I don’t mind buying the occasional organic fertilizer to improve the health of my garden.
But I’m also a big fan of making a homemade fertilizer for plants.
I like to use materials I already have, in order to save money and garden more sustainably.
There are a bunch of possibilities, but today I want to keep it simple with 2 homemade fertilizers everyone can “make”...
Yes, for real! Urine is an excellent homemade fertilizer for plants and soil.
It’s amazing how many nutrients we flush down the toilet every day.
And while we all know that poop, aka manure, can have soil-building benefits, an average pee contains something like 11g nitrogen, 1g phosphorus and 2.5g potassium, give or take of course.
Click for video transcription
Phil:Hey guys it’s Phil from smilinggardener.com. If you haven’t checked out my free online organic gardening course, you can do that right on the homepage of smilinggardener.com.
Today I am talking about homemade fertilizer, now I don’t mind buying the occasional fertilizer for my garden if I know it’s gonna really help and prove garden health but I also really like to use fertilizers that I can make or scrounge from around my property because it’s a lot more sustainable and it’s free and so today I am, what I am gonna be doing is sharing just two, there are many different things you can use but what I want to do is focus on two that pretty much everyone can use in their garden.
The first one is urine and I know it sounds kind of crazy but this is a really important one, so here is some of my urine which I know is really gross for a lot of people but I want to make an important point here, by the way molasses is also really good in the garden, but today I am talking about urine. Urine is nontoxic, and actually urine is not really all that yellow, may because of the sun yellow today but if you are drinking enough liquids urine becomes much more clear but I really want to get across is that if you are reasonably healthy person, urine is not toxic and I am gonna show you that by pouring some on my hands which probably gross some people out and I apologize for that but what I want to show you, you can drink urine if you have to, not something I am really interested in doing but urine is not toxic, it’s not a place where all of your toxins go in your body.
Urine is such wonderful stuff, I have read that it basically has on an average I am sure varies a lot but somewhere around 11 g of nitrogen, 1 g of phosphorus, 2.5 g or potassium and I am sure has other nutrients that your body didn’t use as well especially if you take supplements and multivitamins, you may have heard someone say you are just peeing all of that money into the toilet, that’s not entirely true, you get some of it but you do pee some of it, so that’s gonna be in here too.
So, it’s a very nutritious thing, of course it’s a little easier for guys to sprinkle a little bit of urine around in the garden here or there or maybe talked away in a private spot. One reason why it’s really nice to put a compost pile maybe in a corner somewhere and you can go and pee in there because it’s really great to do in the compost pile but otherwise what you can do is, I mean you can pee right in the garden too, otherwise you can pee in something like this and then you can go and use that to water your plant.
Now if you are watering your plants directly, you want to mix it with 20 parts of water, so yeah 20 times as much water as urine but otherwise you can go pee right in your soil and on your mulch around your plants without too much trouble. The best thing to do would be to flush your toilet out into your compost pile or into a wet land you have created to handle all of that and to recycle all of that. One of the main problems there is that many bylaws don’t allow for that but if you live in a place where you do it’s a great way to just recycle all of that stuff and bring that nutrition into your garden instead of sending it into the sewer system.
I did some math once and I am not sure how accurate it was but I figure that if you just peed or applied urine to 10 square feet of garden twice a year, you are applying a lot of the nitrogen needs of the garden. I am not sure exactly how accurate that is but I figure I mean if I pee on each of these trees one a month that’s plenty of nitrogen for those trees. So that’s urine, it’s not gross, it’s totally awesome, so start peeing in your garden.
The next thing on my list that pretty much, anyone can do as long as long as you have some grass clippings and some weeds around, it’s great something called a herbal tea and what you do is you take all these herbaceous plants and put them in a bucket with water and ferment them for a few days to a couple of weeks. Any kind of weeds and grass clippings will do, it’s specially nice if you have some nutrient accumulating weeds such as dandelions are pretty good, comfrey, yarrow, stinging nettle. I don’t have most of those though so I just use whatever I have.
I do have a couple of legumes, vetch, and clover, which I also like to include but I have, something I have most is just this garlic mustered which I don’t think is the most nutritious weed but of course it has nutrition in it. I have grass clippings, they have nutrition in it. so all of those can go in there and what this does is it gets the nutrients off the weeds. It also gets the beneficial microorganisms off the weeds. We put in here, we ferment them and so it becomes this kind of fermentation like you to ferment yogurt or beer or something like that and it becomes this kind of nice tea, we can apply to our plants.
Now it’s entirely optional but if you happen to have any kind of microbial inoculants like EM which is what I use often and bio-stimulants like rock dust, some kelp, sea minerals, any of that stuff I often talk about, you can put them in there and you don’t have to because I am trying to make this a homemade video, you don’t need that stuff, but it just makes them even better tea, dandelions and some oats, some garlic mustered, a bit of vetch and clover, a bit of grass clippings, water, water, now that is full of water I need to cover it because this is more of a fermentation that I want to do without air. I don’t have a lid but this is actually kind of cool because if I put it in here I can push down, it will spill some of the water but I am making sure there is really no air in there now and I am just going to let this ferment for a couple of weeks.
It might smell a little bit but if I keep it covered it should be okay. If you have a lot of weeds, you can do this in a much bigger bucket too and then when are done after a couple of weeks, you can just water your plants to give them a nice amount of broad spectrum nutrition and some beneficial fermenting microorganisms. So those are two of my favorite simple, everyone can make a homemade fertilizers. If you have any questions about homemade fertilizers you can ask them down below, if you haven’t signed up for my free online organic gardening course, you can do that down below and you can also join me and my sister over on Facebook at facebook.com/smilinggardener.
So it’s a great homemade nitrogen fertilizer, but it also has the P and the K and no doubt some trace minerals, too.
If you’re healthy, there’s nothing toxic about it, though the smell may keep deer and other animals away.
Of course it’s easier for guys to sprinkle the garden directly than for women.
Cultural norms may be shifting but it’s probably still considered a bit odd to whip down your britches and squat right in your backyard, at least in the suburbs.
That’s why it’s nice if you have a compost pile in a hidden spot, because that’s the best place to do your business.
Or you can pee in the garden, too, which I often do. Just make sure you don’t pee right on your plants – ever notice how certain shrubs or patches of grass in dog parks turn yellow and die? It’s not a great homemade lawn fertilizer, that’s for sure - unless you dilute it first.
You can pee in a bottle or bucket, dilute it 20:1 with water, and then feed the plants or your lawn directly.
Here’s another homemade fertilizer for plants that everyone can do as long as you have some weeds or cover crops or even grass clippings.
Take any combination of herbaceous plants, put them in a container, fill with water, and cover with a fairly air-tight lid.
Leave it for a few days to a couple of weeks, and you have a herbal tea.
The resulting brew will contain many nutrients and beneficial microbes from the plants.
You can add inoculants such as EM and biostimulants such as rock dust or sea minerals to sweeten the deal, but that’s not necessary if you don’t have them.
This will be most effective with plants that are nutrient accumulators, like comfrey, yarrow, or stinging nettle, but all plants contain nutrients.
And some plants such as horsetail or chamomile have specific properties that repel pests or fight pathogens, so they’re nice if you happen to have them.
But I often just use clover and weeds and some grass clippings for this homemade garden fertilizer. Nice to keep it simple.
Any question about this? Any homemade fertilizer recipes of your own you’d like to add? Let me know below.