Do you have to buy fertilizer?
Basic care for plants and gardens inevitably leads you to evaluating and choosing the proper fertilizer or “plant food” for your plants. Rather than buying pre-packaged, and sometimes expensive fertilizer that can also contain various chemicals that may not be suitable or conducive for certain growing conditions, we’ve come up with a useful list of a few great alternatives that will keep your plants and wallet happy!
One of the more obvious and straight-forward natural fertilizing alternatives is compost. Composting is actually quite simple to start, and the materials needed can be found easily in or around almost any home. With scrap greenery from left-over vegetable parts, and cardboard or dry leaves, you can create a simple compost heap in an unused corner of your yard. Adding earthworms can enhance and speed up the composting process, ensuring that you will have plenty of home-grown and cheap nitrogen-rich food for your plants whenever they need it!
A very simple, yet very effective fertilizer is pine needles. Not only do they provide needed nitrogen for the soil, but they also help to balance out the “base” content that can accumulate in potted soil by lowering the pH levels. As an added bonus, pine straw also makes an attractive mulch around your plants that helps with weed suppression and provides insulation for your perennials!
Something many of us are quite familiar with are used coffee grounds! While many of us simply toss them out, they can actually provide useful benefits to our plants and soil including providing nitrogen, potassium and magnesium. While these additives are very beneficial, it’s also important to keep in mind that coffee grounds can also increase the pH level of the soil, so a little goes a long way!
Ashes from burned organic material such as wood, leaves and pine needles have long been used to fertilize gardens. Ashes not only deter slugs and snails, but supply much needed potassium and calcium carbonate to soil. Be careful though, ashes also raise the pH level of the soil as well, so use accordingly! It’s also important that you only use natural wood ash; no charcoal ash or burnt material from treated wood!
Yep, you read that correctly! Beer can actually be used as a very efficient plant food. Well, flat beer that has been diluted a bit with water can, at any rate. Diluted flat beer mixed with water can provide iron, calcium, potassium, sodium and phosphor, so make sure you pour one for your green leafy pals. They will enjoy it as much as you do!