Why spend a small fortune on fertilizer when you can create your own at a fraction of a price? These homemade fertilizers make use of readily available ingredients. It does take some time to put together, and the smell isn’t always pleasant, but your garden will thrive and your budget will remain intact.
Urine is rich in nitrogen and minerals and is a staple in organic gardens. You will need to urinate in a separate bottle, to prevent contamination from other body wastes. Dilute with water (5:1 for plants and 10:1 for seedlings). Use it immediately to prevent the accumulation of ammonia, which lowers the nutrition that your plants can get. Concentrate the urine at the roots, and take care not to put too much in one area. Urine is particularly effective on cabbage, corn and cauliflowers.
Get a pet rabbit
Rabbit droppings are rich in nitrogen, and don’t stink the way cow or horse manure do. However, these pets are fond of nibbling on produce and herbs, and may burrow into your beautifully tended garden. You may want to fence off an area for them, or just accept this symbiotic arrangement and see a few nibbled leaves as a fair trade for their fertilizer.
Egg shells are made of 93% calcium carbonate and trace elements like phosphoric acid and nitrogen—the same stuff you find in the bags of lime and expensive fertilizer. First dry out the eggshells then rush them into a fine powder, either with a mortar and pestle or with a blender. If you have a snail problem, just hand crush them—the sharp edges will deter the snails from going too close to the plants.
Coffee grounds contain nitrogen, phosphoric acid, potash, vitamins, sugars, and carbohydrates. The acidity also helps plants like roses and azaleas, some fruit trees, and evergreens. Dry the used coffee grounds in the oven and then sprinkle on the soil. For best results combine dried coffee grounds with egg shells.
Seaweed and fish
This is great for serious gardeners! Seaweed and fish emulsion can replenish the soil nutrients and also doubles as insect repellant. We won’t lie—the fishy odor stays around for about two to three days—but if you’ve got good ventilation and very kind (or distant) neighbors then we promise you it’s worth it! Seawood contains potassium, while fish contains nitrogen and phosphate. Chop or puree fresh or dry seaweed). Mix in compost or quality garden soil and then seal the container. After a few days you have high quality fertilizer!
The fish must be composted in a separate container. You can throw in leaves and sawdust. Dry molasses powder can help make it decompose faster and tone down the smell too. It should be left for about two weeks, though briefly open the container every few days to let in oxygen.
Photo from goorganicgardening.com