We have previously talked about gardening in small spaces and composting at home. I´m sure many of you have set up a flowerpot on the kitchen windowsill or maybe even a bucket on the balcony and you can see your plants growing every day. Most plants will grow with sufficient water and sunlight, but they need a little bit more to really thrive.
Today we‘ll talk about fertilizer and share some quick tips about making your own.
Even though true composting might feel too intimidating for you, there are plenty of simple ways you can use to give your plant babies a boost.
Which nutrients are most necessary for the plants?
The macronutrients: nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, sulfur, magnesium, carbon, oxygen, hydrogen
The micronutrients: iron, boron, chlorine, manganese, zinc, copper, molybdenum, nickel
Most potting soils contain some kind of fertilizer to begin with and your plants will grow well for the first couple of weeks, but as they grow bigger, they need more nutrients. Fertilizers are especially important for plants growing in small containers and therefore small volumes of soil.
How can you help?
There is no need to run to the shop and buy a bottle of artificial fertilizer. Why don’t you try one of the following DIY ideas?
Banana peel fertilizer:
Cut up banana peel submerged in water for a couple of days releases large amounts of potassium. Banana peels also contain calcium which helps with nitrogen absorption.SImply fill a glass jar with water and some banana peel and leave it in the fridge for a couple of days. Resulting liquid should be diluted 1:5 with water and used to water your plants.
Hair and pet fur:
Thats right, human hair or fur from your pets can be used as a fertilizer too. Hair contains nitrogen which is slowly released to the soil, but on top of that, it offers structural support for roots and helps the soil retain moisture. Next time after you brush your hair, consider burying the loose strands around your plants.
For those of you who are lucky enough to share a home with aquarium fish, you have an amazing ready made fertilizer in front of you. Next time you clean the aquarium and replace part of the water, make sure to save the old water for your flowers.
Used coffee grounds are full of nutrients as well and many acid soil loving plants will thank you for the boost they get after your morning cup of coffee. Make sure the coffee grounds are cooled down, before adding them to the soil.
There are many commercially available fertilizers, but they often come with a high price and plastic packaging, as well as a list of artificial ingredients. Try to look around your house before buying a fertilizer. Taking care of your plants does not have to be expensive and complicated. Little bit of attention and fertilizer goes a long way.
Remember that fertilizer does not have to be used every time you water the plant, aim to use it once per week or every two weeks, depending on the method you choose, and try to switch it up to ensure the plants are getting all they need. The soil will eventually need to be changed and plants to be repotted. A good rule of (green) thumb is to change soil every time your plant baby needs bigger container. Make sure the roots have adequate space and the flower pot you´re using is not too small. No amount of fertilizer will fix the fact that the plant outgrew its home. Plants need space as well as love to grow and stay healthy.
Stay green and eat bananas!