If you have a garden, be it a flower garden or a vegetable one, then you surely know how important it is to maintain the soil properly fertilised. In order for plants to thrive they need several different macronutrients, from calcium and copper to iron, zinc, magnesium and many others. While it is true that some of these nutrients do occur naturally in the soil, the garden still needs extra nutrients, especially potassium and phosphorus. Over the past several years, gardeners have started to pay more attention to natural fertilizers, due to a series of reasons: they are all natural (therefore they are not toxic and they are 100% safe to use), they are eco-friendly as they can be easily recycled and re-used and above all, they are very cost-effective as well!
Image source & further info FairchildGarden.Org
In case one or more of the macronutrients mentioned above are missing from the soil, the growth of the plant will be impaired and they might even start to decay and die – this is why it is better to prevent than to treat, and most gardeners choose to add natural organic fertiliser to enrich the soil. The good news is that you can easily recycle the nitrogen that comes from other dead plants, such as the ones that will be detailed later in the article. Regardless of your choice in terms of fertiliser, it is important to make sure that it contains the right amounts of phosphorus, nitrogen and potassium. Just like our body requires nutrients in order to function properly, plants also need these macronutrients to grow and thrive. Having said that, here is an overview of 6 of the most commonly used natural fertilisers for the garden:
1. Egg Shells
We have all seen our grandparents who live in the countryside gather egg shells rather than throwing them away, but how many of us know why? The reason is very simple: egg shells are amongst the most efficient natural fertilisers one can use for the garden. Besides, preparing an all-natural egg shell fertiliser requires only a couple of minutes: simply wash the shells, crush them and sprinkle them in the garden. The reason why egg shells make such a good natural fertiliser is because they are very rich in calcium, which is essential for plants.
2. Grass Clippings
Did you know that grass clippings contain high amounts of nitrogen which are very beneficial for the soil? All you need to do is to combine grass clippings with some weeds, add some water, let it sit for around 20 days and then dilute this “grass tea” by mixing it with water and use it to water your garden. The other option is to simply leave the grass clipping on the lawn after mowing and let nature do the rest.
You can easily find dried seaweed at basically any supermarket these days – no matter if you opt for the dried version or for the fresh one, both of them are equally beneficial for the soil. Combine one bucket of seaweed with 5 gallons of water, let it sit for a couple of weeks, stir every once in a while and then simply pour the “tea” at the base of every plant. You can use the seaweed tea in conjunction with the “grass tea”, for the best results!
4. Used Coffee Grounds
Despite the fact that used coffee grounds can be utilized in so many different ways, we all tend to throw them away when they are no longer useful. Used coffee grounds turn out to be excellent natural fertilisers for your garden – just like seaweed, the coffee grounds are also very rich in nitrogen, so simply spread them all over the surface of the soil!
5. Natural Compost
You can easily make your own natural compost at home: you can combine grass cuttings with raw vegetable peelings, tea bags and leaves, green prunings, animal and poultry manure, wood shavings, fallen leaves and such. Simply cut the ingredients, mix them, spread them across the soil and let them work their magic!
6. Old Manure
There is no better natural fertiliser for your garden than old manure, especially if you grow chickens and rabbits. Simply gather their droppings and apply them directly to the soil – their high nitrogen content will surely benefit your plants!
In conclusion, these are 6 of the best natural fertilisers you can use for your garden. They are easy to gather and to prepare, and their effect is almost guaranteed!