I don’t like the idea of adding chemicals to our environment, whenever it can be helped. And let’s be honest… If you are growing your own veggies, you are probably after some of the health benefits, right? Ok, and then there is the cost factor as well… why wouldn’t you make your own homemade organic garden fertilizer instead of buying expensive specialty products? It is easy, it is healthy for both your family and the earth at large, and it is cost effective.
How to Make The Best Organic Garden Fertilizer
Basically plants need three major nutrients to thrive, Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P) and Potassium (K). You might see these displayed on commercially made fertilizers in number form, for example, 10-5-5. Nitrogen is necessary for leaf and green growth, Phosphorus for flowers and fruit, and Potassium for gemeral health of the plant. That having been said, plants need a lot of other nutrients as well, called Micronutrients. Some of these include Magnesium, Calcium and Sulfur. Plants are also affected by the acidity of a soil, and the biodiversity of bacteria that creates a healthy environment, all of which can be improved with organic fertilizers. Now that you have the basics down of why we are doing this, let’s get down to some simple organic fertilizer recipes you can make!
Coffee Grounds Fertilizer
Coffee grounds is a natural homemade fertilizer that not only adds nitrogen to poor soil, it also increases the acidity of soil. This will especially make your roses, hydrangeas, magnolias and rhodies happy!
Work up to 25% coffee grounds into soil at the base of the plants. Coffee grounds will also improve the organic matter in the soil.
Banana Peel Fertilizer
High in potassium, phosphorus and calcium, banana peels are great for flowering and fruiting plants. We also think this is one of the best organic fertilizers for vegetables! Simply bury a peel under the ground at the base of the plant, and allow to decompose. You can also freeze overripe bananas that you would have otherwise thrown away, and then bury next to a needy plant when needed. If you prefer to make a spray, soak a peel in water for 2-3 days, then use the water to spray plants or seedlings.
Epsom Salt Fertilizer
Epsom salt is available at your local drug store, and adds important magnesium and sulfur to the soil. Especially good for tomatoes and roses, Epsom salt tea is great for starting seedlings and reducing transplant shock as well. Known for giving plants a deep green color, especially on magnesium low soils, this is a simple and quick recipe. It is pretty impossible to over do this fertilizer, as it breaks down in to a simple magnesium component.
- 1 Tablespoon Epsom Salt
- 1 Gallon water
Use from a watering can for both indoor and outdoor plants. Can also be mixed into the soil around plants at a rate of 1 tablespoon for every 1-2 feet in height of plant. Water in well.
Egg Shell Fertilizer
This one is definitely one of the best organic garden fertilizers and one of our favorites to use. Egg shells are very high in calcium, which is necessary for good cellular growth in all plants. If you have ever had blossom end rot on your tomatoes, then you probably have calcium deficient soil. You can crush up used egg shells and just bury them beneath the surface of the soil, or for a faster response, you can make a spray.
- 20 egg shells
- 1 Gallon Water
Boil the egg shells in the water for a few minutes, then let them sit in the water overnight. Strain and use as a spray or water from a can directly into the soil.
Grass Clippings Tea
Here is a great way to get a high nitrogen fertilizer, and use up those annoying grass clippings at the same time!
- 1 Five gallon bucket filled with fresh grass clippings.
- Cover with water
Allow to sit for 3-5 days. Dilute the strained fertilizer tea by using one cup tea mixed with 10 cups fresh water. Pour onto soil.
Made in exactly the same way as grass clippings tea, but with organic compost. This gives a much richer tea with a variety of nutrients, perfect for any plant.
So spend a little time setting aside some egg shells and coffee grounds, or drop by the drugstore for some Epsom salts and make your own organic garden fertilizer. You will be saving yourself some cash, and creating a healthier environment for your plants, and the planet!
If you enjoyed our post on best organic garden fertilizers, we think you will also love How to Make Safe Homemade Weed Killer and DIY Rain Chain Projects! And don’t forget to pin these post for later!
Great ideas for affordable, organic options for fertilizing!
One answer to Robin Severson is to get an anti-rabbit device. It’s called a dog and is equally effective with cats.
When composting – cut everything into small pieces and your compost will be rich black soil in a month! AND, it will never fill your compost to the top.
We live in an area where deer eat plants. I’ve heard of human urine (yuck) and human hair ( which doesn’t seem to work ( hairdressers are asked for bags of it). Any suggestions?
There are a lot of ideas out there, but the best ones are to either get a sprinkler on a motion detector, a dog, or to plant deer resistant plants… Or a REALLY tall fence.
A friend had 9 foot high fencing with 1 foot of razor wire on top and a chain locked gate … the deer would stand around it at night wishing for access! Racoons are another problem but they did not like the razor wire either! Make sure the gate has very little space between the edges, top and bottom or they will squeek through! Hilarious when they get stuck!
I live on a rural property and use liquid fertilizer, I have a large drum and put all types of animal manure,( kangaroo, sheep, cow and chicken) into it and cover with water, I leave it ferment and over time it it ready to use with a ratio of a jam tin of liquid fertilizer to a bucket of water.
I have had this system for years and just keep feeding it, stirring it, make sure you have a tight fitting lid. enjoy your beautiful vegetables!
This is a great article. Thank you..
Just started mt first composter and this is excellent information for a beginner. Thank you Kathy.
Good luck Kate!
Morning Kathy – what can I do to stop Lizard eating my greenpeppers and tomatos. We never see hom but my gardner did.
Well I obviously don’t live in your neck of the woods! ;) Never heard of a lizard produce eating problem, but I am sure some of our readers out there have experience… Readers?
Can you use tea leaves instead of coffee grounds?
It isn’t the same, no!
I put my tea in the compost bin with left over fresh fruit & vegetables, egg shells and more. Usually this a few months to get to compost, faster in warm weathet, I’m able to use it for containers & adding to the soil.
Can you help me a friend of mine gave me some fertilizer that is 20-10-20 what can I use this up on. I then will not take any more I just do not want to waste anything Larry
That can be used as a general all-purpose fertilizer! Good luck!
I love these different fertilizer ideas. Obviously the store bought, chemical fertilizer works too, but who doesn’t want a more natural and healthy approach? I will have to try putting some banana peels in my garden this spring!
I enjoyed this post and some of these fertilizers are interesting, at the moment I use epsom salts and I have some banana skins soaking in a jar of water. I have one more to share with you that I find is great for tomatoes / squashes etc… Comfrey tea. It is easy to make just add comfrey leaves and stalks to a bucket, cover with water and leave for a couple of weeks and add to water in a 10 – 1 mixture and feed to plants once a week once they have flowered.
I just want to know the best way to make Organic fertilizers for my small backyard gardens
Hello! I have a couple baby catnip plants, almost an inch tall each, that are turning purple. I live in Costa Rica, and catnip just doesn’t seem to exist here (I had to dig the seeds from dried catnip from the pet store!) and I can’t find any information about it. It’s my first time planting, so I’m really nervous and I don’t know what I have to do! Which of these do you think would help?
Catnip likes a well balanced fertilizer, so compost tea or epsom salt fertilizer might help it along with healthy growth… Does it look healthy other than the purple leaves, or are they scraggly?
How can I reduce weed on my garden? I have tomato, basil, okro, and pepper but the weeds are not allowing them to grow. Please I need help
You can mulch heavily with an organic mulch like bark or compost, that will help. A pre-emergent in the early spring like “Preen” sprinkled in the garden will keep a lot of them from coming up. Other than that, a good old fashioned hoe is the best way we know of! Don’t let them get on top of you, first thing in spring walk through the garden every couple of days and pull what you see. That really helps!
Thank you for posting this wonderful article. It is very useful.
Love this blog.
Can u use coffee grounds, egg shells, bananas, AND epsom salts all together at once? To provide all of the benefits? Or is that overkill? I just want to know the best way to fertilize my small container gardens organically. Thank u.
I don’t see why not as they are organic they should work together…
Can anyone help me deterr bunnies from eating my plants? I had to fence in and brick the bottom of the backyard fence to keep them out. The front yard us another story. They love the hostas. Yellow roses, clematis, etc.
I heard chervil, which is an herb, keeps a lot of hungry pests away from your garden produce, not sure of the outcome because I have never personally done it but if you plant it around your garden it may help! May have to dig a bit more in depth to get some answers, good luck, with those pesky rabbits! Lol
Thank you for sharing such good news for organic farming at home garden. In my part I will apply and will update you the progress.
‘Sure appreciate all the good tips. I give all my banana peels to my neighbors chickens and goats.
What do you think about using crumbled egg shells under hosta leaves to deter slugs and snails?
Crushed egg shells and coffee grinds are both used to deter slugs! Good luck!