Lawn Care Tips: Natural Homemade Fertilizer? Without Composting!

A guide to naturally fertilizing houseplants that don't require compost. Includes instructions for application, ingredients, and nutrients.

Most people want a green lawn, a healthy garden and beautiful houseplants, but for some, the thought of a chemical fertilizer is a bit scary. But, there are many natural and homemade fertilizers that are tried and true and will benefit your plants just as much as the chemical and store-bought supplements.

The first homemade fertilizer to mention is a springtime application for lawns. Mix one cup Epsom salts with one cup ammonia and add water until you've got one quart of the solution and then use a lawn sprayer to spray the mixture over your lawn. This amount should cover a 2500 square foot area. The Epsom salts nourish plants with sulfur and magnesium while the ammonia causes a reaction between nitrogen and hydrogen in the soil.

Epsom salts can be used as fertilizer in other ways. For example, you can mix it with your potting soil in the spring. Mix one and ½ cups with the total amount of potting soil you'll use. Or, add a few teaspoons to bulbs as you plant them. Combine a half cup of Epsom salts and one gallon of water and use to water your house plants.

There are several fertilizer recipes involving soaking leaves, but this seems to be the simplest. Get a large pail and fill it about 1/3 of the way with oak leaves that have fallen from the tree and then fill the rest of the pail with water. Put the pail in a sunny spot and let it steep for about a week or until the water takes on a brown color. Then, pour the water over the base of shrubs and plants and they should perk up. If you're in a pinch, you can also simply add boiling water to the leaves and use the water as soon as it has cooled.

Another natural leaf-based fertilizer involves putting comfrey and nettle leaves into a container. Fill it with water and cover it. It has a strong odor, so you may want to store it outdoors. To use it as fertilizer, dilute it with one part mixture and 20 parts water. Depending on what you're growing, different ingredients will add nutrients to this mixture. For example, tea leaves add nitrogen and manganese and alfalfa will add numerous amounts of nutrients and minerals. Another easy way to fertilize garden plants or shrubs is to air dry some coffee grounds and sprinkle them at the base of plants. You could also use diluted leftover coffee (about 1 part coffee to 4 parts water, depending on the strength of the coffee) to water house plants.

Vinegar is another ingredient that gardeners and lawn care experts have hailed. Mix one pint of white distilled vinegar (5%) and two gallons of water and pour the solution around the base of plants. Or, for house plants, mix one tablespoon of apple vinegar with one gallon of water (preferable alkaline water) and use this to water your plants. They should perk up and become much greener. The vinegar lowers the pH and provides your plants with some 50 minerals. These are just a few examples of the many ways you can easily fertilize your lawn, garden or houseplants without resorting to chemical fertilizers.

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