Best Free and Natural Fertilizers for Your Garden
Most garden stores will believe that you need expensive chemicals to have a beautiful, healthy garden and lawn. These chemicals can be harmful to kids, pets, and drinking water, along with rivers, lakes, and streams.
Thinking of these chemicals in my drinking water or the fish I caught in the local lake makes me cringe and look elsewhere for natural and natural alternatives that don’t harm the environment. The following four natural fertilizers are my most used favorites for my garden:
1. Blood Meal Fertilizer
A blood meal is one of the best natural fertilizers for plants; it can be found at almost any garden supply store. It’s rich in nitrogen, a staple for healthy plant growth, regardless of the type of plant you have. I use blood meal and bone meal (see the next section for more details on bone meal) mixed into the soil when I add plants to my garden. For established plants, I’ll mix the blood meal into the top layer of ground in the spring to give my plants a little jolt to promote healthy new growth going into the summer.
In addition to being a natural fertilizer, blood meal can act as a natural deterrent for rabbits, deer, and other animals that see your garden as a tasty snack. Since a blood meal is made from blood (a by-product from meat processing), it’s completely natural and safe to use in your garden.
Read More: Best Types of Vegetable and Tomato Cage
2. Bone Meal Fertilizer for Plants
As with blood meal, bone meal can also be found at most garden stores as a natural fertilizer for plants (generally on the same shelf as blood meal). Bone meal is made from ground bones (another by-product of meat processing) and is a rich source of phosphorus and calcium, which both act as a natural fertilizer that releases slowly into your soil. As stated above, I use this with a blood meal to create a mineral-rich fertilizer for my plants.
Read More: What are the Benefits of Organic Fertilizer?
3. Epsom Salt for Plants
Epsom salt can be found almost anywhere with over-the-counter cold/flu medications. It’s not only good for your body but also for your garden. The name, Epsom salt, is a little misleading. It’s not salt at all, but a naturally occurring mineral that contains magnesium and sulfate, which help promote healthy growth in plants.
Epsom salt has been shown to help prevent the yellowing of leaves and aid plants in chlorophyll production, therefore keeping your plants a brilliant green color. The magnesium in the Epsom salt is also a great fertilizer to your lawn, giving you a bright green lawn without the chemicals or having to pay for the pros to come in.
In addition to this, Epsom salt natural fertilizer for plants also works well in tomato gardens. The nutrients in the salt not only help keep your plants green (as previously mentioned) but also keep your tomatoes from splitting. Sprinkle about ½ cup per plant around each plant and then water, causing the salt to release the nutrients into your soil.
Furthermore, if you have issues with garden pests (grubworms, inchworms, and other bug larvae), mix Epsom salt with water and spray the mixture onto your fruit-bearing trees. You don’t need much: about two teaspoons of salt per gallon of water. For grub worms, sprinkle Epsom salt around the base of your plants. The minerals in the Epsom salt will cause the worms to dry up before they can cause damage to your plants.
Epsom salt and bone meal for tomatoes
Using Epsom salt and bone meal for tomatoes can be beneficial for their growth and development.
Epsom salt, which is magnesium sulfate, can provide magnesium to the tomato plants. Magnesium is a crucial nutrient that aids in chlorophyll production, which helps plants in photosynthesis. It also assists in the uptake of other essential nutrients, contributing to overall plant health. Dissolve about 1 tablespoon of Epsom salt in a gallon of water and apply it to the soil around the tomato plants once every few weeks during the growing season.
Bone meal is a slow-release fertilizer made from ground animal bones and is a good source of phosphorus and calcium. Phosphorus is essential for root development, flower formation, and fruit production in tomatoes. Calcium helps prevent blossom end rot, a common problem in tomatoes where the blossom end of the fruit becomes sunken and black due to a calcium deficiency. You can incorporate bone meal into the soil before planting tomatoes or sprinkle it around the base of established plants following package instructions.
Read More: Growing Hanging Tomatoes Method
4. Wood Ash for Garden Uses
Simple wood ash from a bonfire can act as an excellent fertilizer for your garden. However, one cautionary note I’ve been told is that you need to ensure your ash is clean – don’t use ash from treated wood, painted or stained wood, or non-natural materials (such as plastic).
These materials can leave behind toxins in the ash that can damage your plants and your soil. Clean wood ash contains lime and potassium. These nutrients help to increase the ph balance in acidic soils – neutralizing the soil for non-acidic plants. Wood ash also helps to keep pests such as snails and slugs at bay. The ash pulls the moisture out of these creatures as long as the ash remains dry. When it gets wet, it no longer works as pest control.
Please keep in mind, though, that while ash is a free and easily renewable fertilizer, too much of it can harm your plants as it changes the soil’s pH balance and should never be used around plants that thrive in acidic soil. When you add it to your ground, keep it light. About ½ inch or less layer of ash added to the soil is about all you need, and you don’t need to add it very often. I usually add it about once in the summer, about when the pests come out.
Read More: How To Grow San Marzano Tomatoes
Homemade Fertilizer Tips For Organic Gardeners
Every year, as I stumble to the cash register under a dozen plants, I often forget to grab the fertilizer that I prefer to use. I mean, there are a hundred and one different things that I like to buy for my garden every year and I tend to forget about purchasing anything else, except the plants. When it comes to fertilizers, I have a few favorites but mostly I prefer to use Miracle Grow. I’m not sure why this is but it may be what I was taught to use from the very first time I became serious about gardening.
If you are an avid gardener, or even not so avid, you probably have your own type of organic fertilizer that you prefer to use, and probably something that it has in common with mine is that it is expensive. It is almost alarming how expensive a fertilizer can be. Sure, we all want big and beautiful blooms but does it have to be so expensive to create those blooms? The answer, of course, is no, it doesn’t need to be that expensive.
Instead, you can make a number of organic fertilizers using everyday items that you find at home. Not only is it more inexpensive, but reusing, and recycling the materials around your home is a great way to be a “green” gardener.
Tip 1: It’s all in the Grounds
The first time I heard this being suggested, I was a little surprised. After all, doesn’t coffee stunt growth, I mean, that is what happened to me. Fortunately for my plants, coffee works as a great organic fertilizer for gardens and instead of throwing your leftover coffee away, why not save it for your garden?
With this fertilizer, you actually don’t use the grounds but you use the coffee that is brewed from the grounds. Once you have a pot of coffee, add it with another 4 pots of water for a 1:4 ratio. This will give you your organic fertilizer and you can use it on your plants every other week to see some pretty amazing results.
Tip 2: Apples Aren’t Just Used to Keep the Doctor Away
Okay, maybe it’s not apples exactly but using a homemade fertilizer that has 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and one gallon of water, can add a definite boost to your plants. This fertilizer is great for house plants and it does an amazing job at boosting those green leaves.
Tip 3: Keep your fish tanks clean
This may seem like a strange tip but if you have a fish tank, your dirty fish tank water works as an excellent organic fertilizer since it is chalked full of nitrogen, which plants need in their soil.
Tip 4: A little Epsom For You and Me
I love having baths and nothing is as nice as a bath with Epsom salts. It can clean those pores and relax those muscles after you have spent a day out in the garden digging up that new flower bed. What is even better, a mixture of 1 tablespoon of Epsom salt and 1 gallon of water can really help your tomato plants and other plants that require a higher level of magnesium to thrive.
Tip 5: Get Cracking
The last tip that I am going to recommend as a homemade fertilizer is eggshells. Whenever you make some eggs, save the shells until you have a fair amount. At that point, simply crumble them and then sprinkle them in the soil around your plants. This provides your soil with much-needed calcium carbonate.
And there are a few tips to get you on your way to not only saving a few nickels and dimes but also to being an organic gardener.