Did you know? Tea contains nitrogen, which plants need as a nutrient. Its leaves can also improve soil texture and structure to provide better aeration to roots.
If you are growing your own vegetables and fruits or wish to do so, it is a good idea to prepare homemade fertilisers. These are easy-to-make, organic and inexpensive. And the best of all? They nurture the growth and health of your precious plants, enabling you an enviable home garden.
About Plant Nutrients
But first, a little bit about the plant nutrients. Our floras require nitrogen, potassium and phosphorous to grow in a healthy manner. Nutrients like iron, zinc, calcium, magnesium and sulfur are required too, albeit in small amounts.
So, what role do they play?
- Potassium makes plants stronger and helps them develop resistance to diseases and insects.
- Phosphorous aids flowering and makes the roots healthy and strong.
- Nitrogen helps with stem and leaf growth.
All commercial fertilisers use these plant nutrients in varying proportions. But you can provide the same using organic materials (such as kitchen ingredients and organic waste materials) available at home.
Here are some of them:
Next time you boil eggs, save the shells after peeling them. You can add this fertiliser into the soil after drying and powdering them.
How it helps – Egg shells are largely made up of calcium carbonate. Plant roots require a lot of calcium to grow well. Instead of using commercial calcium-based fertilisers, you can use this to replenish the soil and aid growth. Egg shells also contain nitrogen, phosphoric acid and several trace elements that plants need for optimum growth.
You can add used tea grounds and leaves. As you water you’re the plants, nutrients from tea seeps into the soil and help them grow. Both black and green tea leaves work well. Add them in the form of compost when your plants are actively growing. For other times, you can add used tea grounds and leaves directly into the soil.
How it helps – Tea contains nitrogen, which plants need as a nutrient. Its leaves can also improve soil texture and structure to provide better aeration to roots.
Another option is to add coffee grounds. Rose bushes especially love the acidity from the coffee. Coffee is also beneficial to enrich the soil of tomato plants, or any other plant for that matter. Dry them after use and spread it around the soil.
How it helps – Coffee contains nutrients that are good for the soil, helps it retain water longer and improves aeration.
To make compost, you need organic waste from your kitchen and home. Collect waste such as vegetable peels, fruit scraps, used tea leaves, grass and newspapers in a large pot. Add water and keep turning the materials from time to time. When it breaks down into a powder form, the compost is ready to use. You can add this to soil or spread the material into potted plants.
How it helps – Compost contains microorganisms and nutrients that are beneficial for the soil and hence the plants.
Epson salt is a compound made of magnesium and sulfur, two substances that plants for their growth. Add 1/2 tbsp of Epsom salts into 2 liters of water and spray the mixture on plant leaves once every month.
How it helps – Magnesium aids plants with chlorophyll production, promotes seed germination and healthy growth of fruits. It also helps plants absorb other key nutrients better. Sulfur is critical for production of amino acids, enzymes and vitamins.
Click here to get Epson salt
You can hydrate your plants with water used in the kitchen for boiling vegetables and eggs. During the boiling process, nutrients from food release into the water. These nutrients can also benefit the plants. Cool the water before using on the plants. Please note: You can use cooking water only if it doesn’t have salt added into it.
How it helps –Hard boiled eggs release calcium into the water, which the plants need for their growth. Water used for cooking pasta, rice and potatoes add starch to soil, which is beneficial for plants. Water used for cooking spinach can provide potassium and iron to plants.
Use gelatin for plants once every month to help them grow lush and healthy. Take 1 packet of gelatin to dissolve in 1 small glass or cup of hot water. Then add three more cups of water into the mix. You can add this solution directly on the top of the soil. It is also an excellent nutrient source for indoor plants.
How it helps – Gelatin contains nitrogen, which can help plants grow healthy leaves.