Its still a little too cold here in Alaska to plant my tomatoes and peppers in the greenhouse. However, while I wait for spring to warm up a bit more, I now have time to give the soil in my greenhouse a nice boost. I’m going to use homemade instant organic fertilizer for an amazing harvest this fall.
I currently have two compost bins going. One I add to, one that is full and cooking everything down to that beautiful black gold. But I’m impatient and the soil in my greenhouse could really use a boost. When we first built the greenhouse two years ago, we bought soil by the cubic yard from a local company. The hubby shoveled it all into my metal raised beds and I filled it up with tomato plants and peppers. We’ve had a fairly decent harvest these past two years.
But much like in container gardening, the soil in the greenhouse has been giving up nutrients, without very much replenishment. So instead of adding to the compost bin, I’ll be adding a few things directly to my greenhouse soil.
Almost every long-time gardener will tell you what a wonder coffee and coffee grounds are in the garden. Leftover coffee (I’ve heard of this phenomenon, but have yet to see it myself.) can be diluted with water and used to water acid loving plants. Used coffee grounds can be spread (not too thick!) around plants like mulch to help deter slugs and act as a slow-release nutrient. It does beautifully added to the compost pile. Read more on the science and uses of coffee in the garden HERE.
Tomatoes are a calcium loving plant. A sure-fire cure for blossom end rot is to add more calcium. Egg shells are a perfect way to add this. Dry the egg shells (Some people do this in the oven after rinsing the shells. I just toss mine in a bowl. Thanks to Alaska’s very low humidity, they’re usually totally dry within 24 hours and I haven’t used any extra electricity.) Pulverize the shells. Depending on how many I have, I’ll either crush them with my mortar and pestle or use the food processor. Most of the time, I’ll feed these crushed shells back to my chickens. Chickens need the calcium to make egg shells – it’s a perfect circle. The shells can also be added to the compost pile. Supposedly crushed shells sprinkled around plants in the garden will also help deter slugs.
Roses love bananas. But I only have wild Alaskan roses in my yard, which I figured they’re doing just fine on their own. I love dehydrated bananas, personally. All plants love potassium, so banana peels are a wonderful addition to the compost pile, which is where mine usually go. Either toss them in the bin whole or allow to dry a little and grind up in the food processor, which will help the breakdown process go much faster. Check out all the wonderful ways bananas are great for your garden HERE.
Instant Organic Fertilizer Recipe
Mix crushed egg shells, ground banana peels, and coffee grounds. Don’t worry too much about ratios, although you don’t want the coffee grounds to be in large clumps or overwhelm the other ingredients. Spread around the base of your plants, mix into your soil, or layer it under wood chips. Done!
We’ve been transitioning our garden to the Back to Eden gardening method for the past year, and I’m planing on adding wood chips to the raised beds in the greenhouse too. Before I add the chips this year, I’m going to add my instant organic fertilizer as a layer over the soil, and then place the wood chips on top. The tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers should love it!
Remember, for this to be a truly organic fertilizer, your ingredients must be organic. The hubby and I drink organic coffee, my chickens are fed only organic feed so the eggs are organic, and I only ever buy organic bananas. Even if you don’t have these ingredients in the organic form, they’ll still be very good for your soil, but may add some unwanted pesticides, chemicals, etc.
Looking for more options of homemade fertilizer? Check out this chicken manure tea for seedlings or 5 Natural Fertilizer Recipes for Your Vegetable Garden. Got comfrey in your yard? Check this out! And who knew herbs were for more than cooking with! Also check out my Homemade Organic Fish Fertilizer for the garden too!