Homemade Plant Fertilizer

Overview

Green is a favorite term used when it comes to the environment and how we live in it. One of the ways you can go green in your yard is by making your own plant fertilizer. You don't have to use a granular, blue-colored substance to make your plants healthy when you have access to a compost pile. With a few simple items and a few minutes of time, you can fertilize your plants with your own concoction, without fear of burning or overdosing your plants. This is only one of many types of homemade fertilizers.

Step 1

Create your own compost by piling up layers of kitchen scraps, leaves and grass clippings until your pile is 3 feet high and 3 feet square. Allow it to sit for about three months as the internal temperature heats up. If you stir it up with a garden fork to incorporate air every week, it will be even more efficient at decomposing the contents. When the pile has turned a dark brown and has a sweet, earthy smell, you know your compost is ready to use.

Step 2

Dig down to the bottom of your compost pile to find the nice dark, crumbly dirt. If your compost pile is still too new, you can purchase bagged compost from garden centers, or check with a neighbor to see if he might lend you a bucketful of finished compost. Pull out any larger pieces of matter like sticks that may not have decomposed.

Step 3

Fill the pillowcase or burlap bag with about 4 cups of the dark compost, or humus. Tie off the bag with a piece of twine to keep the compost contained.

Step 4

Place the compost-filled bag into a 5 gallon bucket and place a couple of bricks on top of it to hold it down. Fill the bucket with water (non-chlorinated) so that the bag is fully submerged and the bucket is full.

Step 5

Set the bucket in a warm spot so it can seep for two or three days or until the water has taken on a deep dark color. Keep it covered to keep mosquitoes from growing in the water, but give it a good stir every day to add oxygen to the water.

Step 6

Lift the bricks and bag of compost out of the bucket. Set it aside to use again later. Use the compost tea to water your plants and fertilize them naturally. Use the tea right away to keep unfriendly bacteria from growing in the warm water.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not use manure in your compost.

Things You'll Need

  • Pillow case/burlap bag
  • Compost
  • Bucket

References

  • University of Illinois Extension: Composting for the Homeowner
  • University of Connecticut: Compost Tea
Keywords: homemade fertilizer, compost tea fertilizer, organic garden fertilizer

About this Author

Based in Maryland, Heidi Braley, currently writes for local and online media outlets. Some of Braley's articles from the last 10 years are in the "Oley Newsletter," "Connections Magazine," GardenGuides and eHow.com. Braley's college life included Penn State University and Villanova University with her passions centered in nutrition and botany.