How to Make Your Own Fertilizer: 7 Easy DIY Recipes

Natural fertilizer

Looking to boost your plants and give them the nutrients they need to grow big and strong? Fertilizer gives plants those extra nutrients and makes them happy and healthy, but store-bought organic fertilizers can be expensive and cheaper ones might have ingredients that you don’t want to use on your plants (especially if you plan on eating those plants). Thankfully making homemade fertilizer is easy and you probably have most of the items on hand. Coffee grounds, grass clippings, banana peels, and even fish tank water can be used to make DIY plant fertilizers for your garden soil. This article will cover everything you need to know about making your own fertilizer. 



Ready to find out how easy it is to make your own plant fertilizer and create a more zero-waste kitchen? Let's get you on the road to making your own organic fertilizer and getting your plants to their full potential!


Can you make your own fertilizer?

A person holding natural fertilizer

Absolutely! You can easily make fertilizer at home. There are many different homemade fertilizers you can make with just a few items and a little bit of time. You do not need to rely on store-bought chemical fertilizers to feed your plants.

Making your own organic fertilizer is worth the effort! Here are a few key benefits to making your own natural fertilizer:

  • You can control what goes into your fertilizer
  • It’s cheaper than buying store-bought
  • Homemade compost is more eco-friendly

Now that you know the benefits of making your own fertilizer, let’s take a look at some of the important considerations before you make your own!


3 things to consider before making fertilizer

A person with a handful of soil

Making your own fertilizer can be a great way to enrich your garden soil and help your plants thrive. Organic soil amendments can greatly improve the quality of the soil you already have while making sure your plants are getting the nutrients they need. There are a few things to keep in mind when making your own DIY plant fertilizer. Here are a few things to consider:

  1. What your soil needs: Before adding any fertilizer to your soil, you should get a soil test. A soil test can tell you what nutrients your soil is composed of as well as your soil ph. This is important information to know so that you are able to tell what nutrients your soil needs. Once you know what your soil needs, you can choose what soil amendment to use. Is it lacking nitrogen? Is the soil too acidic? This will help you determine what type of homemade fertilizer you need for your garden soil.
  1. What your plants need: It’s not only important to take into consideration what your soil needs, but also what your plants need. Certain plants needed higher concentrations of different nutrients. Plants like leafy greens love nitrogen to help their leaves become greener. Roses and tomatoes love acidic soil. Take this into consideration when choosing which fertilizer to make. You also might want to consider how these fertilizers might help with pests around your garden.
  1. How you want to apply your homemade fertilizer: There are a few different ways you can apply your DIY plant fertilizer. Do you want to add it to your soil before you plant your vegetable garden? Do you want to dig a hole and put it in the ground next to your plants? Or perhaps you want to make some sort of spray to feed your plants.

 


 

How to make fertilizer at home: 7 easy fertilizer recipes

Now that you understand how fertilizer can be beneficial to your garden, let's look at a few different homemade fertilizer recipes that you can easily make to help feed your plants. You'll be amazed what these simple alternative fertilizers can do for your plant growth. Now onto the recipes!


1. Weed fertilizer

person holding pulled weeds

What you need: weeds from your yard/garden, a container (5-gallon bucket)

How to make weed fertilizer: 

  • Collect your weeds and place them in your container
  • Fill your container with water
  • Let the weeds steep for a few weeks
  • Strain your water and use this to water your plants

Great for: Weed fertilizer or weed tea if full of nutrients like phosphorus, potassium, nitrogen, magnesium, copper, and boron. All plants can benefit from these nutrients, but you should avoid using it close to harvest time.


2. Fish tank water

man cleaning a fish tank

What you need: fish tank water

How to make fish tank water fertilizer: 

  • Collect your water from the fish tank when you clean it 
  • Use this water to water your plants as you normally would

Great for: This liquid fertilizer is great for all plants but especially good for lettuce, spinach, and other salad greens due to the high nitrogen content. Nitrogen promotes healthy green growth in plants so your leafy greens will love it!


3. Lomi

lomi composter sitting on counter with food scraps

What you need: Lomi composter, Lomi pod, 50ml water

How to make Lomi fertilizer: 

  • Fill the Lomi bucket with your food scraps, coffee grounds, etc.
  • Add Lomi pod
  • Add in 50ml of water
  • Select the Grow mode cycle
  • Wait a few hours and then you have nutrient-rich dirt
  • Combine in a 1:10 ratio with garden soil

Great for: The dirt made from Lomi is rich in sodium, nitrogen, and phosphorus. This makes it a great option to use as plant food for your houseplants and outdoor plants and is quick and easy to make! The best part is that you choose what goes into your Lomi which can determine the nutrients you are adding to your fertilizer. How cool is that?

 

Lomi by Pela

Lomi

★★★★★

Lomi allows you to turn food waste into plant-ready nutrients in under 24 hours. Boost your plants while reducing your waste.


 

4. Homemade compost

compost pile with alternating brown and green materials

What you need: outdoor space or compost bin of choice, brown and green materials, shovel or pitchfork to turn your pile, water

How to make compost fertilizer: 

  • Set up your area for your compost bin or pile
  • Add a layer of brown materials like cardboard or dry leaves to your bin/pile
  • Begin layering green materials like grass clippings, coffee grounds, or other food scraps , followed by more browns onto your compost pile 
  • Every few weeks, turn your pile with a shovel or pitchfork
  • After 2-12 months you should have your very own compost to use as a fertilizer for your plants

Great for: Homemade compost is packed with nutrients and is an excellent addition to any plant's soil! If you want more information on how to make your own compost, we have a great guide on how to do it!


 


 

5. Compost tea

chopped banana peels in glass of water

What you need: vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, and other organic kitchen waste, glass jar, water, seaweed (fresh or dry)

How to make compost tea fertilizer: 

  • Add your coffee grounds, veggie scraps & other organic kitchen waste to your glass jar
  • Add water for a 1:10 ratio of compost to water
  • Mix in some fresh or dried seaweed for an additional nutritional bonus
  • Seal your jar and shake the mixture once a day
  • Filter out the solids after a week
  • Dilute the remaining liquid with clean water using the 1:10 ratio
  • Spray onto damp soil in the morning or evening

Great for: Compost tea contains a ton of nutrients and beneficial bacteria making it a perfect homemade plant fertilizer. Sweet corn and red leaf lettuce love compost tea!


6. Ash fertilizer

bucket of ashes from fire

What you need: wood or coal ashes from your stove, furnace, or fireplace, a rake or shovel

How to make ash fertilizer: 

  • Apply a two-inch layer of ash to the top of your garden bed
  • Work the ash into the soil using your shovel or rake
  • Plant your garden as you normally would

Great for: Ash has a high amount of potassium and calcium carbonate that can be beneficial to your plants and can be a good replacement for garden lime for your acid-loving plants like sweet corn, cucumbers, blueberries, azaleas, and hydrangeas


7. Epsom salt spray

tipped bowl of epsom salt

What you need: Epsom salts (unscented), water, a spray bottle

How to make Epsom salt fertilizer: 

  • Mix 1 tablespoon of Epsom salts into a half gallon of water in your spray bottle
  • After you put the lid on your bottle, shake the liquid to dissolve the salt
  • Spray on your indoor and outdoor plants

Great for: Epsom salts are a great way to introduce magnesium to your plants. Magnesium can be helpful if you notice your plant’s leaves are starting to turn pale yellow. Plants like tomatoes, roses, and peppers will all love a spritz of Epsom salt spray.



Use your kitchen scraps as fertilizer

Eggshells crushed and added as fertilizer

Kitchen scraps don’t have to be thrown away or sent to landfills. You can use them in your garden to create nutrient rich soil to help your plants thrive and reduce your food waste at the same time. Here is a list of a few kitchen items you can use to feed your plants, the nutrients they contain, and what plants they make great fertilizer for:


Kitchen Item

Nutrients

Great for

1. Banana peels

Potassium

Tomatoes, potatoes, fruit trees, and rose bushes

2. Coffee grounds

Nitrogen

Blueberries, potatoes, cucumbers, roses, azaleas, and African violets

3. Eggshells

Calcium Carbonate

Lilac, forsythia, broccoli, and brussel sprouts

4. Tea leaves/bags

Nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus

Azalea bushes, ferns, hydrangea plants, and other acid loving plants

5. Citrus peels

Nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium

Acid loving plants like sweet corn, cucumbers, blueberries, azaleas, and hydrangeas

6. Vegetable cooking water

Potassium, nitrogen, calcium, magnesium, and more depending on what you boiled/steamed

All plants

7. Tea leaves/bags

Nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus

Azalea bushes, ferns, hydrangea plants, and other acid loving plants

8. Rice water

Nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus

Spinach, bok choy, lettuce, tomato, eggplant

9. Leftover bones (no meat or fat)

Phosphorus, nitrogen, calcium

Onion, potato, carrot, turnip and other bulb, root, and tuber plants, roses

10. Milk

Calcium

Melons, apples, broccoli, cabbage, celery

11. Pasta water (no oil or salt)

Calcium, phosphorus, iron, zinc, potassium

All plants

12. Fish Heads

Nitrogen

Blueberries, potatoes, cucumbers, roses, azaleas, and African violets



There are so many different ways that you can add nutrients to your plants. It's important to think about what your soil and plants need to grow. Many of these recipes take time and a list of ingredients. Why not simplify your fertilizer recipe by using a Lomi composter to make your own fertilizer in a fraction of the time. Users are loving the nutrient rich dirt that Lomi produces and so are there plants! If you want to start making your own compost that you can control the nutrient density of and you want to do it fast and easy, check out a Lomi. Happy gardening!


Written by: Sarah Kendal