Feed your garden all the nutrients it needs for pennies by making your own homemade organic fertilizer. Here are 3 easy recipes to try…
Every garden needs some type of fertilizer at some point – whether to enrich the soil for healthier plant growth, or to provide specific nutrients that may be lacking in your soil.
Organic fertilizers are typically more complete than chemical versions, and provide a longer supply of nutrients released slowly over time. They also help to increase your soil’s ability to hold water and nutrients, decreasing erosion and improving soil structure, while feeding important soil microbes that help your plants grow better. Overall, we believe that organic fertilizers are the best way to feed your garden and build healthy soil.
While there are many commercially available organic fertilizers on the market, making your own is very easy, and there are a number of kinds of simple, homemade organic fertilizer that you can feed your garden with, without spending an arm and a leg for the pricey “boutique” brands. (These are also great natural fertilizer alternatives for gardeners without the space or ability to have a compost pile.)
Below are 3 easy recipes for making your own homemade organic fertilizer to nourish your plants and your soil:
1.) Comfrey Tea
What you’ll need:
- A couple of pounds of fresh comfrey leaves
- Brick to hold the comfrey leaves down
- Big bucket or plastic trash can with a lid
- Submerge your leaves for 3 to 5 weeks in a bucket or trash can of water. It depends on the warmth of your climate.
- Mix the comfrey solution with more water to dilute (so it doesn’t damage or burn the root systems of plants), a 1:3 (water) ratio should work.
- Store in a cool dark place.
2.) Homemade Fish Emulsion
If you live where you have access to lots of fresh fish or fish scraps, you can make your own fish emulsion to feed your plants. You can make homemade fish emulsion at home in a bucket, or several buckets if you have a lot of fish. I’ve done this with scraps I had from cleaning fish I caught, but it should work fine with whole tilapia.
Fill the bucket about 2/3 of the way full by layering fish scraps and brown organic matter (like leaf litter) in equal parts. Fill the bucket with water to cover all the material, cover it with a lid and keep it out of the sun. I’ve heard of people adding molasses and seaweed to get more nutrients in the emulsion. Stir the mixture every few days for several weeks, and then it should be ready to use. (Keep in mind that this will be a very smelly process, so you should store your bucket in a garage or shed where it won’t offend visitors!)
Pour off the water and catch it in another bucket – this is your fish emulsion. You can use the remaining fish scraps and leaf litter to brew another batch, or just put it in your compost pile or your worm bin. To use the fish emulsion, dilute it with water. Use about a cup of emulsion to a gallon of water. The dilution can be used to pour on garden soil or to spray your leaves.
3.) Apartment (or Condo) Container Garden Smoothie Fertilizer
This is a great idea if you don’t have the space – or can’t have a compost pile where you live. Turn your kitchen scraps into a tasty “smoothie” for your plants, instead!
What you’ll need:
- Compost bucket
- Kitchen scraps
- Egg shells
- Vegetable scraps
- Banana peel broken into small pieces
- Old coffee grounds
- Used bulk herbs from herbal teas
- Spent fruit (non-moldy)
- Stale sea-vegetables
- Place all scraps in blender.
- Fill blender halfway with water. Don’t add too much water because there is already liquid in your kitchen scraps. (You don’t want your blender to explode compost all over the kitchen!)
- Place lid on blender. Start on a low setting and puree until everything is combined and becomes a liquid.
- Feed it to your container garden.
Other Options for Feeding:
- Pour it on top of the soil, and let it sit for 24 hours. Then, water it in or turn the soil.
- Water it in as soon as you put it on the container’s soil.
- If you already have plants in place, pour the mixture into large bucket and fill with water. Then pour the water-liquid over soil.
Find more great homemade organic fertilizer ideas at TheGrowNetwork.com…