Homemade Organic Fertilizer
is One of the Best Fertilizers
Whether for a garden, lawn or landscaping, you can create a homemade organic fertilizer that provides your plants with everything they need to thrive and grow,
including valuable trace minerals,
while building up the soil.
First lets talk about calcium, since it is the "king of crop nutrients".
When calcium is flowing
in your soil, everything is flowing. However, it is important to choose the right Calcium to add to your homemade organic fertilizer.
Low pH Soils
If your soil pH is below 6.5, it is low (as it is in much of the Southeast USA), then you need calcium carbonate. Good sources of calcium carbonate are egg shells (dry them, then pulverize in a blender), oyster shell powder, or limestone (also known as “lime”). Other fertilizers can also
influence the pH of your soil.
If the magnesium in your soil is too high, as is common in the South, you can purchase High Cal Lime from your lawn and garden store. This will help to loosen up your soil. Too much magnesium causes soil to become rock hard.
High pH Soils
If your soil pH is high (as found in the Midwest), use calcium sulfate, also known as Gypsum. Calcium Carbonate and Calcium Sulfate are both natural products.
is the best way to make your own homemade organic fertilizer. When you do it right, it is rich in nutrients, organic matter and beneficial micro-organisms.
50% Nitrogen Items
Half of the ingredients in your compost pile should be nitrogen rich items, such as grass, weeds and garden leftovers that are still green, plus food scraps,
fruit and vegetable peels, and manure from animals that eat vegetation, like cows, horses, goats, sheep, rabbits, chickens and turkeys. Don't go too heavy on the nitrogen items, or your compost pile may get too hot. Do not use manure from meat eaters like dogs and cats.
50% Carbon Items
The other half of the ingredients in your compost pile should be carbon rich items, such as dried leaves and grass, wood chips, straw, and paper(including shreaded newspaper). Use a mulching blade on your mower to cut leaves into small pieces to help them break down better.
If you use too many carbon items in your compost pile, it may not have enough nitrogen to raise the pile to the desired 150 degrees Fahrenheit. At 150 degrees, even weed seeds will be composted.
Size of Your Compost Pile
Ideally, your compost pile should be 3 to 4 feet high. If you have less nitrogen items, pile your compost to 4 feet. This should be large enough to allow the temperatures in the center to climb to 150 degrees.
or something similar can be used to stack up your compost in.
Add in Your Calcium
Mix your nitrogen and carbon sources together well. Add calcium to the mix of your homemade organic fertilizer to meet the calcium requirements of your garden or lawn. Calcium also helps to guard your compost pile against nitrogen loss. Blend 1 pound of Calcium with each wheel barrow load of compost.
The Value of Leaves
Do not overlook the value of leaves to your compost pile. Many people want to burn their leaves. However, leaves are a great source of nutrients. In the fall, mulch up your leaves with a lawnmower and add them to your compost pile. Perhaps your neighbors have some leaves they would be more than willing to give to you for your homemade organic fertilizer. Because leaves are acidic, you will need to balance them out with calcium, to maintain a good pH in your compost.
How about catching your grass clippings and adding them to the pile? Even though grass is an excellent source of nitrogen and nutrients, it is probably advisable to use a mulching blade and
return your grass back to the lawn.
It needs the nutrients, too.
It is usually much easier to find carbon items to use in your homemade organic fertilizer than nitrogen items. Animal manure can help to balance this out. A cow farm, chicken farm, turkey farm or horse ranch might be more than willing to give you some. Try to find manure that has been sitting around aging for at least a year.
Other Sources of N
If you can’t find enough nitrogen sources for your homemade organic fertilizer needs, you can
purchase feather mill,
and either add it to your compost pile or sprinkle it directly on your garden or lawn. Other organic sources of nitrogen are
cotton seed mill, alfalfa meal and blood meal.
Moisture, Turning Your Compost
Keep your compost pile moist, but not wet. You don’t want to drown out the microbes that are doing the work. You should turn it occasionally to let air in. The more you turn it, the quicker the items will compost. Ideally, you will be able to turn your pile at least once a week to maximize the air flow. When it is warm out, it usually takes one to three months of decomposition till your homemade organic fertilizer is ready to use, depending on how often it is turned.
Once your pile is fully composted, it will look like black dirt and have an earthy smell. You can use a quarter inch or half inch screen to screen out larger debris that needs to go back into the compost pile.
Applying your Compost
For lawns, just spread the finished homemade organic fertilizer across your lawn and water to bring it into contact with the soil. For gardens, mix your compost into the soil, or you can
put it on top of the soil around your plants to choke out weeds, and earthworms will carry it down. Click here for detailed instructions for making compost.
The following items can be toxic to pets and should not be added to your compost:: Coffee, moldy food, coffee grounds, avocado, macadamia nuts, grapes, raisins, yeast dough, onions, garlic, and chives.
Enhancing Your Compost
Humic acids contain nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, plus an array of micronutrients. Humic acids can do wonders for the soil. Add a cup of
to each wheel barrow full of compost and mix it in, or you can add it directly to the soil at a rate of 6 ounces per 1,000 sq. ft.
This will stimulate bacterial activity, causing your pile to compost quickly. When you apply your compost to your soil, the Humic Acids in your compost will help in rejuvenating the soil, as well as break down toxic chemicals, such as those contained in chemical fertilizers, weed killers, etc., making your soil more friendly for earthworms! Humic Acids are completely natural.
Concentrated Sea Minerals
Concentrated sea minerals contain potassium, chloride, magnesium, sulfur and sodium, plus are an incredible source of trace minerals for your homemade organic fertilizer. Because of 70 plus years of the use of chemical fertilizers in our nation, trace minerals are woefully lacking in our soils, resulting in greater disease and insect problems. By adding just one teaspoon of
concentrated sea minerals
diluted in a quart of water to each wheel barrow full of compost materials, you can help to restore the trace minerals to your lawn and garden.
Another great homemade organic fertilizer input for the garden is to plant a cover crop. When this is mowed or tilled in, it is called Green Manure. As soon as the last crops are harvested, plant a legume, such as
Legumes actually capture nitrogen from the air and return it to the soil. Planting a cover crop is one of the easiest and least expensive ways I know to increase organic matter AND nitrogen in the soil.
Your own homemade organic fertilizer can help you in growing a
healthy vegetable garden
supplies excellent nutrition
to help you and your family live healthy lives. Happy gardening!
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