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The Most Unique Items You Can Use As A Plant Fertilizer

Fertilizer can be an expensive part of gardening especially if you do not have access to compost or manure.  But there are some household ingredients that can be turned into fertilizer with ease

Cooking Water

Many different nutrients are released into the water that food is cooked in.  Water that is used to boil potatoes, vegetables, eggs, and even pasta can be used as a fertilizer.  Just remember to let the water cool before applying.


Eggshells are a good source of calcium but to be effective the shells must be dried and crushed.  This must be done so that the calcium is made available for the plant.  Another approach is to add eggshells to your watering can.  Let the water sit for a while before watering your plants.  This will give the calcium time to leach into the water.

Powdered Milk

Powdered milk is not only good for human consumption but also for plants.  This source of calcium needs to be mixed in the soil prior to planting.  Since the milk is in powder form it is already for the plant’s use.


Hair is a good source of nitrogen and does double duty as a deer repellant.  A good source for this hair is not only your hairbrush but also the local barbershop or beauty salon.  Many of these establishments will save hair for your garden.  But do not limit yourself to only human hair.  Dog, horse, and cat hair work just as well.

Banana Peels or Old Bananas

Bananas are not only tasty and healthy for humans but also benefit many different plants.  When planting roses, always bury a banana or just the peel in the hole along side the rose.  As the rose grows, bury bananas or just the peel into the top layer of soil.  Both these approaches will provide the much-needed potassium that plants need for proper growth.

Unique Sources of Magnesium

Several sources of magnesium can be found in the kitchen, bath, and barn.  Magnesium is a very important element that is involved in the process of photosynthesis.  While this element is only needed in small amounts, there does exist situations where a supplemental amount is needed.  Soils that are sandy are one situation that supplemental magnesium needs to be added.  Also, certain plants benefit from additional magnesium.  This includes tomatoes, peppers, and roses.


The old fashion strike matches are a great source of magnesium.  To use this as a fertilizer, simply place the whole match in the hole with the plant or soak the matches in water.  The magnesium will dissolve into the water and make application easier.

Epson Salt

Epson salt or magnesium sulfate has been used for years as a source of magnesium.  It is used as an all-purpose garden prep fertilizer and as a planting additive when placed in the hole prior to planting.  It can also be sprinkled on top of the soil, used as a side dressing or dissolved in the watering can during the growing season.

Blackstrap Molasses

Blackstrap molasses is an excellent source of many different types of nutrients that plants use.  This includes carbon, iron, sulfur, potash, calcium, manganese, potassium, copper and magnesium.  What makes this an excellent type of fertilizer is that it feeds beneficial bacteria, which keeps the garden and plants healthy.

To use blackstrap molasses as a fertilizer requires the gardener to mix it with another all-purpose fertilizer.  A good combination to use is one cup each of Epson salt and alfalfa meal.  Dissolve this combination in four gallons of water and top off with one tablespoon of blackstrap molasses.  Or simply mix blackstrap molasses in with compost tea.  Do this only after the compost tea has steeped.

Horse Feed

What makes horse feed irresistible to horses is also what makes it an excellent fertilizer.  This magic ingredient is molasses.  To use horse feed as a fertilizer is simple and easy.  First, it can just be sprinkled on top of the soil.  Second, it can be dissolved in water alone or combined with another organic fertilizer.

Corn Gluten Meal

Corn gluten meal is a byproduct of the corn wet-milling process.  It is used not only as an organic preemergent herbicide but also as a fertilizer that is 10 percent nitrogen.  To use as a fertilizer, simply create a band of corn gluten meal and mix into the top one-inch of soil. Plant inside the band for optimum nitrogen benefit and do not worry about killing your plants.  Corn gluten meal only works, as an herbicide before the seeds germinate not after and in doing so is useless as a post-emergent herbicide.

So next time you need a fertilizer check out the kitchen, bath, and barn for organic substitutes.


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Once in a while, it is nice to just step back, admire all your hard work, and the simple beauty of nature.

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