19 Easy Homemade Fertilizer Recipes (#3 is my favorite)

It’s almost time to plant this year’s vegetable garden, and if you’re like me, you’re planning on abundance. And that means fertilizer.

I avoid picking up synthetic fertilizers whenever I can. Not only am I spending money I don’t need to, but they kill off beneficial microorganisms, don’t last very long, and have harmful environmental impacts.

Synthetic nitrogen is one of the top causes of climate change, on par with CO2 emissions. So, I make my own from organic material for a healthier, cheaper, and more environmentally friendly vegetable garden.

It’s easy and gives you better use for your kitchen scraps and weeds. Plus, you can still make a quick-release fertilizer using compost teas.

(If you want to learn more, I’ve also written a guide to the differences between synthetic and organic fertilizers.)

19 Easy Organic DIY Fertilizer Recipes

#1 Homemade Fertilizer Tea Recipe with Chicken Manure

If you’re looking for a sure-fire, laboratory-tested fertilizer recipe, this one’s for you.

19 Easy Homemade Fertilizer Recipes That Your Plants Will Absolutely Love
  • Save

Developed by environmental sciences doctor Will Binton, this recipe uses dried chicken manure, seaweed, fresh grass clippings, and diluted urine. High in nitrogen, this fertilizer recipe will give your garden a quick start in early spring.

Make This Fertilizer Recipe

#2 Banana Peel Fertilizer

Banana peels contain 42% potassium (as well as calcium, manganese, and other micronutrients), and you can capture that potassium for your garden.

19 Easy Homemade Fertilizer Recipes That Your Plants Will Absolutely Love
  • Save

Either throw your banana peels in the compost (wash the peels first if they’re not organic to remove any pesticide residue) or make this concentrated fertilizer tea to add directly to your potassium-loving plants.

Make This Fertilizer Recipe

#3 Homemade Compost Tea

Have compost and need to fertilize hanging baskets, container gardens, and houseplants? Compost tea is a simple way to make that compost water-soluble.

19 Easy Homemade Fertilizer Recipes That Your Plants Will Absolutely Love
  • Save

Compost tea dilutes the nutrients, but your plants will get a quick hit of nutrients that even household and container plants can absorb since it’s liquid.

Make This Fertilizer Recipe

#4 Comfrey Tea

If you don’t have comfrey growing in your garden, find some. Comfrey is amazing for fertilizer, as its deep roots bring up nutrients from deep within the soil, which are then concentrated in the leaves.

19 Easy Homemade Fertilizer Recipes That Your Plants Will Absolutely Love
  • Save

Use this recipe to make a tea that you can either apply directly to the soil or add to your compost pile to give it an extra boost.

Make This Fertilizer Recipe

#5 Homemade Bone Meal That Boosts Your Phosphorus

Finally, a way to use up all those chicken bones! Bones are an excellent phosphorus source, which your plants need for photosynthesis, flowering, and fruiting.

19 Easy Homemade Fertilizer Recipes That Your Plants Will Absolutely Love
  • Save

If you’re a meat-eater, save your chicken bones and grind them to make a homemade bone meal. (Wear a mask when grinding and handling dry bone meal. You don’t want to breathe it in.)

Make This Fertilizer Recipe

#6 Weed and Grass Tea

Are weeds getting you down? Robin Sweetser has a fertilizer tea recipe that will make you eagerly awaiting weeds.

19 Easy Homemade Fertilizer Recipes That Your Plants Will Absolutely Love
  • Save

Weeds are simply plants growing where we don’t want them to, but they’re often excellent sources of micronutrients for both humans and plants.

Make This Fertilizer Recipe

#7 Grass Clippings Tea

If all you have in your backyard is grass, don’t fret. You can still make nitrogen-boosting tea from grass clippings.

19 Easy Homemade Fertilizer Recipes That Your Plants Will Absolutely Love
  • Save

Even just leaving grass clippings on your lawn can return 25% of the grass’s nitrogen to the soil.

Make This Fertilizer Recipe

#8 Stinging Nettle Compost Tea

Like comfrey, stinging nettle’s deep roots help bring up a ton of nutrients stored in the leaves.

19 Easy Homemade Fertilizer Recipes That Your Plants Will Absolutely Love
  • Save

Just make sure to wear thick gardening gloves when handling, as the “stinging” part of its name is all too accurate.

Make This Fertilizer Recipe

#9 Borage Tea

Another dynamic accumulator that concentrates nutrients in its leaves, this one you may initially plant as an edible flower that bees love. Plus, it makes a great lemonade.

19 Easy Homemade Fertilizer Recipes That Your Plants Will Absolutely Love
  • Save

Make This Fertilizer Recipe

#10 Seaweed Fertilizer with Nettle, Comfrey, and Borage Boost

If you live by the sea, seaweed is a fantastic garden fertilizer that washes up onshore. Check your local regulations, though, as it’s illegal to forage seaweed in certain regions.

19 Easy Homemade Fertilizer Recipes That Your Plants Will Absolutely Love
  • Save

Seaweed contains trace amounts of all the micronutrients and contains useful amounts of iodine, copper, manganese, potassium, phosphorus, iron, and zinc.

Make sure you rinse thoroughly to remove any salt. (When using as an overwinter mulch/compost, the rain will carry away the salt.)

Make This Fertilizer Recipe

#11 Homemade Tomato Fertilizer Recipe Perfected Over 30 Years

It’s no secret that tomatoes are exceptionally heavy feeders, requiring a lot of nitrogen for vine growth, phosphorous for lots of fruit, and extra calcium to prevent blossom-end rot.

19 Easy Homemade Fertilizer Recipes That Your Plants Will Absolutely Love
  • Save

This recipe has all of this and more to keep your tomatoes topped up on nutrients, plus tips on how to start your tomatoes right (hint: fish heads).

Make This Fertilizer Recipe

#12 Homemade Fish Emulsion

Fish emulsion is high in nitrogen, and when diluted, makes a great liquid fertilizer for your lawn. But unless you only need to fertilize a few houseplants, fish emulsion is pretty pricey per square foot.

19 Easy Homemade Fertilizer Recipes That Your Plants Will Absolutely Love
  • Save

You can easily DIY fish emulsion using cheap or free discards like fish heads and guts. Just make sure you have a dedicated 5-gallon pail. You will not want to use it for anything else.

Make This Fertilizer Recipe

#13 Easy Shelf-Stable Dried Banana Peel Fertilizer

The banana peel fertilizer recipe above is great if you’re going to use it right away, but what if you want a little something just in case?

19 Easy Homemade Fertilizer Recipes That Your Plants Will Absolutely Love
  • Save

This banana peel fertilizer recipe uses dried banana peels and will last a couple of months.

Make This Fertilizer Recipe

#14 Homemade Vermicompost Bin

Vermicompost, also known as worm castings, is fluffy, filled with microbes, and a great way to reuse kitchen scraps without a compost pile.

19 Easy Homemade Fertilizer Recipes That Your Plants Will Absolutely Love
  • Save

Buying vermicompost can be pretty expensive per gallon, but with this homemade vermicompost bin, you can make your worm castings for years for only $21.

Make This Fertilizer Recipe

#15 Homemade Leaf Mould

Leaf mold is essentially composting dried leaves. You don’t even need a yard to do it — just go to the park in autumn and scoop up leaves into a garbage bag.

19 Easy Homemade Fertilizer Recipes That Your Plants Will Absolutely Love
  • Save

Leaf mold doesn’t have many nutrients, but it will improve the structure of your soil. You can also add other organic materials like alfalfa meals to provide more nutrients.

Make This Fertilizer Recipe

#16 Reuse Aquarium Water

Instead of pouring dirty aquarium water down the drain, use it on your plants. The water is rich in nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus, and other micronutrients, all things that plants love.

19 Easy Homemade Fertilizer Recipes That Your Plants Will Absolutely Love
  • Save

Just make sure you only use fresh-water, as your plants might not be so happy about getting drenched with saltwater.

Make This Fertilizer Recipe

#17 Wood Ash Fertilizer

If you love sitting by your lit fireplace or have a backyard pit, this fertilizer recipe is for you. Wood ash contains calcium, magnesium, potassium, and other nutrients.

The exact ratios depend on the species of wood burned. Wood ash can be tricky, as it alkalinizes your soil, so don’t apply on acid-loving plants or if your soil pH is above 6.5.

19 Easy Homemade Fertilizer Recipes That Your Plants Will Absolutely Love
  • Save

Only apply a little at a time, less than 10 – 15 pounds for 1,000 sq ft for lawns and 20 pounds for gardens. This recipe combines wood ash with kelp meal and sugar for added nutrition.

Make This Fertilizer Recipe

#18 Homemade Bokashi Bran

Bokashi bran is not a fertilizer, but the critical ingredient for bokashi, fermenting kitchen scraps (including meat!) into fertilizer.

19 Easy Homemade Fertilizer Recipes That Your Plants Will Absolutely Love
  • Save

And while you can buy the bokashi carbon ratios online, you can also make your own.

Make This Fertilizer Recipe

#19 The Homemade Compost Recipe That Will Solve Your Composting Woes

And to round out this list, you can make a simple compost in your backyard. You can either use the compost as a base for other fertilizer recipes or use it as a mulch that also fertilizes.

19 Easy Homemade Fertilizer Recipes That Your Plants Will Absolutely Love
  • Save

While starting your first compost pile can be confusing with the different ratios of carbon to nitrogen sources, Garden Therapy has a recipe that makes backyard composting straightforward.

Make This Fertilizer Recipe

Conclusion

See, organic fertilizer doesn’t need to be complicated or expensive. You can use the weeds in your backyard to make a nutritious snack for your garden. Little by little, we can make the earth a bit healthier.

Which fertilizer recipe are you going to try? Let me know in the comments.

Leave a Comment

Copy link
Powered by Social Snap