficial and won’t steal the nutrients of your plants. You can also dry the plants, root and all, and put them in your compost bin. It aids in breaking everything down as well as gives and extra dose of heat.
7. Grass Clippings
Grass is super rich in nitrogen which breaks down over time and gives the soil a much-needed boost. Fill a 5-gallon bucket with grass clippings – add weeds if you must! Top of the bucket with water and let it sit for 1-2 days. The resulting grass tea should be diluted (1 cup of liquid grass in 10 cups of water). Apply around the plants’ base.
If you do a bit of research, you might find some folks willing to give away their composted horse, chicken or cow manure – for free! Manure that’s been composted and aged is the best for your garden. Place the composted manure in a small permeable bag made from cloth (an old t-shirt or towel, for example). Let it sit in the shade for a few days and then condition your soil before planting. Some people add water to make manure tea which they use to soak the bare root of flowers.
9. Cat and Dog Food
This soil amendment depends a lot on the type of dog food you recycle. The bright side is that even though it might not make for some great organic fertilizer, the cheap stuff contains enough micro-nutrients and protein to benefit the soil. Spread pet food on the bed before you start planting, then turn the soil and add water. Let the cat or dog food decay naturally. Cover with cardboard if you want to discourage wildlife from eating the food; it’s also good for trapping moisture and accelerating the decomposition. Add plenty of water every week for about a month. You can also try alfalfa pellets from the grain store, which are often cheap.
10. Worm Castings
This is the favorite of many gardeners for several reasons. If you’ve already started worm composting (read this article for more information), then it’s quite the logical next step. It’s easy to make your own worm tea to serve as fertilizer. Start with a few red wiggler worms which you can set in a recycling bin with some tasty cardboard and lovely kitchen scraps. Once you get started, you won’t be able to stop! Composting with worms is easy to do and the result is an amazing fertilizer.
Do you know any other homemade garden fertilizers that work really well? Share with us in the comment section below.