Gardening is such a fun hobby, transforming your dead yard to a little piece of heaven full of lives will not only bring you pleasure but also a sense of well being. It is also a green action that may save the lives of many organisms in your yard.
However, gardening is also a work need efforts and thoughts to be successfully done. Sometimes you may fail in planting a kind of plant because of the soil condition. In that case, you need to rework the soil like loosing it or make it more fertile with fertilizers.
Here is the problem, when choosing fertilizers, you have to choose carefully. Because if not, instead of making lives grow on your yard, you will bring death to them. It is because most of commercially sold fertilizers are chemicals, and chemicals can be dangerous to many organisms.
Thus, instead of using potentially harmful chemicals to your garden, we suggest you to try some of these 7 alternatives. Not only safer for the environment, but these alternatives are as good fertilizers as the ones commercially sold. Here is the list.
1. Coffee Ground
Wait, the usual coffee? Yes, the coffee you drink every day is a good source of nutrition to plants. Coffee grounds contain sufficient amount of potassium, phosphorous, and nitrogen that most of the plants in your garden need.
In addition, coffee grounds also contain some amount of calcium, copper, and magnesium for your plants. You might never realize it but those all the nutrients you can get from the cup of coffee you consume every day.
Not only that, the application of coffee ground as fertilizer is also easy to do. Just sprinkle it on your garden and wait for the effect to take place. The ground coffee will blend with the soil and contributes its nutrients.
But isn’t it a waste of coffee? Well if you afraid of wasting your stock of coffee, you can also use the remains of your brewing. You can mix the remains with some water and pour it over the soil as liquid fertilizer.
And if you don’t want to ruin the water supply for your plant, dry it first and sprinkle it after. You can just dry it under the sun or use a microwave to make it back to its powder state. So, now you know that coffee is not only good for you, but also your plants, right?
2. Wood Ash
Scrapping your fireplace and getting unused wood ash pile? Simply just pour it on the soil of your garden. It can also work as a fertilizer for your plants and conditioner for your ground because it contains potassium, phosphorous, and traces of minerals that your plants need.
Best time to apply it to your ground is in the end of winter when your plants haven’t wake up from hibernating. Wait till the spring comes and see how much differences a scoop of wood as can make to your plants.
3. Egg Shells
The egg shells contain high amount of calcium carbonate, because it is almost completely made of it. Calcium carbonate is a nutrient most of the plants need to grow, and your everyday breakfast is secretly providing it.
Simply just wash the egg shells and let it dry before crushing it into powder. The egg shells powder can be applied just simply by pouring it on the base of the plants.
4. Handmade Compost
Your leftover can also be used as a source of nutrients for your plants. Any kinds of fruits, vegetables, grains, meats, or any kinds of foods can be used as a fertilizer. But first, you need to make it as a compost.
Compost is decomposed organic materials that turns into humus rich soil, and foods are organic materials. Food waste and leftover are good compost materials because it has high moisture content and low physical structure, making it easy to decompose.
Instead of throwing away the banana peel, the stem of broccoli, or the fish bones, just put it in a container and mix it with compost agent to make good fertilizer. So, not only making use of every single part of groceries you buy, you can also help reducing the amount of waste piling up in the landfill.
You can also mix some of the paper, sawdust, or even branches from your garden plants to the compost once you have started to make it. Simply just mix them with the food waste compost and wait for a month or two.
Like the number 2 above, actually any kinds of manure can be used as natural fertilizer for your garden soil. Manure is also a complete fertilizer that contains any nutrients needed by the plants on your lovely garden.
This process also happens naturally in places where wild animals live, like the forest. Animals eat the plants and the nutrition from the manure animals produce will help the plants to grow well. It is a kind of natural symbiotic mutualism in the wild.
If you live near a farm, you will easily get this kind of fertilizer. There is also composted manure that you can buy in any local gardening shops. However, the nutrients amount is relatively higher in fresh manure compared to processed manure.
To use it, simply just put it on the ground and let it decompose itself, or mix it with the ground. But in using this kind of fertilizer you need to pay attention to not let it apply on the root of your plants because it may contain too much nutrients for them.
6. Bat Guano
Bat guano is the feces of bats that has been collected for fertilizer. It is usually available in any garden centers as a powder because it is already a well-known fertilizer. Bat guano is usually divided into two kinds of fertilizers which are the high phosphorous and the high nitrogen ones.
The use of guano can be tracked back to 19th century where the trade of guano played important role. It also plays great role to the development of modern farming practices. In short, guano is one of the first fertilizers in the world.
Further research has proven that not only as fertilizer, actually guano has many other uses in agricultural activities. The bat feces can also be used as soil builder, composting activator, and also fungicide and nematicide.
This one is more of a support for your plants rather than being the fertilizer. Yes, just plant some legumes on your garden and wait for it to show the miracle. How can it possible? Because legumes can trap nitrogen from the air and use it to produce plant foods.
So, instead of draining the nitrogen from the soil, it adds up the amount of nitrogen to the soil. This method is well known in Asian countries where the farmers plant legumes around their farmlands to make the plants grow healthier.