Free organic fertilizer? Does it seem too good to be true? Especially when you first start gardening, it’s easy to start questioning yourself as to the wisdom of this endeavor. There are so many things to buy, so many expenses. It seems ridiculous to spend so much money on growing food when it’s so much cheaper to buy. As far as fertilizing your garden organically, though, it doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, some of the best organic fertilizers are completely free.
Grass Clippings – One of the best organic fertilizers. Plus, it’s free and abundant during growing season. They not only break down and provide the soil with wonderful nutrients, but grass clippings also prevent weeds and preserve moisture. Don’t use grass that has been treated with herbicides, as it will kill your plants.
A 1 to 2 inch layer will give all of the nutrients most crops need for a full season of growth. Just layer it onto your garden like mulch.
Alternatively you can actually make a tea from grass clippings. (I did it once, it really really smells)
Egg shells: How many egg shells do you just throw away every week? Egg shells are so useful in the garden! Eggshells are 1% nitrogen, .5% calcium phosphoric acid and have other trace elements that make them a practical fertilizer. Even if you don’t produce an abundance of eggshells, you can still get them for free. At a breakfast restaurant near our house, I talked to the manager about saving me egg shells. I brought him a bucket, and 2 hours later it was filled to overflowing with beautiful shells. I rinsed them off, let them dry in the sun, then ran them through the food processor. Now I have a wonderful additive for my soil. These ground eggshells are particularly useful to sprinkle in the hole before you plant tomatoes.
You can also just topdress your garden with a sprinkling of the ground eggshells. Another great idea is to add them to whatever other liquid fertilizer your making because the minerals will leach into the liquid…then just pour it on.
Also, when just hand crushed they work pretty well for thwarting some garden pests like slugs and other soft bodied worm types. Imagine if you were a soft slimy creature and you were trying to crawl over sharp jagged egg shells. OUCH!
Urine: The urine that you flush away several times a day has elements your garden needs like nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus. Do these sound familiar? They’re the elements you’ll find in any fertilizer. In fact, urine even has almost the perfect ratio. You will need to dilute the urine so as not to burn your plants. I saw recommendations ranging from 1:8 to 1:12.
Urine doesn’t keep though, dilute and use it right away.
Home made compost: Making your own compost at home is of course one of the best ways to keep your garden healthy without spending money. I’ve talked a lot about compost in that section of this blog. Here in my garden I have a couple of compost piles, I also have a compost turner. I also have worm compost. I don’t pay for anything that goes into any of my compost. I did have an initial outlay for my worms and for my worm box.
Gardening does not have to be an expensive endeavor. There are so many opportunities to spend money, but most of it isn’t necessary. Use what you already have.
What about you? What do you use for free fertilizer?