Containing a moderate amount of essential nutrients plants need to grow, organic fertilizers help improve the soil. They support plant growth naturally, allowing your crops to flourish.
While you still need to exercise care with these natural fertilizers, they are less likely to burn plants if used correctly.
Below are some of the most widely-used types of organic and homemade plant fertilizers.
Most manures used on a farm come from animal faeces and urine . They come from animals such as cows, rabbits, chickens, sheep, and horses. These fertilizers are great sources of vital plant nutrients.
Farmers mainly use cow manure on tomato plants because it acts as a balanced organic fertilizer. However, be careful when using, as fresh manure can burn plants.
2. Earthworm Castings
A variety of essential plant nutrients you’re going to want for your garden can be found in earthworm castings. They are also mild, so you can use them on flowers, cannabis, vegetables, houseplants, seedlings, and more.
Kelp meal contains a good amount of macronutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium). Besides, it is easy to apply. So, it’s bound to give any gardener a much-needed helping hand.
4. Organic Mulch
Mulch is any material placed on the soil surface to cover it. Organic mulches add nutrients back to the soil.
Bury sawdust, plant leaves, pine needles, or even grass clippings under a layer of topsoil and let it decompose. Organic mulches also help retain soil moisture.
Compost is an excellent soil amendment for vegetable gardens. It is composed of kitchen scraps from plants, grass trimmings, coffee grounds, and other organic materials.
It is very versatile. You can use it as an organic soil conditioner for your garden. You can even make compost tea and use it as a foliar spray.
Make compost by filling a bucket with kitchen and yard scraps and mixing it up.
6. Shell Meal
Shellfish meal is made from the crushed shells of crabs, shrimp, or lobster. It contains calcium, phosphorus, nitrogen, potassium, and other nutrients that benefit your plants.
7. Bat Guano
Bat guano contains nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. It is great for seedlings, as well as to feed the lawn, houseplants, flowers, and ornamentals.
Use it at any time of the year as a top dressing. Moreover, you can dilute it and make a ‘tea’ to use as a foliar spray. However, use it carefully and according to the package instructions.
8. Fish Bone Meal
Fishbone meal is dehydrated fish bones, containing phosphorus, calcium, and a little bit of nitrogen. It’s great for flowering plants.
9. Egg Shells
Eggshells are rich in calcium carbonate . This means that you can use it as a fertilizer for certain plants. They decompose slowly, but they work faster if you grind them up.
Tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers will enjoy some eggshell fertilizer.
Simply mix one cup of household vinegar with a gallon of water and use it to water these plants. Give them a dose once every three months.
A low pH can be harmful to plants that thrive in highly acidic soil. Just be sure to test your soil before you alter the pH.
11. Epsom Salt
Epsom salt contains magnesium, which is an important nutrient for plant growth.
Onions, broccoli, and cabbages will all benefit from its use. Besides, peppers, tomatoes, and roses will blossom and grow stronger when fertilized with Epsom salts.
Use it in a solution of 2 tablespoons dissolved in one gallon of water to replace depleted levels of magnesium in the soil.
12. Bone Meal
As the name implies, bone meal is finely ground bone that comes from slaughterhouses. It is an amazing source of calcium and phosphorus.
So, you can use it for bulbs, flowers, and fruiting trees. It helps establish a strong root system.
13. Rock Phosphate
Rock phosphate contains generous amounts of calcium and phosphorus. It works great on vegetables, flowers, trees, and shrubs.
Greensand is a popular type of mineral from the seabed.
It is heavily rich in glauconite, which is high in minerals such as potassium, magnesium, and iron. All these nutrients are good for plants.
15. Alfalfa Meal
Alfalfa meal is normally a major part of livestock diets. However, grinding it up results in a fertilizer mixture containing the three key macronutrients (NPK).
It also contains other nutrients.
16. Cottonseed Meal
Cottonseed meal contains nitrogen, phosphorus, potash, and other plant food elements. It is great for conditioning the soil and improving its structure.
17. Soybean Meal
A slow-release fertilizer, releases a good amount of nitrogen and potassium into the soil as it breaks down.
18. Feather Meal
Feather meal is another slow-release nitrogen fertilizer. For best results, apply it to the soil well in advance. It works great on tomatoes and corn.
19. Seabird Guano
This is a unique fertilizer gathered from islands that serve as homes for seabirds. Seabird guano is good for most indoor and outdoor flowering plants.
Strawberries, melons, and other plants with large blooms love it.
This is one of the best ones because if you live near the coast, you can go and pick it up for free. It just washes ashore.
Seaweed contains potassium and small amounts of other nutrients. It is a great crop fertilizer.
21. Grass Clippings
This is another one you can get for free as long as you or someone you know owns a lawnmower. However, avoid cuttings from herbicide-treated lawns.
Grass clippings contain some amount of nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus. Place the clippings into a bucket of water and allow it to steep for a few days. Afterward, strain and use the solution to water your plants.
22. Ag Lime
Agricultural lime is highly effective in balancing pH levels in the garden, especially in highly acidic soil. It is not really a fertilizer, but it helps plants absorb more nutrients from the soil.
It also adds magnesium, which assists in stronger plant growth. However, be sure to test your soil before adding it.
23. Wood Ash
You might not think of this one, but you should. Ashes from the fire pit can be used as is a great organic soil amendment.
Plants that benefit from wood ashes include lettuce, parsnips, garlic, chives, carrots, and asparagus. It also helps keep away pests like slugs, snails, and ants.
24. Coffee Grounds
Used coffee grounds help improve soil fertility, entice earthworms, and work great in the compost.
It also contains a plethora of nutrients needed for plant health.
Sprinkle your waste coffee grounds (in limited amounts) around the base of your plants and work them in the soil. For best results, mix it with crushed eggshells.
25. Green Teas
Everyone knows the benefits of green tea, and soon your garden will, too.
Just sprinkle it on top of the soil or add green tea leaves into a bucket of water and let it sit for three days before applying.
People have been using molasses in gardening practices for years. However, different molasses types have different nutrient contents.
Blackstrap molasses has the most sulfur, magnesium, iron, calcium, and potassium and gives plants a power boost when applied.
To make a homemade plant fertilizer using molasses, combine 3 tablespoons of dry molasses with 1 gallon of warm water. Use it to spray on leaves or pour around roots.
Unsulphured blackstrap molasses can also be added to fertilizer mixes.
You read that right. It’s been proven that urine from a healthy person can be used as a highly clean and beneficial agricultural fertilizer .
Urine is about 95% water and contains nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus. These nutrients are extremely beneficial to growing plants.
If you’re a little squeamish, it’s okay — there are plenty of other healthy plant fertilizers options on this list.
Gypsum is an excellent source of calcium and sulfur. Both these are important elements for improving crop yield and plant growth. It also keeps the soil hydrated and helps prevent erosion.
Azomite is a natural mineral substance that you can use as a soil amendment to improve plant growth and yields. It is from volcanic mineral deposits from a Utah desert source.
As most of these are slow-release, the timing of when you use them is not as important as it is with inorganic fertilizers.
As with all the foods we eat, organic is best, so work hard to nourish your plants as you would nourish your body.