10 Free and Creative Homemade fertilizers

As our plants take the vitamins and minerals out of the soil it is imperative we replace these much needed nutrients.  Fertilizer is an integral part to keep plants and gardens in tip top shape.  However replacing these nutrients with store bought fertilizer can take a chunk out of the wallet especially if you are dealing with bigger sized gardens.  That’s why I am always in search of new creative ways to keep my plants fed.  Here are some ways you can boost your soils health for my favorite price of FREE.

1.  Hair
Human and pet hair is extremely high in nitrogen.  If you have a family and/or pets you have quite a bit of supply already.  We do most of our own haircuts here which then gets thrown directly into the garden along with all the shedding from our dog.  You can also ask the local barber for an endless supply.  Most will give you a weird look but don’t have any trouble parting with their trash.  For those of you worried about the small amount of chemicals in the hair you can just throw it in the compost and once decomposed the chemicals are long gone.  My only problem with using hair is it breaks down very slowly so it’s more of a long term investment that you keep adding to.

2.  Ashes
Ashes are rich in potash which can also be used in reducing acidity like a liming agent.  Every spring, I make a huge bonfire in the middle of my garden with all my tree and bush trimmings and once finished I have a huge pile of ashes that is spread throughout the garden.  You may use ashes from the fireplace as well.  I don’t recommend using ashes often as it affects the pH of your soil but once or twice or year is perfectly fine.

3.  Seaweed
If fortunate enough to live by the ocean or even on ocean trip seaweed is a great source of potassium for your flowers and veggies.  Potassium lets your plants efficiently use the water they get to make strong roots and stems which translates into higher quality harvests.  Seaweed can be collected and thrown into the compost for good results too.  I like to take a big bag of seaweed and throw it into a bucket with some water and let it decompose.  Then throw the seaweed water all over the garden.  Strong roots make healthy plants which makes seaweed a great and abundant source of free fertilizer.

4.  Animal bones
Don’t throw away that T-bone steak or those buffalo wings.  Toss them in the grinder.  If you don’t have a grinder use a hammer on a clean hard surface.  Little rudimentary I know but they are a great source of phosphorous that helps in fruit and flower development.  Also they contain calcium which protects your plants from disease and keeps them strong.  Bones are a slow release fertilizer but the finer you grind or smash them the quicker they release their nutrients.

5. Anything fish
And I really do mean anything.  The juice from you tuna can, the leftovers from dinner, the bones and guts when you clean the fish, fish tank water, your pond water, and especially the sludge on the bottom of your tanks and ponds is a great source of high quality phosphorous and nitrogen.  What’s even better is it’s a fast release fertilizer so you don’t have to wait around for results.  Every time I clean out my ponds I pour the sludge everywhere and a week later my plants look like they were given steroids.  This stuff is pure gold!  Fish by products contain large amounts of both nitrogen and phosphorous making it a great all around fertilizer.  Just be careful to not put too much in one spot as it will burn the plants.

6.  Eggshells
My family goes through two cartons of eggs a week.  And little did I know that eggshells are composed of 98% calcium carbonate.  Needless to say all eggshells are saved and ground up for garden use now.  It is not only needed by humans for strong bones but calcium helps in photosynthesis, respiration, metabolism, and ultimately the cell growth of all plants.  Save your eggshells people and put them in the garden.

7.  Wildlife droppings
This one is a little harder for most people but if lucky enough to live in a place with an abundant wildlife it’s a great source of fertilizer.  Near our house the local deer and kamoshika conveniently leave the droppings in huge piles here and there in our woods.  Great source!  Also rabbits have great little poop that can be easily spread throughout the garden.  No rabbits?  Do you know anyone with rabbits?  Local pet shop?

8.  Kitchen Scraps
Banana and coffee are great scraps but most other scraps minus meat and oily things can be thrown into the compost or straight into the garden.  If you have read my blog you know you need to be careful burying food in the garden if wildlife is around.  Banana and coffee offer a good amount of both phosphorous and potassium.  Coffee has an added bonus of being great for acid loving plants like blueberries.  The other scraps if buried in the garden provide various nutrients and a source of moisture for existing plants.  If you are interested in this and don’t have very many kitchen scraps you can ask restaurants or your local grocery store for their organic waste.

9.  Worm Castings
If not buried or composted you can use those kitchen scraps along with some recycled paper products to make in my opinion the richest and most expensive fertilizer around.  I can go on all day about vermicomposting benefits but let’s just say that they are proven to work better than commercial fertilizers and are completely organic.  What’s better is you can make it yourself at home with very little effort.  I highly recommend giving this a shot.  Your plants will be in heaven.

10.  Urine
I saved the best for last.  Sounds nasty, but it works and works good.  Urine contains nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium all three essential nutrients for healthy plants.  So not only does it have everything your plants need it’s an almost an unlimited supply and the fastest acting fertilizer around.  Dilute urine 1:15-20 parts of water and put it in your garden.  That easy!  If you don’t want to deal with mixing it you can pour it on the compost pile or on a bale of hay and use like that.

If you are lucky to have all of these tips available to you and are willing to implement them you sitting pretty.  Some of these might seem a little over the top or too hard to do but if you try just a few of these options your garden and your plants will thank you!

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