Feeding Your Plants for Free – How to Make Fertilizer for Your Vegetable Garden

[Music] Taking steps to develop a good
starting soil should be every gardener’s priority and when it comes to feeding your plants, nothing beats organic homemade compost. Good compost contains the ideal range of
nutrients which are released slowly into the ground as
the plants need them. But there are times when feeding our
plants can give them a real boost: when they are fruiting, if they being affected
by poor weather or pests, or, crucially, if they are in containers. How you feed them and what you feed them with is important, especially if you garden organically. Many of us will prefer not to use
commercial non-organic fertilizers and opt for organic ones instead. But there is a way of making your own organic fertilizers for virtually no cost. We’ll take you through the key steps. Plants require three main elements for good health: Nitrogen, labeled with an N, is for
green leafy growth; Phosphorus (P) is for healthy root and shoot growth; and Potassium, labeled with a K, is for
flowering, fruiting and general hardiness. Commercial fertilizers, both organic and non-organic, provide these elements in precise
amounts. Just look carefully at the label to find the N:P:K ratio. A balanced fertilizer will have an equal ratio – such as this one – Whereas a specialist product such as this one for feeding tomatoes or
strawberries will have a higher potassium content. There are several different organic fertilizers which you can make yourself. Comfrey is the wonder plant of the
home-made fertilizer world. It grows prolifically in places that many
other plants wouldn’t and it contains high levels of all the
essential nutrients for plant growth and a number of trace elements. There are different varieties of comfrey, but the best one to plant is Bocking 14, which doesn’t self-seed so it won’t invade your garden. A popular way to use comfrey is to make a
liquid fertilizer. Harvest a large bag of leaves (it’s advisable to wear gloves as the
hairy leaves can cause a rash) squash them into a large container,
preferably with a lid to keep in the smell, and weigh them down. Leave for a few weeks
and pour off the liquid into a clearly labeled container, keeping it out of the reach of children. When required dilute 15 to 1 with rainwater. Using a watering can to water your
plants, aim towards the soil, not the leaves or stems, as fertilizers can cause scorching of
foliage. Stinging nettles are high in nitrogen and can also be used in the same way as
comfrey to make a liquid feed. You’ll definitely need gloves for this
plant! After harvesting them, make sure you scrunch them up before weighing them down in a container. Dilute the liquid as before with rainwater so it looks like a weak tea solution. Grass clippings can be easily added to a
compost pile but in large quantities often make a
slimy mess. They’re high in nitrogen and potassium and could be used as a mulch on your
vegetable plot. As with adding them to the compost pile, they are best used in thin layers. Use dry clippings in layers which barely cover the surface of the soil applied after a light weeding. Wood ash contains useful amounts of potassium and other trace elements depending on the wood burnt. Younger wood is better. It can be added in small quantities to
the compost heap where it can be blended with other
materials. It’s advisable to add it to the soil in autumn or winter so the remaining compounds can break
down without causing harm to your plants. Wood ash is alkaline, so avoid using it
around plants which prefer acidic soil, such as raspberries, or where potatoes will be grown as alkaline conditions can encourage potato scab. When you’ve made your own fertilizer, it’s tempting to use all of that homegrown
goodness and add it liberally to your plot. This should be avoided, as it will often
do more harm than good. Too much nitrogen in particular can
cause lots of soft, leafy growth which is prone to aphid attack. Timing is also important – it’s best add small, regular quantities when your plants need it, such as when they are flowering or
fruiting, rather than single large applications. Our Grow Guides show detailed information on
how to grow healthy plants. If you grow in containers, feeding is
particularly important as plants can quickly exhaust the
nutrients in the growing medium. It’s a good idea to add generous
quantities of nutrient-rich compost in the autumn, top up with mulches throughout the
season which will slowly release nutrients, and to use liquid feeds for your fruiting
crops. Making your own fertilizers is not only
good value for money, and in most cases free, but it’s also
sustainable – using plants from your plot to feed
your own veggies. What other organic ways do you use to feed
your plants? Share your ideas with us by leaving
a comment in the box below and click the subscribe button to
receive more great gardening videos. [Music]

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100 thoughts on “Feeding Your Plants for Free – How to Make Fertilizer for Your Vegetable Garden

  1. where I live I find a lot of st. nettle but for now I haven't find comfrey; where does comfrey tipically grows? that would help a lot, thanks
    btw I produce wood ash daily, and in my neiborhood I have a lot of pine trees, so would it be a good idea to mix ash and pine needles (and soil beneath pines) to neutralise the alkaline ash and acidic needles, and with that mixture to fertilize plants

  2. Classy video lady, thanks for sharing! Good to see you wearing the appropriate protective gear when waterin' yer strawberries at 0:26 too! Keep up the good work dear!

  3. I made concoction after watching a video about garbage enzymes. I used fruit peelings with water and let it set for months, then pour off the liquid to dilute for feeding the soil. It can be used for cleaning purposes and pest control. Have you any knowledge or advice about this stuff?

  4. + I save up all the egg shells I use in a container and then I crush them up wash them off then sprinkle them on the surface around my plants followed by a layer of mulch or soil

  5. What ever food wast I have on hand I put in the compost pile also leaves and coffee grounds. I colect the leach aid from the worm farm and add it to me plants in a 10-1 rate. I also use leaves as mulch so I have a constant supply of compost tea being put in the soil.

  6. I was watching a vitamix video and the guy demoing said that if you was to collect all fruit peels and gring them with water you could feed your plants… and its good for them? is this true?

  7. I like to crush the comfrey directly into compost tea and the leaves tumble around for 12-24 hours in it. Plants love it!

  8. remember that plants do not use organic nutrients directly, they use inorganic nutrients directly after microbial activity

  9. I use the contents of the vacuum bag in pots then top up with compost or just empty the bag in the compost heap. My vacuum bag contains plenty of animal fur. I make bunny poo tea . Just soak the poo in water and dilute when feeding plants. I also use the meat juice from raw dog food round my roses

  10. Got to love that compost. Being a micro farmer I need to make a lot of my own liquid fertilizer and compost for my microgreens. I make most of mine on site in the backyard. Comfrey, rocks, no doubt about that!
    Hmm Bocking 14,,cool, but truthfully I wouldn't mind if it invaded!
    Thanks for the video
    Happy gardening/Farming
    Marty Ware (Australian Micro Farmer)

  11. In spite of the warnings about wood ashes burning plants, last February I covered the soil of my garden in a quarter inch of ashes, and I also threw ash on top of some greens that were left from the fall garden. I left the kale, mustard and such covered in ash until it rained a week later, and there was no noticeable damage whatsoever to the greens, still alive and blooming.

  12. I have farm friends at my job, so they bring me chicken poo- so i can make 'chicken tea'…. i place the chicken poo in a pillow case and steep it in a bucket of rain water or 2 day old faucet water. i fertilize my 'grow bag' plants with the tea at least once a week.

  13. After making fertiliser liquid, can you use the spent leaves as a mulch or another type of fertiliser?

  14. When your comfrey begins to flower, cut it down to 3 inches above the ground and use all of it – stems and all.
    You should get 3 to 4 cuts per year. I wouldn't use the spent leaves as a mulch unless you have no sense of smell!

  15. There are 2 oak trees at our house that are 12 years old. they sprouted 12 years ago and grew after a building was put in. They were fertilized regularly by "sprinkled" urine applied several times a week, from the source. They are now over 30 feet tall, very full canopy and 8 to 10 inch trunk and have survived several gypsy moth infestations. Can't help every tree on property, but it sure helped with the growth of these 2.

  16. Neat.

    Advice from personal experience: be STINGY with the wood ash. I put too much (far too much) on a compost heap once and it completely shut down decomposition. I had green leaves in the pile that were months old. But a few dashes here or there add some vital nutrients. (I suppose this is old hat for veteran composters, but I just started making my own a year and a half ago.)

  17. i subscribed to your channel and hope you like and subscribe to my channel Lloyd Stevens keep up with your nice videos 🙂

  18. My husband is a fisherman, so it's easy for me to get really good garden fertiliser- fish heads, bony bits. Soak 'em in water in a CLOSED container and let it ferment. Now apply clothes peg to nose (seriously, it doesn't smell good, but neither does comfrey) and dilute it roughly 1 to 10 or 1 to 15, or use your intuition. Makes things grow like mad.

  19. I started using the recipes from the unconventional farmer website and master cho's natural farming handbook pdf from the natural farming website. I am really liking them. My grandmother says she hasn't had tomatoes as good as the ones I grew this year in 30 years. The past few years when I was just using compost and kelp meal she would say they were the best she has had in about 10 years.

  20. i buy zinc citrate magnesium citrate and a bunch of other healthy minerals that our bodies need, then i mix with water and feed it to my plants

  21. (i use crushed b complex pills in generous amounts, for the rivoflavin and thyamin also blended lentils for the molbydenum. both just sprinkled around the top and with fresh soil and its watered plain water 2 times a week and 2 times a week with 8 – 3 – 4 during 6 months then 3 – 7 – 7 during the next 3 or so, for the pests i use my hands and sometimes garlic tea and i place rosemary around i guess bugs dont like the smell)

  22. Greenhouse slop bucket!
    Large bucket half filled with horse poo, half filled with water. Mash it up with a stick. Once or twice a week give your cucumbers tomatoes and chill is etc a cup full

  23. That was a great tip! Thank you. Hey can you (or anyone reading this) tell me…When I lived in Florida there was a Banana Tree that my Landlord told me it has never fruited. I asked him to please leave it because it was still lovely to look at. I grilled outside a lot in the summer, I was about to throw out my spent charcoal when "something told me to give it to the tree" I thought nahh this has chemicals in it right? But i did it anyway. I poured the ashes at the base of the tree then watered it in. BAM the tree started producing Bananas like crazy! But I don't understand why? It got bigger and strong and productive. I can't say this was a bad thing.? Can anyone tell me why this worked?

  24. 01:05 Potassium also creates strong stems and branches – important for plants with long or lots of stalks, and finishes off fruits and flowers.

  25. i urinate and poop on my garden every time i have to go. i wipe with leaves and they go on the garden too! in fact I havent used my toilet in the house in over 2 years! it gets tricky living in the city so your neighbors dont see, but it is fun and great way to feed your plants!

  26. I blend water with rotten vegetables and fruits and feed it to my plants, is it wrong? I live un a really hot country

  27. the best is rice water, after I wash,rice.meat,chicken n fish. I pour the unwanted water to the plant. they loved it n grow healthy,I save water n money. try it it don't cost anything.

  28. This book is the most thorough book I've found about Hydroponics [Check Details Here  ===>https://www.facebook.com/Easy-Hydroponics-Systems-166096780618260/app/208195102528120 ]. Most of the others have been mainly hydroponics with a little aside for the Hydroponic system. But this begins with an overview of Hydroponic systems, including the different types of media, fish, plants and types of system setups. It then walks you through what is necessary to have your own healthy system of any size, in any location. It did grow a little dry while presenting the detailed scientific information on what is necessary to keep a system healthy and in balance, but that is to be expected for that kind of information. The fact that it actually goes into that kind of detail is wonderful and extremely useful.

  29. does it completly dissolve to become the tea or is it just the juice and can i put the stuff in a pillow case like a giant tea bag?

  30. My comment, good video & info. I wish you would add composting worms, red wigglers, to your repertoire of home grown fertilizers.

  31. Hi, I'm a begginer gardener
    I'm planting some strawberries this spring and some of them are starting to flower
    Can you help me on what's good to feed them please?!
    I've never heard of this plant you mentioned so I'm confused!
    I read some comments saying that banana's Peel is high in potassium and strawberries need that element.. And Coffee ground is acidic so it's good too.. I hope you can make things cleared up for me .
    I'm sorry for my bad English! But thanks anyway.

  32. love the upside down wire basket over peas to protect them! I wonder if Bocking 14 is the same as the comfrey AKA "Russian comfrey"

  33. Hey there,
    I tried composting the regular way adding Kitchen leftovers and card board as compost but it's just fungus now all white. It that normal. Please suggest something

  34. Why my strawberries fruit became smaller? what kind of organic fertilizer should be feed to them and how to take care ? please help me this out😢

  35. I am working to make my own bone meal. I've asked family to save bones of chicken, fish and steak and freeze in a bag. Once we have enough I will work to turn the bones into a powder.
    Free bone meal!

  36. Instead of tossing banana peels and other veggies to the garden, I feed mealworms that are growing to feed my chickens and wild birds. In return I get worm casting "frass" for all my plants. Win-win situation.

  37. Does comfrey come out balanced in npk? Can you use it as a full nutrient if you’re in coco or hydro etc?

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