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Once your plants are in the ground, the work has just started. Gardens need cheap fertilizers. Yes, you can run out and purchase your own fertilizers, but then you are spending unnecessary money. There are plenty of ways to save money while gardening!
Many of the things you have in your own home can be used as fertilizers. The first thing that you need to know is plants need three essential nutrients to grow: Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), and Potassium (K).
- Nitrogen is essential for leaf and green plant growth.
- Phosphorus is necessary for flower and fruit bearing.
- Potassium is necessary for the growth of the entire plant.
Of course, your plants depend on other important micronutrients for their growth. Calcium, magnesium and sulfur are just a few other ones.
It is important to remember that plants are also affected by the acidity of soil. Some fertilizers can increase the acidity in soil. While some plants enjoy extra acid, many don’t. You will need to ensure you don’t increase the acid too much. You can use a soil tester that determines the pH balance of your soil. They’re relatively cheap.
Cheap Fertilizers for Your Garden
- Coffee Grounds
If you’re like me, you have no issues gathering coffee grounds. Instead of tossing out the k-cups or coffee filters, put the grounds into a bowl. Coffee grounds are an awesome sort of nitrogen.However, coffee grounds do add acid to your soil. You must be careful not to add too much. Some flowers, such as roses or magnolias, love extra nitrogen. There are veggies that thrive in soil with additional acid such as radishes, sweet potatoes, peppers, rhubarb and parsley.
- Banana Peels
If you have kids, you probably have a plethora of banana peels in your compost or trash can. Banana peels are rich in calcium, phosphorus and potassium, making them excellent for plants that flower, such as zucchinis.There are a few ways for you to use banana peels. You can chop them up and bury them in the dirt surrounding your plant. As they decompose, all of the nutrients leech into the soil.If you want to make a banana spray fertilizer, soak banana peels in water for two to three days. The water absorbs the nutrients.
- Epsom Salt
I love to soak in a tub with Epsom salt, so I typically have a bag laying around the house. Bags of Epsom salt are less than $5, super cheap! Epsom salt provides magnesium and sulfur to your plants. I typically sprinkle Epsom salt around my tomatoes; they love it!You can water your plants with Epsom salt. Simply mix one tablespoon of the salt with a gallon of water. I just put it in my watering can. Plants love it and it helps to increase their greenness.
- Egg Shells
Whether you have chickens or not, you probably have egg shells laying around at times. Instead of tossing them away, you can add them to your compost OR use them directly in your garden!Egg shells are rich in calcium, promoting cellular growth in your plants. Tomatoes love and need calcium for proper growth. If you bury them around your tomato plants, you help to reduce blossom end rot.Another way to use egg shells in your garden is to make a spray but boiling 20 egg shells in a gallon of water.
- Grass Clippings
Chances are you cut grass each week. You have tons of grass clippings, either left behind the mower or in the bag. Grass clippings are high in nitrogen. They also make a great mulch!There are a few ways to use grass clippings! Try mixing the clippings into your soil. You can just sprinkle them around the base of your plants. Another method is to fill a five gallon bucket of grass clippings then fill with water. This mixture has to sit for three to five days. Strain and spray!
Without a doubt, compost is one of the best ways to fertilize your garden for free. Once you have a compost set up, you can put all of your brown materials, such as leaves, weeds and grass clippings, and green materials from your kitchen. You can add egg shells, fruit scraps and veggie scraps.You should mix your compost with your soil as you plant your veggies. You can also make a compost tea by soaking compost in water and then straining it. Compost is free, and it helps to reduce the amount of trash your family outputs.
When the Pilgrims arrived in North America, they struggled to grow food in the soil. The soil near the coast lacked vital nutrients. Once the Native Americans, such as Squanto, decided to help the pilgrims, they survived and thrived.One trick the Native Americans taught the pilgrims was to bury a fish with their seeds. While you don’t have to bury fish with your plants, you can take a similar approach.Fishermen can keep the scraps of their fish and blend them with water and milk. If your aquarium needs emptied, be sure to use that water on your plants. It provides multiple different vitamins and nutrients to your plants.
Do you have milk, or powdered milk, in your kitchen that is nearing expiration date? Instead of tossing it away, use it on your garden. Milk is a source of calcium, along with protein, sugar and vitamin B, which aids the overall growth of the plant.You mix milk with four parts water. It helps with blossom end rot, commonly experienced in tomatoes and zucchini.
- Fireplace Ash
Ash contains calcium carbonate and potassium. You can add the ash directly to the soil and mix it with your hands. Be careful with fireplace ash because it will boost the acidity in the soil.