Fertilizers for the Garden and for Houseplants That Cost You Nothing!

Container Garden

Photo credit: bigstock.com

First, let’s take a look at food-based fertilizers. You don’t need a compost pile to get fertilizer from your food scraps. Here’s how you can do it:

  • Food Mulch: Simply grind up one or more of the foods listed below and add about a teaspoon or so to the base of each plant and work it into the soil. You can do this as often as once each week but do so a minimum of every three weeks for best results.
  • Powdered Food Fertilizer: Dry some of the foods from the list below in the oven, outside in the sun, or in your dehydrator. Once they are completely dry, grind in a blender until it makes a fine powder and put a tablespoon or so at the base of each plant and water well.
  • Food “Tea” Fertilizer:  Using a container with a lid (to keep out flies and other insects) place some of the foods listed below in your container. Fill with water and allow to sit for a minimum of 3 days, or as long as you like. When your plants need water, put one cup of this tea into one gallon of plain water and use as you normally would.


Best Foods for Fertilizing:

  • Carrot peels
  • Citrus rinds
  • Coffee grounds (if you don’t drink coffee, ask your friends for theirs, or ask Starbucks for some. Starbucks gives out grounds to anyone who asks!)
  • Onion peels
  • Molasses
  • Peanut shells
  • Potato peels
  • Pulp from juicing
  • Sugar
  • Tea leaves ( you can soak the entire tea bag, or open the bag and remove the leaves)
  • Banana peels
  • Egg shells
  • Gelatin

Some liquids that are great for fertilizer; no more leftovers! (Simply dilute with some water and pour!) :

  • Beer
  • Coffee ( without added sugar or milk)
  • Energy drinks
  • Molasses (dilute 3 tablespoons in one gallon of water)
  • Tea


Plant Fertilizers

When you cut plants from your garden or mow the lawn, you can also use those cuttings for fertilizer!  Make fertilizer from plants much the same way that you would food. You can make a “tea” by dumping them in a bucket of water and allowing it to set or you can simply allow them to dry, chop them, and then work them back into the soil. Be sure not to use any roots. The best plant based fertilizers are:

  • Tree leaves, or plant leaves
  • Nettle
  • Oat straw
  • Water weeds
  • Wood ashes (from untreated wood)
  • Saw dust (from untreated wood)
  • Yellow dock
  • Alfalfa
  • Horsetail
  • Burdock
  • Green manure (mainly oats, rye, clover, peas, buckwheat, or wheat)
  • Chickweed
  • Grass clippings
  • Clover
  • Dandelion
  • Comfrey
  • Crimson clover
  • Dollar weed

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One Comment

  1. Gabe

    May 29, 2015 at 7:56 pm

    Powdered kelp is also a very good inexpensive fertilizer, rich in micro-nutrients. You can purchase it relatively cheap at, http://www.herbalcom.com/index.php3?session=de3efd134e527fdea1840cecd8006913