How to Make Homemade Plant Food

homemade plant food

Plant fertilizer is commonly used by gardeners to achieve healthier and more substantial plants. The product is easily accessible. It can be found in any garden center. However, many people desire natural ways to feed and nourish their plants. Organic gardening is on-trend. The good thing is that if your preference is organic gardening, you can feed your plants organically by making your own homemade plant food.

In many instances, the chemicals contained in retail plant food and fertilizers can be harmful to the environment. Outside of that, they can be pricey. This is why lots of gardeners prefer making their plant food. You can make a mixture of things that you likely already have around your house.

Check out these tips to learn how.

Traditional Options

Cow manure has been used to fertilize gardens for centuries. Aged manure can be found on Amazon and at other retailers. Make sure to confirm it’s organic before using it in your garden.

Another option is using compost. Many people enrich the soil for their plants with compost. Compost is comprised of organic material such as food scraps and yard waste. These things account for over 28% of waste that is thrown away. It is best for the environment if we compost it instead.

By making compost to feed plants, we enrich the soil and take up less space in landfills. This reduces the release of methane. Compost is truly the first homemade plant food.

Although retail plant food is deemed safe for outdoor plants and vegetables, it still contains ammonium phosphate and some other chemicals.

This is why organic gardeners prefer more holistic methods such as composting or making their own mixture of plant food.

How To Make Your Own Plant Food

Ideally, a homemade plant food mixture is used on outdoor plants. This is because the ease of application of plant food can vary. As well, the smell can be unpleasant.

If you don’t already have the ingredients to make your homemade plant food, you can find and order the ingredients from Amazon.

What you will need:

  • 1 Gallon jug
  • Water
  • Household ammonia
  • Epsom salt
  • Baking soda

Step 1:

Add 1 ½ tablespoon Epsom salt to a 1-gallon jug. A clean milk jug works well.

Step 2:

Add 1 ½ teaspoon baking soda

Step 3:

Add just under ½ teaspoon of household ammonia.

Step 4:

Fill the remainder of the jug with water. Tap water is fine for this. Tightly screw on the lid and swish it well to combine all of the ingredients.

Step 5:

Allow the mixture to sit for a minimum of 30 minutes so that the Epsom salt has time to dissolve.

Step 6:

Label your container and store it in a dry cool area out of reach of children and pets.l

This homemade plant food can be used as an all-purpose fertilizer in your garden or outdoor flowerbed. While the soil is still damp from regular watering, add two or three cups to the soil at the base of each plant. This can be done every three weeks in the growing season.

Types of Plant Deficiencies

Plants use the nutrients contained in the soil as food. Eventually, a plant’s soil will need those nutrients replenished. You can tell when your plants need to be fed. They will begin to wilt away without the proper nutrients they need to thrive. Several household items have what is needed to replenish the soil’s nutrients. For this reason, it is fairly simple to make plant food right at home. Check out this list of deficiencies that affect plants and how to solve them.

Nitrogen Deficiency

The plant will have pale green or yellowing leaves and stunted growth. This can be remedied by adding coffee grounds to the soil or by planting nitrogen-rich plants close to the deficient ones. Peas and beans contain more nitrogen.

One of the best organic fertilizer solutions for nitrogen deficiency is using blood meal. This high nitrogen plant food will perk your plants up with a slow release of fertilizer. You can find a great one by Burpee here.

Phosphorous Deficiency

This plant will have darkened edges around its leaves. Its flowers will be small or completely absent. Overall the plant’s growth may be stunted. To correct this, bone meal can be added directly to the soil. Used fish tank water is also a good source of phosphorus as well as nitrogen. Used fish tank water works well but not if it contains saltwater.

A great phosphorous heavy fertilizer is seabird guano. If you don’t own a number of seagulls, you can order some organic seabird guano here.

Potassium Deficiency

Yellow edges, yellow or brown veins, or brown spots can indicate a potassium deficiency in plants. Banana peels can be placed an inch below the soil. As they rot they will slowly provide nutrients to the plant. Banana peels are also a great deterrent for aphids.

Potash is a phenomenal fertilizer to fix potassium deficiency. Check out this natural potash to add to your plants.

Magnesium and Calcium Deficiency

Yellowing edges and veins on the leaves are due to magnesium deficiency. The appearance may look marbled. Add some Epsom salt directly on top of the soil before watering it. Roses, tomatoes, and peppers benefit tremendously from the use of Epsom salt.

A plant that is calcium deficient will have yellow spots in between the veins of its leaves, stunted growth, blossom end rot, or weak and dying stems. Adding crushed eggshells to the soil helps to gradually improve your plant’s health. You will need to make sure that you till the eggshells thoroughly into the soil.

A great market available organic fertilizer that boosts magnesium and calcium is Earthpods organic fertilizer spikes. Click here to check them out.

Test Your Soil Instead of Guessing Blindly

The most accurate method of determining a nutrient deficiency in soil is to have it tested. You can find at-home testing kits, however, these kits usually test only the pH levels. If you need to test for a specific element deficiency such as nitrogen, you will need to contact a local soil laboratory. There may or may not be a fee for this, depending on where you live.

A great soil test to give you an accurate picture of your soil is the My Soil Test Kit on Amazon. Also, if you’re looking to find the places in your garden with higher or lower PH levels, you should consider buying a PH meter. These give you a reading automatically when you stick it in your soil.

Plants go dormant in late fall and should not be fed beyond this point. As you implement the tips you’ve learned here, be sure to watch them closely in the coming weeks so that you will be aware of how they are responding to what you are feeding them. This way you will be able to make adjustments when needed. If your plants improve then you know you are on the right path.

Want to learn more about the organic gardening and victory garden 2020 movement? Click here to read more!

Also, be sure to check out some of our other posts. We think you’ll love this one: Being Bohemian in 5 Easy Steps

Written by Colleen

Beard lover | Theatre Geek | Writer | Loves to Laugh | Persistent Dreamer
I love style, fashion, and interior design. My goal is to bring you all the best things since avocado toast. From seemingly useless gadgets to the newest style of hat for your upcoming vacation, come to AvoToasted first for the latest trends.

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