Organic Fertilisers You Can Make At Home

To grow fruit and vegetables successfully it is important to have at least a basic understanding of the nutrients and minerals required for plants to grow. Those of us who do not like to use proprietary chemical fertilisers in our gardens will have to know more than most when it comes to keeping both the plants and the soil in our gardens happy, as we are not willing to rely on chemical boosters to have a garden that thrives in the short term. Instead, we want to ensure the longer term health of the land and of ourselves. This involves understanding how to keep a natural balance in our gardens while still obtaining a useful yield.

The good news for organic growers is that organic fertilisers do not need to cost a fortune. You can give your crops a boost using fertilisers that can easily be made at home. These fertilisers can be used to top dress vegetables and flowering and fruiting plants and can improve plant health and increase yield. More importantly, they will also help ensure the continued good health and nutritional make up of the soil in which you are planting.

SeaweedBalanced NPK Fertiliser

One of the most beneficial fertilisers is a slow acting fertiliser which can be left on the soil surface and will slowly release its load of nitrogen, phosphate and potassium (N, P and K) over time. There are liquid fertilisers and solid ones. A liquid fertiliser should be looked on as a quick fix while a solid mulch type fertiliser will improve soil health more slowly over time. Both have their times and places. Seaweed and comfrey both contain N, P and K and can be good balanced fertilisers, both in liquid and fresh form. If you live by the sea, digging in or top dressing with seaweed can be a great idea. The added benefit of simply using seaweed as a fertiliser is that it is abundant in nature and also contains trace elements that plants need.

ChickensHigh Nitrogen Fertiliser

If you keep chickens then their manure mixed with some general garden compost will make a great nitrogen rich fertiliser for leafy plants and it will also contain some phosphorus and potassium. If you keep rabbits then their manure is even better. Do not put chicken manure 'neat' onto your garden as this can burn your plants. Mixed with compost, however, it will make plants grow swiftly with an abundance of foliage. Nettle tea or a mulch of grass clippings will also help add nitrogen to the soil.

Fish BonesHigh Phosphorus Fertiliser

Phosphorus is essential for blooming plants. It can be added to the garden by means of ground bonemeal. If you eat meat, you can use the bones, ground in a blender or with a mortar and pestle, to supplement a top dressing of good quality compost. Fish bones can also be added to the soil. Crushed egg shells will also help add a small amount of phosphoric acid, along with calcium, to your soil for the use of flowering plants.

Fire in the Wood StoveHigh Potassium Fertiliser

Potassium is essential for fruiting plants. Sources of this macro-nutrient include banana skins, citrus rinds and wood ash (not coal dust or any lighter fluid contaminated ashes). Wood ash is a good fertiliser for fruiting plants and you should sprinkle ashes from a wood burning stove or bonfire around tomato plants to encourage them to fruit well. You can also slow-fertilise plants by burying banana skins or citrus peels directly in the soil at their roots.