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10 All-Natural DIY Fertilizers for Your Garden and Yard

You’ve probably heard that you can use a banana peel and other compost to fertilize your garden, but did you know some items—like gelatin, coffee grounds, and even a matchbook—can have specific benefits for your plants?

By
Bruce and Jeanne Lubin,
April 25, 2016

Hydrogen Peroxide for Plant Roots

 

Help strengthen your plant’s root system with hydrogen peroxide—the extra pump of oxygen from the peroxide prevents root rot and over-watering. Just mix a tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide with 2 cups water, and water your plant with the solution. Its disinfectant properties will fend off bacteria, mold, fungus, and other nasty soil-borne diseases.

Cereal Crumb Fertilizer

Did you know that cereal crumbs are great for plants? They supply much-needed nutrients to the soil, which makes sense given that they’re grains that came from the soil in the first place! Instead of shaking the box over the trash before ripping it up for recycling, dump the remains of the flakes into your houseplants or garden for a treat they’ll love.

Make Your Own Bonemeal

As you may know, bonemeal is an excellent source of nutrients for your plants. But instead of spending $8–$10 on a bag at your local gardening store, make your own! Bonemeal is just bones, after all. Save bones from chicken, turkey, steaks, and stews, then dry them out by roasting them in a 425ºF oven for a half an hour or microwaving them on high for 1–6 minutes (depending on how many bones you have). Then place them in a plastic or paper bag and grind them up by hitting them with a hammer, then rolling them with a rolling pin. Mix the resulting powder into your soil for a life-producing treat for your plants. And you didn’t spend a cent!

A Must-Have for Growing Carrots and Tomatoes

The best thing you can give your carrot and tomato plant seeds is also what keeps you going during the day—coffee! Carrots and tomatoes both need extra nitrogen, which coffee has in spades. Mix the seeds with coffee grounds (used is fine) before you plant them. The coffee will provide your growing plants with the nitrogen they need, while having some extra bulk to plant will ensure they don’t end up all lumped together.

Slow-Release Nitrogen

For plants other than carrots and tomatoes, extra nitrogen can give them a boost, but too much can harm them. So use this nitrogen-rich DIY fertilizer that releases the nitrogen slowly into the ground. Dissolve a packet of unflavored gelatin in 3 cups warm water. Then use it to water plants in need of a little TLC. You’ll get all the benefits of an expensive fertilizer without the price tag!

Epsom Salt Lawn Fertilizer

Did you know Epsom salts are one of the best natural lawn fertilizers around? They’re composed of magnesium and sulfur, both of which are highly beneficial to grass. Magnesium kick-starts seed germination and is also a player in manufacturing chlorophyll, the substance that plants create from sunlight in order to feed themselves. Sulfur, meanwhile, also helps with chlorophyll, while simultaneously enhancing the effects of other fertilizer ingredients such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. It also deters certain pests such as ground worms. With all these benefits, it’s no wonder that savvy lawn care specialists have been using Epsom salts for years. You can either sprinkle them on your lawn using a spreader or make a liquid solution out of them by adding some water and putting the mixture in a spray bottle.

Healthy Pepper Patch

This advice definitely sounds like an urban legend, but it’s such an easy way to grow fantastic peppers that you have to try it. A matchbook buried near the roots of each pepper plant will transmit sulfur, a great fertilizer for them.

Eggshells for Plants

Save eggshells for your garden plants. Just crush them up and spread them around the stems of your vegetables or flowers, then cover with a small amount of soil. They’ll not only provide fertilizer, they’ll help keep slugs and snails away. You can also use water that you’ve used to boil eggs in—when you’re finished cooking, just use the cooled, nutrient-enriched water to water your plants!

A Second Life for Seafood Shells

Shells from mussels, clams, or other shellfish are also great for gardens. Just crush them up and spread in your garden like the egg shells. The calcium in the crushed shells is also great for grass!

A Little Fat for Your Roses

Rose bushes can be one of the hardest plants to grow, but an extra dose of nutrients can help. A small amount of fat drippings buried at the base of a rose bush will keep it healthier and make it bloom more frequently. Just beware that this can be a terrible tip if you have a dog who likes to dig!

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The suggestions offered here are for informational purposes only.  The Authors and Publisher do not accept liability for damages arising from the use, attempted use, misuse or application of any of the suggestions included on this website.

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