12 Cheap Ways to Fertilize Your Garden

Cheap Ways to Fertilize Your Garden

Last Updated on October 31, 2021 by Phil

Fertilizer can get expensive. This is especially true if you have a big lawn or garden. The good news is, there are a few other household things that you can use to supplement the fertilizer. And, many of them are free because you’re about to throw them in the trash anyway. Here are awesomely cheap ways to fertilize your garden.

Cheap Ways to Fertilize Your Garden

Grass Clippings

grass clippingsGrass clippings are one of the free things that can help fertilize your garden. Whether it’s your lawn or flower beds, you can use the excess clippings that your mower spits out.

The best part about grass clippings is that you don’t need to do any extra work after you mow the lawn. Your mower will send them out the chute on the side right back onto the lawn.

Grass clippings contain organic matter that makes for great fertilizer. It also helps provide an extra layer over the grass to help protect it from intense heat during summer and retain more moisture.

Coffee Grounds

coffee groundsBehind water and tea, coffee is the next more popular beverage in the world. You probably drink a cup or more daily. So, why not use the grounds that are left over to help your garden grown.

The best part bout coffee grounds is that you won’t use them anymore. Instead of dumping them into the trash, why not put it to good use.

Coffee grounds contain the three main elements in fertilizer. These are nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. All of which help your grass and plants to grow. All you need to do is scatter them over the soil. But, make sure that they’ve dried out before doing so.

Banana Peels

banana peelAfter eating your bananas, keep the peel in the compost or prep them for your garden. Bananas contain a lot of nutrients. And, while their peels are edible, they have a good amount of nutrients in them.

To use them in your garden, you have a few options. You can just bury the peel into the soil or mince the peel into small bits and put them on over the soil.


eggshellsMost of us eat eggs for breakfast. And, if you’ve ever wondered about what to do with the eggshells besides throwing them away, how about your garden?

Whether it’s your lawn or garden, you can use eggshells to help it grow. The shells contain calcium, nitrogen and phosphoric acid. All of which are beneficial to plants.

So, you can easily crush the eggshells and lay them on the soil as fertilizer.

Epsom Salts

epsom saltsEpsom salts are high in magnesium. This is why using them in a salt bath or foot spa make you feel better. Magnesium helps your cells work and stay healthy. In fact, it’s needed in over 300 processes in your body.

Like us, plants also need magnesium. So, mixing Epson salts with water and spraying the mixture over the soil or plant helps are good for your garden.

Sawdust or Wood Ash

sawdustBoth of these may not look like they’ll help your lawn. After all, they’re both dirty and bothersome. But, they do contain calcium and potassium.

Saw dust and wood ash are free items that are waste products from your DIY handywork and also from your fireplace. In either case, they’re things you probably would have thrown away otherwise.

Thanks to the calcium and potassium content, they help your soil get better. They’re also good if you want to increase the pH level of your soil, which is needed to plant many flowers and also vegetables.

Use Pee

dog peeingYes, this may sound gross. But, like animal manure, urine be it human or animal works as fertilizer as well. Urine contains nitrogen which helps plants grow.

However, it is also what causes those ugly brown or bald spots in your lawn thanks to your pets. The amount of nitrogen needed to help plants grow should be balanced.

Too little and you don’t get the desired results. Too much and it becomes toxic for the plants. So, when using pee in your garden, it’s a good idea to dilute it with water and distribute it evenly on the lawn.

Aquarium Water

aquarium waterIf you have an aquarium at home, you may want to save the water instead of throwing it away. Aquariums are beautiful. But, they also require a lot of cleaning and water replacement.

When changing the water in your aquarium, you can use the used water for your yard. The old, dirty water contains all sorts of things including fish food and waste. Both of which are good for the soil.

Fish waste is just like animal manure. They serve as fertilizer although at a much smaller amount.

Cooking Water

cooking waterWater used to boil potatoes, pasta and other foods are often tossed down the sink. This is a waste since they’re perfectly clean and sanitized.

One way to use this is on your garden. During boiling, the water absorbs some of the nutrients from the food. And, if you’re cooking food that contains potassium, calcium or phosphorus, it becomes even more useful for your garden.

As always make sure that the water has cooled to room temperature before pouring over your lawn. Hot or boiling water will shock the plants and cause stress which isn’t good for them.

Used Tea Bags

tea bagsIf you prefer tea to coffee, you’ll be grad to know that you can also use used tea bags in your garden. Tea bags contain a lot of nutrients that aren’t used up. Instead of throwing them in the trash, you can open them up and distribute the contents on the soil.

Similarly, you can plant the entire tea back under the soil.

Powdered Milk

powdered milkAt the tail end of our list is powdered milk. Basic powered milk is healthy for plants because it contains calcium and some magnesium. Both minerals aren’t only good for us, plants also need them to grow strong tissue walls and help them grow.

Powdered milk just barely makes our list because it isn’t an excess or waste product. So, using it for your garden when you could be drinking doesn’t really save you much money. But, we just added it here because it works.

To use powdered milk in your garden, you won’t need to mix it with water like you normally would when drinking. The powdered form is a good way for the soil to absorb it.


gelatinAnother item that just makes the end of our list is gelatin. This kiddie favorite is another food item that you can eat yourself. So, using it to help your garden isn’t really that great a deal. At least not like the other items above that you’re probably going throw into the trash.

Gelatin contains nitrogen which is the main element in fertilizer. This is what makes grass green and help it grow.

Because gelatin comes in a different form when you buy it in the box, you’ll need to place it into hot water. But don’t directly pour the hot water on the soil or plants. They don’t like boiling or very warm water.

So, it’s better to let it cool or add cold water before pouring it over the soil.


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