Gardening hacks: Cheap ways to make your own fertiliser – ‘plants will benefit from this’

David Domoney provides advice on popular houseplants

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Fertilisers are key to achieving plumptious plants and prize vegetables, but with the extra cost and concern about chemicals many gardeners don’t bother. However, many may not realise that it is easy to make homemade fertiliser using a low cost way. Gardening experts at The Spruce have shared several homemade fertiliser recipes for gardeners to put to the test.

These recipes are made from ingredients gardeners probably already have on hand, including some things they may be in the habit of throwing away. 

Read through the instructions carefully to determine if a particular fertiliser is right for your needs, for instance, some homemade fertilisers shouldn’t be used on acidic soil, while others shouldn’t be used on alkaline soil.

Epsom salt fertiliser

To make this fertiliser dissolve one tablespoon of Epsom salt in five litres of water. 

Shake the solution thoroughly and use it to water the plants. 

Water them with this solution once per month during the growing season.

It works because Epsom salt is made up of magnesium and sulfate – both vital plant nutrients. 

Some magnesium-loving plants to try it on include houseplants, roses, peppers, tomatoes, and potatoes. 

Use this fertiliser in place of rose plant food, vegetable fertiliser, or houseplant food.

Coffee fertiliser

Line a piece of greaseproof paper with newspaper and spread used coffee grounds out on the sheet, and allow them to dry completely. 

Once dried, sprinkle the grounds around the base of any acid-loving plants.

This works as coffee grounds are rich in nitrogen, magnesium, and potassium – all-important plant nutrients. 

The gardening experts said: “They’re also naturally acidic, so they can help you boost the acidity of the soil. 

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“Azaleas, roses, rhododendrons, and blueberries are just some of the plants that will benefit from this treatment.”

Gardeners can use this in place of rose plant food and soil acidifiers.

Use eggshells as fertiliser 

Save any eggs shells and allow them to air dry for a great fertiliser. 

Once dried, place the shells in a blender and pulse until they’re powdery-fine. 

Sprinkle the shell powder around the plants in the garden.

This works well because eggshells are made up almost entirely of calcium carbonate – the main ingredient in agricultural lime. 

White vinegar fertiliser 

White vinegar is surprisingly great to fertilise plants with and it’s so cheap.

To create this fertiliser, gardeners should combine one tablespoon of white vinegar and water and use the solution to water their plants. 

This can be repeated every three months.

White vinegar fertiliser works because the acetic acid in vinegar works to increase the acidity of the soil —just the thing for acid-loving plants. 

Gardeners can use this in place of their houseplant fertiliser, rose plant food, and soil acidifiers too.

Fish tank water fertiliser

For those who own fishes, they can save the water from their fish tank the next time they clean them and it doesn’t have to cost them a penny. 

It can be used generously and often to water any plants.

This works because used fish tank water is full of nitrogen and other nutrients that plants need to thrive. 

Fish tank water can be used in place of any other type of fertiliser.

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