Healthy plants don’t happen by accident. To grow strong and verdant, plants need sun and water as well as soil that has sufficient nutrients and that’s where commercial fertilizer comes in. Fertilizer puts badly needed nutrients back into the soil, but it can be harsh on plants, and it’s costly too. To give your garden—and your wallet—a break, try one of these home remedies instead.
1. Wood Ash
Wood ash has a high alkaline content, which makes it great for neutralizing acidic soil. To determine if your soil could benefit from an application of wood ash, first purchase a pH test kit at any garden center and test a small sample of soil from your garden beds. Before you add any ash to your garden, make sure it is completely cool to the touch.
Chop up banana peels, then bury them in the soil when you plant tomatoes, rosebushes, or green pepper plants. The potash and phosphorous content in the peels will enrich the soil and strengthen your plants.
3. Compost Tea
A strong dose of compost tea can do wonders to improve the vibrancy of your plants. If you already have a compost pile, there’s a benefit to taking the time to brew it into a liquid solution bursting with beneficial microorganisms.
4. Club Soda
What makes club soda more nutritious for plants than tap water? Carbonated water contains macronutrients, including carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, phosphorous, potassium, sulfur, and sodium, all of which are beneficial for your greenery. For proof, look no further than the University of Colorado Boulder, where researchers watered a group of plants with club soda for 10 days; in the end, the club soda plants outgrew the control group.
5. Aquarium Water
When it’s time to change the water in your fish tank, consider pouring the old water out on your plants. The waste and bacteria in aquarium water may be harmful to fishes, but they are beneficial to plants. Just make sure to use freshwater only, not saltwater, and apply it only to ornamental plants, not edible ones.
Because of their rich calcium content, eggshells should be tossed in your garden, not in your trash bin. Rinse them, crush them, and add them to plants like tomatoes that are often plagued by calcium deficiency. Or, start seedlings in eggshells that have been carefully halved and rinsed. When the seedlings are big enough to be transplanted, plant them right in the ground, shell and all; the shell will biodegrade over time.