If you have a garden or a favorite houseplant, then you probably are always on the lookout for ways to help these plants grow larger and more vibrant. The answer may be simpler than you think: house food or "people" food. Feeding your plants leftovers and common kitchen waste--in moderation and with care, of course--can be the key to having the healthiest, happiest plants on the block.
Many of our foods contain nutrients that plants need. By making these nutrients available in the soil or via spray, you are basically giving your plant a "daily vitamin" or a plant power smoothie. In addition, some of these house foods can help your plant fend off natural predators to enjoy a less stressful lifestyle.
Eggshells and coffee grounds are probably the most common types of house food for plants. Epsom salts, while not regularly consumed by humans, are still a form of food and will make many plants very happy. Baking soda is ideal for most garden and window plants, as well. And, of course, do not forget the food that every plant needs: plenty of light. It's not a leftover, but it is vital to your plants' diet. Plants can also benefit from the antioxidants in green tea.
Feeding Your Plants
Most of these household foods can be combined with water to administer them to your plants. You may wish to let eggshells and coffee grounds sit in a gallon jug of water for a week or so, then water your plants with the mixture. A popular Epsom salts recipe is a tablespoon of Epsom salts, a teaspoon of baking soda and a teaspoon of salt in a gallon of water. This will help keep your plants healthy and strong. You can also crush most of these items, then work them into the soil and water thoroughly, much as if you were fertilizing with the house foods.
In most cases, you should start to see the effects of your plants' new diet within a few weeks. However, if you start the diet in winter, then it may take longer since many plants go dormant or, even if they do not completely die down for the winter, at least slow in growth. In this case, you may need to wait for spring to see the real results of your work.
Not all plants like all house food. For example, ferns like salt, but they can accumulate too much in their leaves. Watch your plants when you start their new diet to make sure that they do not start wilting or fading. Nearly all plants will respond well to the eggs, which will raise the nitrogen in the soil, and the green tea.