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Homemade fertilisers to use around your kitchen garden

Filled with nutrition, the organic waste in your kitchen when used as 100 percent natural alternative to chemical fertilisers helps plants grow flowers and fruits to their best

Deepa Gupta | New Delhi |

Starting off a plantation with perfect garden soil is a great idea but even best soil becomes depleted of nutrients and organic matter after a few growing seasons. No doubt, soil is the most vital base for a healthy and productive garden. Amending and replenishing the soil constantly is the best way to maintain its productive quality. Luckily, you have a few free soil enhancers around your kitchen.Homemade fertiliser is simply decayed organic matter like food scraps and other organic waste in the home. It is a great way to improve garden soil and promote nutrition for plants and probably the only thing you need to fertilise your garden.

Here is the list:

Used tea leaves: Tea leaves contain all the three big nutrients (NPK) as well as some trace minerals. Undoubtedly, some of the nutrients are washed away with water but you could still get its benefits in the soil. Sprinkle the used leaves on the soil and gently scratch them in. Tea leaves grounds are good for acid-loving plants, including roses and tomatoes. You can also add tea leaves to your compost pile. Used tea bags can be used to cover the drainage holes in the pots. They hold the soil well and allow the excess water to drain.

Used coffee grounds: Coffee grounds add a bit of nitrogen and minerals to the soil, attract worms and even deter slugs. They can be used as mulch. The acidity of coffee affecting the soil’s pH neutralises as the coffee decomposes. So, no need to worry about its acidic nature. But be careful while applying its layer on the top of the soil. A thick layer of coffee on the top layer of the soil creates a crusty shell after drying which does not allow water to pass through. So make a thin layer.

Fruit peels: The skin of the fruits is filled with potassium and other minerals. It helps plants to grow and flourish well. For example, banana peel is full of potassium. Cut the peel into small pieces and liquefy it in a blender adding half a cup of water. Pour this solution into the soil and let the peel pieces decompose. You can also throw the whole peel as it is on the top of the soil or plant it under the soil near the roots. Let it decompose. However, the later process may attract pests and animals. So the other process is safer. Roses seem to love banana peels. So give them their most favourite food to make them bloom at their best.

Vegetable peels: Potato peels, green leftovers, broccoli stalks and citrus rinds can be easily composted. Dig a ditch in a currently unused bed or soil of a pot, dump the garbage in and cover it up. The scrap will decompose and add its nutrients to the soil. Or you can grind up all the peeling adding little water and then pour the mixture into the soil.

Egg shells: Egg shells contain 93 percent calcium carbonate and one percent nitrogen along with other nutrients that soil needs. Crushed egg shells offer surprising benefits to a wide array of plants. Egg shells are a natural bi-product and they are rich in nutrients that plants and soil need. Dry egg shells in natural sunlight. Crush them into a fine powder and spread them around the soil under fruits and vegetable trees and rose plants. It will create a natural nutrient-rich mulch. Many plants, such as, peppers, tomatoes and egg plants are susceptible to a disease known as blossom-end root. The cause of this disease is calcium deficiency. Egg shells replace depleted calcium in the soil to protect against this deadly disease.

Cooking water: When foods like eggs, potatoes, pasta or rice is boiled in water, lots of nutrients are released from these foods. Cool this water and pour it into the soil using it as a natural fertiliser.

Isn’t it a great use of these waste materials? Do not throw them away. Add them right to your garden soil for quicker benefits. These disposable organic wastes in the kitchen boost the life of plants. So now there is no need to create an outdoor compost pile. You can immediately use these food scraps to nourish your soil and reap the benefits. Due to the danger of disease, never add meat, fish, poultry scraps, bones, skin and even the waste product of meat-eating animals to your soil. Leave out dairy products as well.

Benefits of home-made compost from organic waste:

100 percent organic

No cost

No packaging

Improved microbial activity in the soil

Prevents plant diseases

No environmental impacts as in the case of manufacturing chemicals and fertilisers.

A remarkable reduction in home trash and thus a good reduction in release of poisonous gases in the environment