After learning a bit about natural and organic fertilisers the previous week, I thought I would follow up with how to make some fertilisers, other than compost, as compost needs a bit more of a discussion (I will write about this again in another blog post). It is amazing what you may have around your home that will fertilise your garden. Many natural fertilisers are easy to make and full of nutrients to help your plants grow with vigor and maintain their health. Here are a few suggestions:
1. Grass Tea Fertilizer - is one of the easiest fertilisers to make, even if you don’t have a garden. As long as you have a lawn and few flower beds or pots to feed, as well as the lawn, you can create grass tea. Rich in nitrogen, oxygen and phosphorus it is perfect for many plants.
How to make it: Fill a bucket 2/3 of the way with fresh grass clippings. Ensure the grass has not been treated with any pesticides or herbicides. A larger container can be used if you want to make a larger amount. Then fill the container to the top with water and then cover. Store at room temperature, but avoid a sunny spot. For the next 3 days let it soak, remembering to mix at least once a day. Then strain the liquid from the solids into a labelled storage container.
2. Coffee Grounds – If you’re a coffee lover it will be easy to collect coffee grounds. Even if you don’t prepare your own favourite brew at home, maybe you could talk to your favourite café and they might give you some of their used coffee grounds. Spread the coffee grounds around the base of plants or pour the liquid onto the soil. You can make a liquid coffee fertiliser by soaking 1 cup of coffee grounds into 3 litres of water. Let it soak for 2 to 3 days and then use to water your plants. Acid loving plants really love the coffee.
3. Vinegar Fertilizer - This is another great fertiliser for acid-loving plants. Just mix 1 tablespoon white vinegar with 4 litres of water. Great as a rose food and even for household plants.
4. Egg shells- if your plants need calcium, egg shells are a great replacement. Crush the shells (after using the eggs) and mix into the soil for healthy plants. I have even used my food processor to grind the shells into a fine powder so it can be evenly distributed by digging into the garden. If you don’t want to do this, just throw the shells into your compost heap. You will eventually end up with the same results.
5. Epsom salts - contains two important elements, magnesium and sulphur, that plants need to maintain optimum health. Magnesium is required for proper enzymatic function as well as playing a very important role during photosynthesis. Sulphur has an important role in plant nutrition by helping with amino acid production, formation of chlorophyll and root growth. Combined together as magnesium sulphate they increase a plants nutrient uptake. Epsom salts can be used in a variety of ways, but I tend use two methods the most. 1. By applying as a solid and mixing into the soil usually at a ratio of 1 cup per 10 square metres. 2. By making a solution that can be used to either water it on plants or you can foliar spray it. Prepare the solution by mixing half a teaspoon of Epsom salts into half a litre of water, and then mix it thoroughly.
6. Compost Tea - Once you have made compost, did you know you can make a compost tea. Full of nutrients that can be easily absorbed by the plants and more rapidly, if plants need a boost. The important thing you need to note is that the compost must be completely decomposed. If the material is not completely composted it may contain harmful pathogens which could end up in your compost tea and eventually on your vegetables and fruit. Also old compost will be lacking in the necessary nutrients for your plants.
To make fill a container or bucket 1/3 full with compost and fill to the rest of the way with water. Soak the mixture for 3 – 4 days, stirring daily. Using a meshed material like muslin or cheesecloth, strain the mixture through into another container. You can throw the solid material back onto the garden. When using the tea it needs to be diluted by a 1:10 ratio. Always give the concentrated tea a mix before adding to water.
There are many more fertilisers I could talk about here, but this list is a good start and a lot of the materials are readily available to any gardener.
Have fun trying them out. We would love to hear the results you get from using one or a few of these suggestions. Feel free to contact us and let us know what you think of them.
Have an earthly passionate weekend,
Attracta & the earthly passion team