Sure you can buy fertilizers and soil additives to help boost production, but did you know you can also take advantage of waste from Mother Nature and household scraps that you’d normally toss? These too can promote blooms and growth and they’re so simple to make!
Here are a few recipes to try, basically all you need is one or two items, a bucket, some water and a bit of time. Allow to brew outside and voila! You have your own secret garden food that your plants will thank you for ;).
Seaweed/Kelp: If you live near the ocean, lucky you! Collect dried seaweed from the beach (near cold-water only), rinse well to wash off salt then put in a barrel. Cover with water (to the top), cover with a lid and allow to brew for at least two months. To use: dilute with water to make a spray. Can help speed up flower and fruit production.
Boiled Vegetable Water: (always unsalted) After boiling vegetables, allow the water to cool then pour it on soil around your plants. The water is infused with goodies that the veggies have left behind.
Kitchen Scrap Infusion: Save vegetable peelings in a small bucket, cover with boiling water and allow to steep overnight (up to 2 days). In the morning, strain and use to water your plants. Use only plant based scraps and not meat or dairy.
Yard Refuse Infusion: Same idea as the kitchen scraps, this time using grass clippings (if pesticide-free), leaves, twigs, dead flower heads and anything else that you rake up or prune/deadhead. Store in a pail, cover with water and allow to steep for about a week or so (covered). When ready to use, strain out the bits (add them to your compost pile if you have one) and use the infused water in your garden. The downfall with this recipe is that it may contain seeds that the straining doesn’t catch.
*Tip: Feel free to combine both the kitchen scraps and yard refuse items into one big brew pail, it’s all good!
Manure Tea: This can be used as an all-purpose fertilizer and applied every 2 to 3 weeks. Add a shovelful of well-rotted manure to a 5-gallon pail, fill with water then leave it to sit overnight. Apply to soil only and don’t let it come in contact with leaves or stems. Mentioned previously on this page.
Compost Tea: Rich in nutrients, all you need is a pail full of water, a shovelful of compost and some time (from 3 to 7 days). You’ll find all the details on this page.
Boiled Eggs Water: After eggs have boiled, there will be traces of calcium left behind in the water. Wait till it’s cool before using. I come across this tip frequently in vintage household articles and is especially recommended for African Violets. It’s thought to help with bloom and plant growth (previously mentioned on this vintage tips page:Old-Time Tips For Garden Tenderfeet).