top of page

Step-by-Step Guide to Making Organic Fertilizers at Home

Updated: 2 days ago

Gardening is one of the most rewarding and therapeutic activities that one can engage in. And one of the essential parts of gardening is fertilizing the plants.

Fertilizers provide essential nutrients to plants, making them grow faster, healthier, and yield more.

However, most conventional fertilizers contain chemicals that can harm the environment and our health. So, what's a better option? Organic fertilizers!

Organic fertilizers are made from natural materials that are environment-friendly, sustainable, and provide essential nutrients to plants.

They are easy to make, cost-effective, and have numerous other benefits that conventional fertilizers lack. In this blog post, we'll take you through a step-by-step guide to making organic fertilizers at home.

Benefits of organic fertilizers

Organic fertilizers offer many benefits for the plants, the soil, and the environment. One of the most significant advantages is their ability to improve soil health. Unlike chemical fertilizers that can deplete soil nutrients and lead to salt buildup, making it harder for plants to absorb water, organic fertilizers add organic matter to the soil. This enhances its structure, enabling it to retain moisture more efficiently and provide better aeration for plant roots. The presence of organic matter in the soil also encourages the proliferation of beneficial microorganisms. These microbes are crucial in breaking down organic materials into essential nutrients that plants can easily absorb.

  • Improved Soil Structure: Enhances moisture retention and improves plant roots' aeration.

  • Beneficial Microorganisms: Organic matter encourages the growth of beneficial microbes that break down materials into essential nutrients.

  • Disease Resistance: Healthy soil leads to more robust, more resilient plants that can resist pests and diseases naturally, reducing the need for pesticides.

  • Increased Crop Yields: Organic fertilizers boost productivity over time by maintaining soil and plant health, leading to higher yields and improved crop quality.

In essence, converting to organic fertilizers benefits your garden or farm today and contributes positively towards sustainable agriculture practices that will ensure fertile soils and abundant harvests for future generations.

Step 1: Gather your materials

Before getting started, ensure you have all the materials you need to make your organic fertilizer.

Some common materials required include compost, bone meal, chicken manure, worm castings, kelp meal, seaweed, banana skins, and fish emulsion.

You can gather these materials from your local nursery or gardening store.

Step 2: Choose your recipe

There are numerous recipes for making organic fertilizers, each tailored to cater to the specific needs of different plants.

Consider the specific plants you want to fertilize and select a suitable recipe. For instance, if you're growing fruits and vegetables, opt for a fertilizer high in phosphorus and potassium, while if you're working with flowers, look for fertilizers high in nitrogen.

Step 3: Mix the ingredients

Once you've chosen your recipe, it's time to mix the ingredients. Mix them in a large container and ensure that everything is well blended.

After mixing, moisten the fertilizer and let it sit for a few days to allow the ingredients to decompose.

During this time, stir the mixture regularly to ensure that everything is evenly decomposing.

Step 4: Apply the fertilizer

After a few days, the organic fertilizer will be ready to be applied.

It would be best to dilute the mixture before using it on your plants. Diluting will prevent the fertilizer from burning your plants and ensure that it's easier for them to absorb. To what extent should you dilute it? It depends on the type of plant you're using it on.

For indoor plants, dilute the fertilizer with one part water and one part fertilizer. For outdoor plants, dilute it even further with two parts water and one part fertilizer.

Apply the diluted organic fertilizer directly to the soil around your plants. Make sure to cover a wide area around the base of each plant.

Then, gently work it into the soil using a rake or garden fork. This will ensure that the nutrients reach deep into the root system of your plants.

Step 5: Monitor and adjust

It's essential to monitor how your plants respond to the organic fertilizer. If you notice any signs of burning or over-fertilization (such as yellowing leaves), stop using the fertilizer and flush out the soil with water.

If your plants seem to thrive, continue using the organic fertilizer regularly. However, remember that plants have different nutritional needs depending on their growth stage, so adjusting the frequency and amount of fertilizer is essential.

Also, remember to regularly test your soil's pH levels and adjust as needed. Organic fertilizers can sometimes change the pH of your soil, so it's essential to keep a close eye on it.

In addition, if you notice any nutrient deficiencies in your plants (such as yellowing or stunted growth), you may need to supplement with additional organic fertilizers that contain specific nutrients like nitrogen or potassium.

Proper storage of organic fertilizers is crucial to maintaining their effectiveness and longevity. To ensure that your fertilizers remain potent, always store them in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Moisture can be particularly detrimental as it may cause the fertilizer to clump or mold, diminishing its quality. If possible, keep the fertilizer in its original packaging to protect it from air and moisture; otherwise, an airtight container is a suitable alternative.

Keeping organic fertilizers away from pets and children is also essential since some ingredients might be harmful if ingested.

Storing your homemade fertilizers:

Proper storage is just as necessary if you've made your organic fertilizer. To maintain its effectiveness, store the fertilizer in an airtight container or sealable bags to prevent exposure to air and moisture. Label the container with the date of creation and ingredients used for easy identification, if possible.

Keeping homemade fertilizers in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight is also recommended. Avoid storing them near heat sources or flames, as they can cause combustion.

Tips for maintaining stored fertilizers:

To ensure that your stored fertilizers remain effective, monitoring their quality regularly is essential. Here are some tips to help you maintain the potency of your fertilizers:

1. Check for any signs of clumping or mold - If you notice any signs of clumping or mold growth, your fertilizer has been exposed to moisture. Discard the affected portion and use the rest.

2. Keep a record of storage dates - Keeping track of when you created and stored your fertilizers will help determine their shelf life. Generally, homemade fertilizers can last up to six months if stored correctly.

3. Use airtight containers - As mentioned earlier, using airtight containers is crucial in preventing exposure to air and moisture. This will prolong the potency of your fertilizers and prevent them from spoiling quickly.

4. Try not to mix different types of fertilizers - Mixing different fertilizers may result in chemical reactions that could reduce their effectiveness or even cause harm to your plants. Stick to using one kind of fertilizer at a time, and if you need to switch, remove the previous one from the soil before adding a new one.

Troubleshooting common problems with homemade fertilizers:

1. Plants wilting or turning yellow - This could be a sign of overfertilization, which can burn the roots of your plants and cause damage. If you notice this happening, immediately stop using the fertilizer and flush out the soil with water to dilute it.

2. Slow growth or lack of blooms - If your plants are not growing as expected or producing flowers, it may be due to a lack of essential nutrients in the soil. Check your homemade fertilizer's ingredients and make sure it contains all the necessary elements like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.

3. Strong odor from fertilizer - Homemade fertilizers can sometimes smell strongly due to decomposing organic materials. While some odors are typical, if the smell becomes overpowering or unpleasant, it could be a sign of decomposition gone wrong. Make sure to mix and aerate your fertilizer to prevent this issue properly.

4. Pests or insects - Homemade fertilizers made from organic materials can attract pests and insects if not correctly managed. Look for any signs of infestation and take necessary measures, such as using natural pest repellents or adjusting the ratio of ingredients in your fertilizer mix.

5. Uneven growth or discoloration - If you notice uneven growth or discoloration on your plants, it may indicate nutrient deficiency in certain soil areas. Test the pH levels of your soil and adjust accordingly by adding more alkaline or acidic ingredients to your homemade fertilizer.

6. Burning of plant roots - Using certain ingredients in homemade fertilizer can burn plant roots, causing damage and stunted growth. Avoid using excess acidic ingredients like vinegar or citrus peels, and always dilute your fertilizer with water before applying it to your plants.

7. Harmful chemical reactions - Mixing incompatible ingredients in your homemade fertilizer can result in harmful chemical reactions that can damage your plants and soil. Research the compatibility of different materials before adding them to your mix, and follow proper ratios for a balanced and safe fertilizer solution.

Remember, making fertilizer may require trial and error before finding the perfect balance for your plants and soil conditions. Please keep track of any changes you make to your recipe and observe how it works.

If you found this helpful, consider subscribing for more information and resources!