Saturday, March 11, 2017

Create Your Own Organic Fertilizer

The Key to a Good Garden is Good Soil. 
Most of the essential nutrients for plants are found in soil.  What flowers, vegetables, and trees need to thrive is Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium, and to a lesser extent Calcium, Magnesium, and Sulphur.  To provide these nutrients to your plants you don’t need to spend any money, save your time and gas to head to the garden center.  Organic fertilizers are way more efficient and helpful to your plants than the artificial ones you buy for top dollars!  Go no further than your pantry, backyard (or the beach) for materials to make your own organic fertilizer.  You can prepare your own bloom or fruit fertilizer year-round:

Fermented Fruits are Prolific Garden Helpers. 
Don’t throw away brown bananas, wilted salad leaves, rotten apples or moldy strawberries!  Not only do they contain valuable Phosphorus and Potassium, they also have the fruit growth enzymes and hormones that encourage the plant to utilize the resources it has to produce large blooms and delicious fruits.  
Add approximately 10% sugar or molasses and water to let the mixture ferment to a mash for a week or so.  Cover it well and place it in the garage or garden shed to avoid the smell in the kitchen. In winter let all your kitchen scraps freeze in a big container that is safely secured, such a garbage can with a well-secured lid.  Place a large stone on top and fasten the lid with a jumpy band to avoid critters’ rummaging.

Wellness Cure for Your Garden:

BANANAS or Banana PEELS  –  Use over-ripe Bananas from your kitchen or those that are offered at very low prices in the produce section of your grocery store.  Roses love potassium too.  Simply throw one or two peels in the hole before planting or bury peels under mulch so they can compost naturally. Get bigger and more blooms and a bomber crop of vegetables.

Acid and nitrogen-loving plants such as tomatoes, blueberries, roses and azaleas like coffee grounds mixed into the soil. Visit your next Starbucks and bring two buckets with you to let it fill with used coffee grounds. Sprinkle it on top of the soil and fork it well in before watering. 

Crash the eggshells in very small pieces, and work them well into the soil near tomatoes and peppers. The calcium helps fend off blossom end rot. Eggshells are 93% calcium carbonate, the same ingredient as lime, a tried and true soil amendment! 

SEAWEED – Fresh seaweed needs to be washed before mixing it into the compost/soil to remove salt.  Another benefit of using seaweed fertilizer over time is that it slightly acidifies and adds iron to the soil, which is great news if you are growing acid and iron hungry plants, such as Azaleas, Gardenias, Camellias, and Rhododendrons.  Shred or chop up the seaweed into 1- or 2-inch-long pieces.  While chopped seaweed takes only a few weeks to decompose, seaweed that's left whole can take approximately six months to compost.