Last Updated on October 31, 2021 by Phil
Looking for cheap and easy DIY garden fertilizer recipes that are organic and safe from chemicals? Here’s a huge list of homemade fertilizer recipes you can make at home on a budget.
It will help you save money and also make sure that you know exactly what you’re using on your plants.
I love creating my own gardening recipes because they help me teach the kids how to use scraps instead of just throwing every used thing into the garbage can.
DIY Garden Fertilizer Recipes
The list below contains different DIY garden fertilizer recipes. Some can be used for general gardening while others are more for specific circumstances.
I’ll start out with compost because it is one of the most useful things you can do for garden soil. But, unlike the others below, making your own compost will take quite a while.
So, if you’re looking for something faster, choose from the other DIY fertilizer recipes below. However, do note that most of the fertilizer recipes below serve specific uses.
In any case, to create your own compost, you’ll need to collect kitchen and garden scraps. These are the browns (rich in carbon, usually carbohydrate rich materials) and greens (rich in nitrogen, usually proteins).
- Slowly collect the nitrogen-rich and carbon-rich materials from the scraps you already have. This includes grass clippings, leaves and other items. To learn more about the different composting ingredients, check out my complete composting guide.
- Add water every so often while making sure to allow enough air to circulate in your compost pile.
- Over time, the compost pile will heat up and breakdown the materials until they become dark, crumbly soil-like texture.
- You can use this as compost to improve garden soil.
DIY Epsom Salt Fertilizer Recipe
In addition to Epsom salt’s health benefits, you can also create a DIY Epsom salt fertilizer recipe. Here’s one that works.
- Add 1 tablespoon of Epsom salt in 1 gallon of water
- If you need more or less just adjust the amount while keeping the same ratio
- Allow the Epsom salt to dissolve
- Place the Epsom salt solution in a watering can
- Then water your plants with it like you normally would
All you need to do is use this once a month.
Epsom salt contains magnesium and sulfate which are both nutrients that plants need.
This DIY Epsom Salt Fertilizer works well for houseplants and also vegetables.
Organic Tea Fertilizer
Here’s something that is perfect as an alternative to fertilizer. it is more complicated compared to many of the other recipes in our list. So, I suggest having all the ingredients and items prepared beforehand.
Here’s what you need:
- ¼ cup of Epsom salt
- 2 cups of urine (Yes, urine is high in nitrogen so it does help with plant growth. But, don’t use it without diluting it otherwise, you’ll end up with bald and brown spots in your yard much like the areas where your dog pees on. That’s because undiluted urine’s nitrogen concentration is too high.)
- 2 cups of ash
- 5 gallons worth of grass clippings
- 5 gallon bucket
How to Make Organic Tea Fertilizer
- Combine the urine with the Epsom salt
- Mix the combination into the ash
- Then place everything in a 5 gallon bucket
- Fill the bucket with grass clippings
- Add water until it is close to the top
- Leave the tea to steep for 3 days
- Strain the tea
- Then dilute the strained tea mix by half with water
This is your organic tea fertilizer. You can apply it directly to the soil around your plants.
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Vinegar is something every household should have.
In the kitchen you can use it for cooking, creating flavors or to cut through the thickness of certain sauces. It is also a handy ingredient you can use for all sorts of cleaning tasks.
In the garden, you can use it to increase soil acidity levels, which will keep acid loving plants happy.
Here’s how to create this DIY vinegar fertilizer recipe.
- Combine a tablespoon of white vinegar with a gallon of water.
- Place the solution in a watering can or container that makes it easy to pour onto soil.
- Add the solution around acid loving plants if you need to increase soil pH levels
- Use once every 3 months
This vinegar fertilizer solution works very well if you need to boost soil pH on a budget. But, be careful not to overdo it. Too much acid does more harm than good. As such, never use the vinegar straight. Instead, always make sure to dilute it first.
Egg Shell Fertilizer
We eat eggs regularly for breakfast. And, if you do too, you may want to think twice before throwing the used eggshells away.
You can create this Egg Shell fertilizer recipe instead. It can be used in place of lime to adjust soil pH when needed.
This eggshell fertilizer recipe will help you increase soil pH when needed without having to go buy agricultural lime. Thus, saving you money in the process.
Here’s how to make it at home.
- Collect a few used eggshells.
- Leave them out to dry.
- When dry crush the shells until they’re get to a fine powdery consistency. You can use a blender or mortar and pestle.
- Sprinkle the eggshell fertilizer powder around the plants on soil that need pH modification.
This eggshell fertilizer recipe works because eggshells contain calcium carbonate. This is the main ingredient in store bought lime.
Fireplace Ash Fertilizer
In case you live in a cold climate region and use a fireplace, don’t throw way the ash that accumulates after the wood has burned off.
As strange as it sounds, you can actually use fireplace ash in the garden as fertilizer. Another option is to use it as garden lime.
Here’s how to use it.
- Allow the ash to cool
- Then collect them. Make sure to use safety glasses, gloves and face mask keep the ash from getting into your eyes, nose and mouth. You also may want to wear an apron or something that’s okay to get dirty.
- Apply the ash onto soil with low pH to increase the pH levels. The potassium and calcium carbonate helps balance out soil that’s too acidic to help plants absorb nutrients better.
Note that you should not use fireplace ash fertilizer on soil that’s already alkaline. Also, avoid application on plants that prefer acidic soil.
Coffee Ground Fertilizer Recipe
Got some used coffee grounds? Don’t throw them away and use them to create this DIY fertilizer instead.
All you need are used coffee grounds, a newspaper and a cookie sheet.
- Start by lining a cookie sheet with newspaper.
- When done, spread the used coffee grounds on the sheet.
- Leave them to dry. You’ll need to be patient because you want the grounds to completely dry before using.
- Sprinkle around the base of plants. This fertilizer recipe works for acid loving plants.
But, avoid overdoing it since adding too much will cause the soil to be too acidic.
This DIY coffee grounds fertilizer recipe works since coffee grounds are naturally acidic which makes it perfect for plants that need more acidity in the soil.
The coffee grounds also contain magnesium, nitrogen and potassium all of which are plant nutrients.
Fertilizer from Grass Clippings
Here’s a fertilizer made from grass clippings. This lets you take advantage of the fertilizer (and nutrients) you’ve used to grow the grass in your lawn or garden. And, to reuse them in a way to help fertilize your new plants.
Here’s how to do it.
- Start by collecting grass clippings.
- Fill a 5 gallon bucket about 2/3 of the way with grass clippings. You can scale it down if you have less as long as you keep the ratios in tact.
- Add water to fill the bucket
- Let the mixture sit for 3 days stirring every so often.
- Strain the liquid out
- Then add water to dilute the mix by 50%
- Use this solution as a spray.
Fish Tank Water Fertilizer
If you happen to own a fish tank, you know how much maintenance is involved. Additionally, each time you change the water, you’ll replace a lot of liquid in the process.
Instead of throwing away the used fish tank water, save it to make this fish tank water fertilizer instead.
You can use this in place of other fertilizer because the water is filled with nutrients including nitrogen.
Here’s how to use it.
- Collect the used fish tank water into a pail, bucket or right into a watering can.
- Use it to water the plants
Banana Peel Fertilizer
If you enjoy eating bananas which my kids can’t seem to get enough of, putting the banana peels to good use helps save a few bucks each month.
One way you can use banana peels is to create a fertilizer with it.
Bananas are rich sources of vitamins and minerals. It is high in potassium, phosphorus and calcium, all of which are important ingredients in plan growth.
This lets you take advantage of the peel which would otherwise end up in the trash.
- The best way to use banana peels is to plant them into the ground beside the plant. As the peels decompose, they will enrich the soil.
- You can likewise create a spray. But, this will not make full use of the nutrients in the peels as you only get those that leeched out into the mixture.
Gelatin is another alternative to fertilizer. Although, I don’t like doing this because a pack of gelatin is something that’s new and consumable. Thus, it is not like the other ingredients on the list that are either scraps or to be thrown away.
In any case, if you’re looking to save money you can use this instead of fertilizer and see if it produces enough results to warrant its continued use.
- Start by dissolving a pack of plain gelatin in a cup of hot water.
- Then add 3 cups of cold water.
- Once is has mixed, and cooled down to room temperature, you can pour it over soil. Avoid too hot or too cold water on soil.
- You can use this fertilizer once a month.
Grow Your Garden
So there you have it, 11 different cheap and easy DIY garden fertilizer recipes you can make at home to save money and help your plants grow.
Each of them has specific uses. As such, keep a copy of this article so you can use the appropriate recipe when the opportunity arises.