Thursday, April 18, 2013

Make Your Own Free Liquid Fertilizer

Gardeners are frugal folks. If we can make it ourselves, we will!

I'm always looking for ways to have a better garden for less money. I've read several places about making liquid fertilizer, sometimes called manure tea, to give a boost to plants.

It is super simple. Here is how I did it.

Place your dry ingredient into a five gallon bucket. I used chicken manure mixed with wood shavings - filling the bucket about a fifth full. You can also use fresh grass clippings but then you would want to fill the bucket about 2/3 full.

Fill the bucket with water and let sit for three days. Stir about once a day. I sat the bucket by my compost pile, covered it loosely with a lid, and warned the children to not play in it. After three days, the nutrients should have seeped out into the water. Longer than that will just increase the stinky fermentation!

Strain the liquid into another bucket. I used a piece of fencing but the holes were hardly small enough to trap all the solids. I need to look for an old strainer at the thrift store that I could keep out in my garden shed for the purpose. I threw the solids in my compost pile.

The strained "tea" needs to be diluted before using it to water plants. Dilute both manure tea or grass clipping tea one to one.

Then pour it into your watering can and go find a hungry plant! Use it up in a day or two. You can pour any extras on your perennials or your compost pile.

Like any time you fertilize, be careful you don't fertilize plants that are drought stressed. Water your plants first, then fertilize.This time of year, as the perennials are coming out of dormancy, is a great time to fertilize. It is hard for plants to get nitrogen from the soil when it is cool. You can use the fertilizer on potted plants and I even used this homemade fertilizer on the plants I was starting indoors from seed.

Have you tried making your own fertilizer? What is your favorite frugal gardening tip?


  1. well, fascinating. can I use any manure, do you think? We have a pet bunny, or I could easily scoop up some horse manure around here. I've heard of compost tea, but your explanation is so clear. Thank you!

    1. Margo -
      You can use other manure. Chicken is just what I had. I've heard that rabbit is some of the best for fertilizer as it is more balanced then chicken and less likely to burn plants.

      Let me know if you try it!

  2. Composting is a great way to recycling your current biodegradable waste materials. Rather than losing your current kitchen waste in addition to backyard waste materials for being sent to the landfill exactly where it will advantage nobody, you may input it in the can that you just designed with
    Compost tea recipe in addition to make it possible for our mother earth be able to work on creating your personal free of charge fertilizer. Obviously, this is often a good big bucks saver for the devoted garden enthusiast.

  3. I have no access to manure of any quality but I do have 2 Moringa Oleifera trees They grow so rapidly, I am now having to hack their tops off every few weeks. Neighbours queue for the young leaves, dry them and make tea. I put the rest into a tub of water and, given my 35 degree, high humidity climate, after 24 hours it is starting to stink. Can't say I've had any startling results and am still bemused by the fact that my two bougainvilleas of the same age, are behaving so differently. Both in the same soil, same full sun, yet one is still 2 feet tall with not a single new shoot, whilst the other is 7 feet tall and very boisterous.


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