Fertilizers have long been the companion of our farmers and have helped agriculture from all around the world thrive. It doesn’t matter whether you’re tending to a few acres of crops of just a small garden for plants and flowers, fertilizers are your best bet of yielding healthy returns.
It is government approves, it’s safe, it’s efficient, and most of all it is quite accessible for everyone. As a matter of fact, in this article, we’re going to teach you a thing or two about homemade fertilizer for plants. We’ll sprinkle in a few valuable information too that will make this all worthwhile for you. Let the fun begin!
Things You Need To Know About Fertilizers
Before we go into our homemade fertilizer for plant discussion let’s read up on a few useful background information so that we can appreciate it more.
Fertilizers are defined as a natural or chemical substance that is added to land or soil that in turn increases its fertility. There are multiple varieties of fertilizers, can be commercially produced and distributed but at the same time, you can also DIY your own batch.
Fertilizers are quite cost-effective and are oftentimes distributed or regulated by the government so that farmers will all have access to it. We’ve had healthy food on our table because of fertilizers. But of course, its proper usage ensures that it would also yield positive results. Knowing your way around fertilizers will be super beneficial for you whether you just have a backyard garden or own a few acres of crops.
Fertilizers help ensure that as our population grows there will be enough food for everyone.
It is believed that fertilizer use began about 2000 to 3000 years ago but some new studies believe that ancient people may have started using manure to fertilize their crops way back 8000 years ago.
Why manure is the logical material to use as fertilizer you ask? Well, it is because manure contains a rare chemical called nitrogen-15 isotope or N-15. Plants and crops that have high levels of N-15 tend to thrive. Manure doesn’t just have the chemical but has a high concentration of it.
Researchers say that cropping and herding were developed at the same time then ancient people may have noticed that crops grow well wherever there’s manure from animals.
Having a fun time brushing up on history? We are too, let’s move on to more interesting stuff!
The Different Types of Fertilizers and What’s Suited for your Garden or Farm
We know you’re quite excited to know about what homemade fertilizer for plants you can make and experiment on. But hold your horses for a little bit as we need to make ourselves familiar with the different types of fertilizers first that going to be good for whatever it is that you’re growing.
Mineral fertilizers take up the bulk of the fertilizers utilized especially in Europe which millions of tons are manufactured in. Natural gas, air, and mined ores are the raw materials used to make mineral fertilizers.
Nitrogen-based products are by far the most prevalent among this group. Fertilizers are sold in straight or compound forms where one or more minerals are mixed in together to serve a specific purpose.
Some other mineral fertilizers are Phosphorus fertilizers, Potassium fertilizers, mixed (Calcium, Magnesium, and Sulphur) fertilizers, Micronutrient fertilizers, and inhibitors.
As discussed, manure, crop residues, and slurries are the major organic fertilizer types. These organic fertilizers carry a wide range of nutrients that is super beneficial for a lot of crops and plants. There are also varying types of nutrients available on these organic fertilizers depending on the region and the livestock.
It’s also important to take note that farmers tend to mix it up a little bit to make sure what they use is best suited for their crops, the land, and the climate. There are organo-mineral fertilizers, liming materials, mineral fertilizers with inhibitors, and there are also what you call plant bio-stimulants.
Homemade or DIY Fertilizers you can make and how to make them
Now that you have a good background of what fertilizers are, you are now armed with the basic knowledge you need before you make homemade fertilizer for plants.
First up, before you can conjure an effective batch of fertilizers you need to familiarize yourself with the materials that you can use. Luckily enough, you may already have them at your disposal. Here are the things that you can utilize:
- Grass clippings
Rich in nitrogen and a great weed blocking mulch
→Perfect for a weed tea concoction
- Kitchen scraps
→One of the best set of materials for good compost. You don’t only save additional stuff for landfills but at the same time you help your garden thrive
→ This one needs no explanation anymore
- Tree leaves
→Attracting earthworms and keeping moisture are just some benefits from using tree leaves
- Coffee grounds
→Acidify your soil with your recycled coffee grounds
→93% calcium carbonate will benefit your soil and in turn your plants
- Banana peels
There are a few other stuff you can mix in or use as homemade fertilizer for plants but we’ll mention them as we tackle how to make them instead.
How To Make Liquid Fertilizer
A lot of the materials mentioned above can be used for your homemade liquid fertilizer.
Let’s take vegetable scraps first:
- You’re going to need: Epsom salt, ammonia, water, and of course your vegetable scraps.
- You’re also going to need a blender and a five-gallon bucket
- This will need a 24 hour steeping time
- Once you’ve gathered what you need, then you can start to puree them in your blender and then pour your pureed scraps into your bucket
- For every blender full of puree at half a tsp. of your Epsom salt
- Repeat the process until everything is pureed
- Stir and let sit overnight
- Add one gallon of warm water into one quart of puree
- Shake to mix and apply as necessary to your soil
Next up is one of the simplest concoction on our list.
Liquid fertilizer using trimmings and weeds:
- You’ll just need a bucket proportional to the amount of fertilizer you plan to make
- Put your weed or trimming in your 5-gallon bucket
- Fill it with water
- Let it sit for 4 weeks outside (for the smell)
- Apply to soil!
You can repeat the same process for a manure-based liquid fertilizer if that best suits your needs.
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Molasses Fertilizer Recipe
Molasses aids in increasing microbes and other beneficial bacteria when you mix up a compost tea. Needless to say, this should be extra beneficial for your plants.
To make your homemade molasses tea, then you need to just mix 1 to 3 tablespoons of organic molasses into one gallon of water. Then you just have to add the tea to your plants only once er week.
The last entry for our homemade fertilizer for plants is for your tomatoes!
To conjure up a homemade tomato fertilizer you are going to need the ff.:
- At least a 1-gallon container like a bucket
- Half gallon of compost
- Two cups of your rabbit droppings
- Half cup of human and pet hair that is cut into tiny pieces
- Two cups of your dried leaves or pellets of alfalfa
- One cup of crushed and dried eggshells
- One cup of dried and used tea or maybe coffee grounds
- One cup of wood ashes
The first thing you got to do is place your half a gallon of compost in your container. Add rabbit droppings and the hair. Stir, until they are well mixed in.
Then mix in your alfalfa, then the crushed eggshells, followed by the tea and coffee grounds, and lastly your wood ash. Mix as necessary.
Then you’re all set! These are some of the most common homemade fertilizer for plants.
Other tools that will help your Garden Thrive
In this bonus section, we will be listing a few other tools aside from your homemade fertilizer for plants that you can utilize to make sure your garden thrives.
- Garden gloves
- Tape measure
- Garden shovel or spade
- Garden fork
- Watering can
- Baking soda and vinegar (for weeds and pest control)
- Tarps (for unpredictable weather)
- Hand pruners or scissors
- Plant support
- Sun hat
The beauty of this is that these tools are cheap and are probably already in your possession. Secure these things and they’ll make your gardening time easier.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
We’ve gathered a few common questions about fertilizers and answered them concisely.
Question: What is the best form of fertilizer should I utilize?
Answer: Homemade liquid fertilizer and granular fertilizer are best or are often utilized by home gardeners. Especially homemade fertilizer for lawns. Granular fertilizers given that they are water-soluble can work fast or slow the latter is best used for springtime for slow release of nutrients. Liquid fertilizer for plants is fast-acting and can be, of course, applied in water.
Question: How often and how much fertilizer should I put in my plants?
Answer: Plant species, the fertilizer’s nutrient analysis, and soil type are just some of the factors you consider as to how often you should apply fertilizers to your plants. Outdoor gardens need soil analysis first to know the frequency of application.
Granular fertilizers are best applied at the start of the growing season usually before planting. Annual flowers on the other hand will require frequent fertilization during the growing season. Houseplants will need fertilization in summer, spring, and fall. Lastly, trees and shrubs barely need any.
Question: Is there such a thing as too much fertilization?
Answer: Yes there is. Each type of plant or crop requires not just a specific fertilizer for it to thrive but also the right amount of application and frequency. Always read the instructions, take note of the fertilizer rate, the application guidelines, and the dilution. It’s a rule of thumb when applying fertilizers that when in doubt apply less.
Over-fertilization will ruin your plant or crop, which may cause it to burn or its growth be stunted.
Question: My plant looks a bit sick. Should I apply fertilizer?
Answer: Chances are, impulsively putting in fertilizer when the plant ain’t doing too well might ruin it more. There are a lot of other factors that may be affecting the condition of your plant. Is it under watered? Maybe it’s not getting enough sunlight? Maybe it’s plagued with some disease. Take these into consideration when diagnosing.
Question: Can fertilizers harm pets and kids?
Answer: Yes, and like any chemicals you use in the house they should be kept away from the reach of children and the access of your beloved pets.
Making homemade fertilizer for plants is a practice that would take your gardening game to another level. Once you get used to it, you don’t only improve the chances of your plants’ growth but at the same time, you become more knowledgeable about your favorite hobby and will grow more as a person.
So start mixing up that concoction and don’t forget to have a lot of fun!