Natural Plant Fertilizers
Natural plant fertilizers are a great way to provide your plants with the nutrients they need to grow and thrive. Unlike chemical fertilizers, natural plant fertilizers are made from organic materials and are safer for the environment. In this article, we’ll explore several methods for making natural plant fertilizers.
Composting is an excellent way to make natural plant fertilizer. Compost is made by decomposing organic matter, such as food waste and yard trimmings, in a pile or bin. As the organic matter breaks down, it creates a nutrient-rich soil amendment that can be used to fertilize plants.
To make compost, you’ll need a compost bin or pile, organic matter, and water. Start by layering the organic matter in the bin or pile, alternating between brown materials (such as dried leaves, twigs, and straw) and green materials (such as fruit and vegetable scraps, grass clippings, and coffee grounds). Water the pile to keep it moist, and turn it regularly to ensure that all of the organic matter breaks down evenly.
Once your compost is ready, you can use it to fertilize your plants. Simply spread a layer of compost around the base of your plants, and work it into the soil with a garden fork or hoe. You can also mix compost into potting soil to provide your container plants with a nutrient-rich growing medium.
Manure is another excellent natural plant fertilizer. Cow, horse, and chicken manure are all good sources of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, which are essential nutrients for plant growth. However, it’s important to use manure carefully, as it can be very potent and may burn your plants if it’s not properly aged or diluted.
To use manure as fertilizer, start by collecting it from a local farm or stable. Avoid using manure from animals that have been fed antibiotics, as this can harm beneficial soil microbes. Once you have your manure, spread it out in a thin layer and let it age for several weeks. This will help to reduce its potency and make it safe to use as fertilizer.
To apply manure to your plants, mix it into the soil around the base of the plant. You can also create a manure tea by soaking the manure in water for several days, and then straining out the solids. This tea can be used to water your plants, providing them with a nutrient-rich liquid fertilizer.
Fish emulsion is a natural fertilizer made from fish waste, which is rich in nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. It’s a great option for gardeners who want to provide their plants with a quick boost of nutrients, as it’s absorbed quickly by plant roots.
To make fish emulsion, you’ll need fish waste (such as fish heads, bones, and guts), water, and a container. Place the fish waste in the container, cover it with water, and let it steep for several weeks. Stir the mixture occasionally to ensure that all of the nutrients are released into the water.
Once the fish emulsion is ready, dilute it with water (using a ratio of one part fish emulsion to four parts water) and use it to water your plants. Be careful not to over-fertilize your plants with fish emulsion, as it can be very potent.
Epsom salt is a natural mineral compound made up of magnesium and sulfate. It is often used as a plant fertilizer because it provides both of these nutrients, which are essential for plant growth. Here are the steps to use Epsom salt as plant fertilizer:
Determine the plant’s fertilizer needs: Not all plants require the same nutrients, so it’s important to know what your plants need before adding Epsom salt. Typically, plants that benefit from Epsom salt include those that are heavy feeders of magnesium, such as tomatoes, peppers, and roses.
Mix Epsom salt into the soil: Sprinkle a tablespoon of Epsom salt per foot of plant height onto the soil around the base of the plant. Use a garden fork or cultivator to gently work the Epsom salt into the top inch of soil.
Dissolve Epsom salt in water: Dissolve two tablespoons of Epsom salt in a gallon of water, and then use it to water your plants. Be sure to apply the solution at the plant’s base, not on the foliage.
Use Epsom salt as a foliar spray: Mix one tablespoon of Epsom salt per gallon of water and use it as a foliar spray on the leaves of your plants. This is especially beneficial for plants that have a magnesium deficiency, such as citrus trees.
Apply Epsom salt every 4-6 weeks: Epsom salt is a slow-release fertilizer, so you should only apply it every 4-6 weeks during the growing season.