How to make your own natural fertilizer: A comprehensive guide
Fertilizer is an essential element for the proper development of plants. It provides them with the nutrients they need to grow, bloom, and produce fruits. However, chemical fertilizers, which are the most commonly used, have many drawbacks. They are environmentally polluting, expensive, and can have harmful effects on health.
That is why an increasing number of people are opting for natural fertilizers. These are made from organic waste, such as kitchen scraps, dead leaves, or grass clippings. They are non-polluting, cost-effective, and environmentally beneficial.
The advantages of natural fertilizers
Natural fertilizers have many advantages compared to chemical fertilizers. They are:
Non-polluting: Natural fertilizers do not contain chemicals, making them environmentally friendly. They do not pollute the soil, water, or air.
Economical: Natural fertilizers are made from organic waste, which is either free or inexpensive. They, therefore, help save on gardening expenses.
Environmentally beneficial: Natural fertilizers contribute to soil fertility and biodiversity. They promote plant growth and the presence of pollinating insects.
Different types of natural fertilizers
There are many types of natural fertilizers, each with its own properties. The main types include:
- Compost: Compost is the most common type of natural fertilizer. It is made from organic waste such as kitchen scraps, dead leaves, or grass clippings. Compost is a complete fertilizer that provides plants with the necessary nutrients.
- Manure: Manure is a fermented liquid made from plants. It is rich in nitrogen, an essential nutrient for plant growth. Manure is often used for fast-growing plants, such as vegetables.
- Eggshells: Eggshells are rich in calcium, an important nutrient for plant health. They can be crushed and buried in the soil to improve soil structure and pH.
- Fruit and vegetable peels: Fruit and vegetable peels are rich in nutrients such as potassium, phosphorus, and trace elements. They can be composted or used to make liquid fertilizer.
How to make your own natural fertilizer
Making natural fertilizer is simple and does not require any special equipment. Here are some simple recipes to make your own natural fertilizers:
Composting is a popular method for creating natural fertilizer. It involves breaking down organic waste into a nutrient-rich material called compost. Here's how you can start:
- Choose a location for your compost bin: It can be a simple pile in your garden or a compost bin purchased from a store. Make sure it is placed in a location that receives both shade and sunlight.
- Add your organic waste: You can add kitchen waste such as fruit and vegetable peels, coffee grounds, and eggshells. You can also add garden waste such as dead leaves, grass clippings, and small branches.
- Maintain your compost bin: Ensure that your compost bin is well-aerated by turning it regularly. This will help accelerate the decomposition process.
Vermicomposting is another method for creating natural fertilizer. It involves using earthworms to decompose organic waste. The final product, called vermicompost, is a nutrient-rich fertilizer.
- Choose a box for your vermicomposter: You can use a plastic or wooden box. Make sure it has holes for aeration and drainage.
- Add your earthworms: You can buy red worms online or at a garden center. They are ideal for vermicomposting as they quickly feed on organic waste.
- Add your organic waste: Similar to composting, you can add kitchen and garden waste. However, avoid citrus and onions as they can be harmful to earthworms.
- Maintain your vermicomposter: Ensure that your vermicomposter is well-moistened and aerated. You can harvest the vermicompost once it has a crumbly texture and a dark brown color.
Nettle liquid fertilizer
Nettle liquid fertilizer is nitrogen-rich. To make it, fill a 10-liter bucket with water and add 1 kg of nettle leaves cut into small pieces. Let the liquid fertilizer steep for 2 to 3 weeks, stirring every 3 days or so. Filter the liquid before using it.
Comfrey liquid fertilizer
Comfrey liquid fertilizer is potassium-rich. To make it, follow the same recipe as nettle liquid fertilizer, replacing nettle leaves with comfrey leaves.
To use eggshells as fertilizer, finely crush them and bury them in the soil. Eggshells provide calcium to the soil, benefiting plant health.
Fruit and vegetable peel liquid fertilizer
Fruit and vegetable peels are rich in nutrients such as potassium, phosphorus, and trace elements. They can be composted or used to make liquid fertilizer.
To make liquid fertilizer from fruit and vegetable peels, simply follow these steps:
- Fill a 10-liter bucket with water.
- Add 1 kg of fruit and vegetable peels, cut into small pieces.
- Let the liquid fertilizer steep for 2 to 3 weeks, stirring every 3 days or so.
- Filter the liquid before using it.
To use the peel liquid fertilizer, dilute it at a ratio of 1 liter of liquid fertilizer to 10 liters of water. Water your plants with this mixture, avoiding wetting the foliage.
Here are some other recipes for natural fertilizers that you can make yourself:
- Horsetail liquid fertilizer is silica-rich, strengthening soil structure and plant stems. To make it, follow the same recipe as nettle liquid fertilizer, replacing nettles with horsetail.
- Fern liquid fertilizer is potassium-rich, promoting plant flowering. To make it, follow the same recipe as nettle liquid fertilizer, replacing nettles with fern.
- Dandelion liquid fertilizer is nitrogen-rich, promoting plant growth. To make it, follow the same recipe as nettle liquid fertilizer, replacing nettles with dandelion.
- Coffee grounds liquid fertilizer is rich in nitrogen and potassium, promoting plant growth. To make it, fill a 10-liter bucket with water and add 500 grams of coffee grounds. Let the liquid fertilizer steep for 2 to 3 weeks, stirring every 3 days or so. Filter the liquid before using it.
How to use natural fertilizers
Natural fertilizers can be used for all plants, whether in pots, in the ground, or in containers. It is important to dose the fertilizers properly, as excessive application can burn plant roots.
In general, it is recommended to apply natural fertilizers in spring and autumn when plants are growing.
Here are some tips for using natural fertilizers:
- For potted plants, dilute the natural fertilizer at a ratio of 1 liter of liquid fertilizer to 10 liters of water. Water your plants with this mixture, avoiding wetting the foliage.
- For plants in the ground, incorporate the natural fertilizer into the soil during digging or mulching.
- For container plants, use a mixture of compost and potting soil.
Natural fertilizers are an ecological and economical solution for fertilizing your garden. They are easy to make and use, offering many benefits for plant health.
Making natural fertilizer is an excellent way to reduce your environmental impact and save money. It is also a fun and rewarding activity that allows you to discover the secrets of nature.
So, don't hesitate to get started!