The great thing about growing plants is that you could use kitchen wastes as fertilizers. Of course, not all household wastes make good plant fertilizers so be mindful of the types of wastes that you use to enrich the soil. In this guide, we are listing down some of the best items that make wonderful organic fertilizers:
Used Coffee Grounds
Used coffee grounds are one of the best materials for composting. The used coffee grounds are naturally rich in nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus. Enriching your soil with used coffee grounds helps the plants absorb more nutrients. When used as a fertilizer, used coffee grounds supports photosynthesis as well.
There is no special preparation needed to use coffee grounds as plant fertilizer but we recommend mixing the coffee grounds with the soil. The nitrogen from the used coffee grounds won’t be released right away. The soil microbes have to break down the coffee grounds first before the nutrients become available for plants to absorb.
Love bananas? Who doesn't? Bananas are a healthy snack and if you’ve got lots of banana peels, do not throw these away! Use the banana peels as fertilizers to give your soil a boost of potassium. Banana peels are also a rich source of calcium and magnesium, nutrients that will strengthen your plants and boost photosynthesis. The nutrients in banana peels also support chloroform formation, which makes food available for your plants.
To use banana peels as a plant fertilizer, let the peels steep in plain water for 3 to 7 days. Use the water to hydrate your plants, the nutrients from the peels will be absorbed by the plants much more quickly this way. The peels should still be good to use for your compost heap.
We are huge fans of eggshells as a plant fertilizer. And why not? Eggshells are not only widely available; they’re also affordable and easy to use. Eggshells are naturally rich in calcium, magnesium, and nitrogen. These nutrients boost soil fertility while strengthening plant cell walls. In addition, calcium, magnesium, and nitrogen minimize the risk of blossom end rot.
Do note, however, that the nutrients from eggshells are not bio-available, which means the eggshells have to break down first so the vitamins are absorbed by the plant roots. To use, just give the eggshells a good rinse, crush and microwave for 2 minutes to kill harmful bacteria then mix the crushed eggshells into the soil or in the compost pit.
A great tip would be to process the eggshells in a high-powered blender to make a fine powder. By crushing the eggshells into a fine powder, the nutrients are more easily absorbed into the soil. Do not sprinkle the crushed eggshells on top of the soil unless you are discouraging slugs from invading your garden.
This kitchen staple makes an excellent plant fertilizer because it is packed with sulfur and magnesium. These nutrients boost chlorophyll production and supports photosynthesis. In addition, magnesium and sulfur promote better root growth while enhancing the flavor of crops. The best thing about using Epsom salt as a plant fertilizer? The plant roots absorb the nutrients easily.
Just mix a tablespoon of Epsom salt in lukewarm water until fully dissolved. Pour the solution to the plant foliage. The plant leaves will absorb the salt water. If you are replanting young plants, try adding a tablespoon of Epsom salt directly into the hole you made for the plant. The plant roots will absorb the nutrients from the salt.
If you think that table salt could be used in place of Epsom salt, these salts have different nutrient profiles. Table salt could kill plants because it raises the salinity level of the soil. Always use Epsom salt for plants and do not use other salt alternatives.
Got heaps of wood ash after a backyard BBQ with the family? You could use the leftover ash to boost the health of your plants. Wood ash is a great source of lime, calcium carbonate, and potassium, nutrients that promote healthy growth! No special preparation is necessary for using wood ash as fertilizer, just collect the ash and keep it in a tin. Once you are ready to use, sprinkle a handful over the soil and you’re done.
Some crops prefer alkaline soils and if your soil is acidic, you could neutralize its pH by mixing a little wood ash into the soil. Crops that love alkaline soils include asparagus, parsley, okra, and mock oranges. Amending the soil with wood ash will guarantee a better yield.
Yes, unflavored gelatin makes a terrific fertilizer especially when you have lots of indoor plants. Unflavored gelatin is surprisingly rich in nitrogen, the natural and non-polluting kind. What’s more, gelatin releases the nitrogen slowly so the plant roots won’t burn.
If your houseplants’ foliage is turning yellow, dissolve unflavored gelatin in the plant water. Pour the solution into the soil and the plants should bounce back within a day or so. Be sure that you are using unflavored gelatin because the flavored kind could do more harm than good. The added sugars, dyes, and chemicals are quite damaging to plants.
Coconut water is a great source of electrolytes, which aid in better plant health while also encouraging good bacteria to thrive in the soil. Apart from electrolytes, coconut water is a good source of calcium, magnesium, and trace minerals that plant need to grow healthily.
Coconut water is so beneficial to the garden that it could replace any grow formula. Plants that are hydrated with coconut water regularly grow much faster and more vigorously compared to plants that are hydrated with plain water. To use coconut water to grow your plants, just mix a tablespoon of dried coconut powder to 5 gallons of water. Let the mixture sit at room temperature for at least a day then water your plants with it.
White vinegar is incredibly useful in the garden. It could raise the acidity of the soil for your acid-loving plants. It could also discourage weed growth, keep pests away, and prevent the fungal disease from spreading all over the garden.
If you are using white vinegar to amend the pH level of the soil, test the soil first. If the pH of the soil is already low, you don’t need to add vinegar. If the soil has to be amended, just mix a tablespoon of white vinegar in a gallon of water. Use the solution to feed your acid-loving plants like roses, hydrangeas, rhododendrons, gardenias, and azaleas.
Blackstrap molasses is a great source of calcium, magnesium, and potassium, which are minerals that plants need to thrive. Apart from keeping plants healthy, blackstrap molasses could also encourage the growth of garden-friendly microorganisms, which further enhance the health of your garden.
To use blackstrap molasses as a plant fertilizer, just dilute about 1/2 cup of blackstrap molasses in a gallon of water. Pour the solution in a spray bottle and spritz on the soil. If your crops are beginning to produce flowers, spritz the solution along the roots to boost your yield.
Why spend money on chemical fertilizers when you can look for these common kitchen items and use them to improve the health of your garden? Tune in for more gardening tips! Subscribe to our newsletter today to get the freshest resources on eco-gardening.