Thursday, January 3, 2013

Homemade Fertilizers

As the spring is approaching slowly but surly I am on the look out for ways to fertilize my plants without having to go off the beaten path and go for inorganic fertilizers. This year i have looked up ways that you can use what you probably already have in the house to get you started.

 1. Epson Salt
Epsom salt – actually magnesium sulfate – helps seeds germinate, makes plants grow bushier, produces more flowers, increases chlorophyll production and deters pests, such as slugs and voles. It also provides vital nutrients to supplement your regular fertilizer. Although magnesium and sulfur occur naturally in soil, they can be depleted by various conditions, including heavy agricultural use. But unlike most commercial fertilizers, which build up in the soil over time, Epsom Salt is not persistent so you can’t overuse it. Here are some other tips for using Epson salt in the garden.

 




Houseplants: 2 tablespoons per gallon of water; feed plants monthly.

Roses: 1 tablespoon per foot of plant height per plant; apply every two weeks. Also scratch 1/2 cup into soil at base to encourage flowering canes and healthy new basal cane growth. Soak unplanted bushes in 1 cup of Epsom Salt per gallon of water to help roots recover. Add a tablespoon of Epsom Salt to each hole at planting time. Spray with Epsom Salt solution weekly to discourage pests.

Shrubs (evergreens, azaleas, rhododendron): 1 tablespoon per 9 square feet. Apply over root zone every 2-4 weeks.

Lawns: Apply 3 pounds for every 1,250 square feet with a spreader, or dilute in water and apply with a sprayer.

Trees: Apply 2 tablespoons per 9 square feet. Apply over the root zone 3 times annually.

Garden Startup: Sprinkle 1 cup per 100 square feet. Mix into soil before planting. About Epsom salt


2. Banana peels

  •  Cut a banana peel into small pieces and mix them up with fresh soil for an added boost when planting a new plant. Banana peels can be mixed into the soil around plants, shrubs and trees at any time for an added fertilizer. If you happen to have access to a banana tree, add leaves, stalks and skins to your soil as well.




  • 3. Urine
    Human urine is one of the fastest-acting, most excellent sources of nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium and trace elements for plants, delivered in a form that’s perfect for assimilation. Not only that, we all have a constant, year-round supply of it - and it's free!
    Fresh human urine is sterile and so free from bacteria. In fact it is so sterile that it can be drunk when fresh; it’s only when it is older than 24 hours that the urea turns into ammonia, which is what causes the 'wee' smell. At this stage it will be too strong for use on plants, but poured neat on to the compost heap it makes a fabulous compost accelerator/activator, with the extra benefit of adding more nutrients.
    Dilute one part urine to 10-15 parts water for application on plants in the growth stage. Dilute in 30-50 parts water for use on pot plants, which are much more sensitive to fertilizers of any kind. Trees, shrubs and lawns are fine with undiluted urine, but for obvious reasons apply it underneath fruiting bushes, as opposed to directly on to foliage and fruit. Some fertilizers  such as seaweed, are specifically used as foliar feeds [applied direct to leaves], but urine is always best applied directly to a plant's root system.
    Antibiotics, vitamin supplements and other medications will end up in your urine, but in such minute quantities as to be negligible, especially when diluted in water.
    This is all I could come up with right now but as spring approaches I will add more.




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