diy garden fertilizer

8 Simple DIY Garden Fertilizer Recipes for Your Vegetable Garden

Looking for a natural fertilizer using household items? These DIY garden fertilizer recipes are easy to make and can help provide important nutrients for healthy plants all season long!

We can all agree that plants need sun, water and nutrients to grow! Choosing the right location for your garden can ensure proper light. Water is usually available from our house or with the help of rain water harvesting barrels and other techniques! So for the most part, these are pretty low cost needs of our plants!

That leaves us with proper nutrients! This can easily become a huge expenditure as we want the best for our vegetable garden! This growing season we can choose to cut this cost by utilizing the food scraps we have around the house to provide the essential nutrients our plants need!

In this post I’ll share how to create your own fertilizer to offset the price of plant nutrients and see healthier plants this year!

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Benefits of DIY Garden Fertilizer

Creating homemade plant food has several benefits. Not only can it save you money, but it also reduces waste by utilizing food scraps that would otherwise end up in the trash. Additionally, DIY fertilizers often contain natural and organic ingredients, making them a healthier option for your plants compared to store-bought chemical fertilizers.

Furthermore, making your own fertilizer allows you to avoid some of the pit-falls of over fertilization that can be common with store bought fertilizers! This is particularly prevalent with synthetic fertilizers which are often less expensive! The concentrations of nutrients is often very high and in a form that allows it to easily penetrate, but also easily get washed away.

Making your own fertilizer allows you to use products that are much safer for your plants!

DIY Garden Fertilizer Recipes

There are many easy ways to make your own garden fertilizer using items you may already have in your kitchen. I have collected a few of my favorite methods and recipes below for you to try. Here are a few simple recipes to try:

Dandelion or Weed Tea

Weed tea is an excellent way to use up the weeds that plague your garden as well as create a fertilizer tea that will do wonders for your plants! This is especially great if you are able to use plants like dandelion!

Dandelion has a long tap root that is able to penetrate the soil and reach nutrients deeper below the surface. When you use this plant in your weed tea you’re adding these nutrients to your plants! Here’s how to make it!

  1. Gather the weeds from around your yard and place in a large bucket that has a lid! I use a Home Depot bucket!
  2. Chop up the weeds to increase the surface area. You can add more to fill to about 80% of the bucket.
  3. Lay a paver or brick over the top of the greenery
  4. Fill the buck with water and cover for at least 2 weeks. (I let steep for about 30 days).
  5. Strain out the solids and use as a liquid fertilizer. I use about 1/2 cup to 2 gallons of water.

As a note, this stuff has a really unpleasant smell, so I would caution you from making it near your home entrances. Additionally, I don’t typically burp it, but you can!

Banana Peel water

The next time you eat a banana consider using it as a natural fertilizer! Banana peels contain high levels of potassium in addition to calcium, magnesium and phosphorus, which are essential for plant growth and fruit production. Here’s how to make this liquid fertilizer:

  1. Chop up banana peels
  2. Place them in a jar covered with water about 16 ounces.
  3. Allow them to ferment in the water for at least 24 hours. I like to leave mine in the jar for about a week.
  4. After the fermenting time use to water your plants, diluting to about 4 ounces per gallon of water.

As a note once the fertilizer is made, you can use the banana peels and bury them in your soil to compost in place, which we will discuss later.

Egg Shells

Egg shells contain about 96% calcium carbonate which make them a great fertilizer addition to your soil! While they are a good source of calcium, the calcium isn’t released immediately, so there is some preparation that is required to help the break down process along! Here is how I prepare leftover eggshells to fertilize my garden!

  1. Save eggshells, both from boiled eggs and cracked fresh eggs
  2. Allow to dehydrate (I let sit on the counter)
  3. Grind them up to a fine powder
  4. Save to use in planting hole of fruiting plants

Because egg shells take a while to break down putting them in a powdered form can speed up the process of breakdown.

Bone Meal

Bone meal is a commonly purchased organic fertilizer that can be easily made at home from leftover bones from cooking.

This is one of my favorite ways to create my own plant fertilizer because it truly embodies the principles of sustainability. And it starts with a baked chicken I make for my family (You’ll want to remove the bones before feeding others IF you are planning to follow this entire process! You can also use rotisserie chicken, chicken wing bones, or beef bones you use for making bone broth!

The pre-processing is simple.

  1. Enjoy a whole chicken, saving the bones
  2. Make a DIY bone broth/chicken broth with the bones
  3. Prepare your bone meal

Here’s how to make the bone meal:

  1. Save bones from chicken or other meat
  2. Place in an oven-safe dish and bake at 160 degrees until brittle (you can also use a dehydrator).
  3. Grind them up in a blender or food processor.
  4. Use as a slow-release fertilizer by adding to the soil around your plants.

Coffee Grounds

Coffee grounds are naturally high in nitrogen (which gives us lots of big lush leaves) and contain good levels of potassium and phosphorus which makes them a great catalyst for healthy soil! So, if you are a coffee lover and aren’t using those grounds in your garden! You may be wasting some valuable fertilizer, i.e. money down the drain! Using coffee grounds in the garden can be as simple as sprinkling them around the base of your plants. But here’s a simple recipe that can be used to superpower the grounds!


  • Coffee grounds
  • 1 T Cinnamon
  • 1 bottle of club soda

Mix these and use to water your plants!

Rice Water

Another great option for a DIY Garden Fertilizer is rice water (also pasta water). While there is speculation about the NPK availability of this natural fertilizer the truth is the starch present in the water used to rinse and cook out rice or pasta can help support the good bacteria and fungi in the soil!

These micro-organisms are the true key to nutrient availability and fertility of our soil, so caring for them is caring for your plants!

Making this fertilizer is as simple as saving the water you cook your pasta or rice in, or the water that you use to rinse it, and instead of pouring it down the drain, use it (cooled) to water your plants.

Compost Tea

This next natural fertilizer is particularly useful for those with a compost pile! While compost does add a lot of organic matter to your soil it’s not quickly available! To get those nutrients to your plants quicker you can create a great fertilizer by making a diluted compost tea!


  • 5 gallon bucket
  • Compost
  • Molasses or Unsulfered Blackstrap Molasses (1 Tbs per gallon of water)


  1. Fill the bucket with water and add 2 cups of compost. (you can use cheese cloth to make a tea bag or plan to filter it out after the brewing process is complete)
  2. Cover the mixture and let it steep for at least 3 days.
  3. Add the molasses and stir.
  4. Use this mixture to water your plants, diluting it 1 part compost tea to 10 parts water.

As a note you can also add other natural ingredients such as kelp, fish emulsion or manure to create an even more nutrient-rich fertilizer.

Also read: Compost Tea for Plants: Complete Guide +9 Steps to Creating your Own

Compost in place

The last DIY fertilizer option we’ll discuss is to compost in place! This is by far the easiest and it uses the principles of vermiculture. Simply bury your compost material in the garden bed where you will be planting. As the compost breaks down it will release nutrients directly into the soil, providing a slow-release fertilizer for your plants.

This method is also great for improving soil structure and promoting beneficial micro-organisms. This can be done with any type of organic material such as kitchen scraps, yard waste, or even shredded paper!

You can bury a food grade plastic container with holes in it or waste basket from the dollar tree in your garden soil and fill it constantly with vegetable scraps and cover with leaf litter or shredded paper!

This fertilizer makes it easy for those who do not want to make their own compost enjoy the benefits of composting all while continually improving the soil health!

How to use DIY Garden Fertilizer

Now that you have the recipes and are on your way to making your own fertilizers, how do you use them? Here are some tips on using DIY garden fertilizer:

  • Follow the instructions for each recipe and use it as directed.
  • Always dilute with water before using as a liquid fertilizer.
  • Apply evenly around the base of plants or in the planting hole when transplanting.
  • Store any leftover fertilizer in a sealed container to prevent odors and pests.
  • Use caution when handling and using any type of fertilizer, natural or synthetic.
  • Remember to always test your soil regularly and use fertilizers in moderation to avoid nutrient imbalances.

With these tips in mind and by following the recipes for DIY garden fertilizer, you can easily create a healthy and thriving garden without breaking the bank or harming the environment with chemical fertilizers. So start saving those eggshells, chicken bones, and coffee grounds, make these homemade fertilizer recipes and give your plants the natural boost they need! Happy gardening!

Also Read: Top 10 Simple Tips for When to Apply Fertilizer to Vegetable Garden

diy fertilizer recipes
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