Make your own home made Miracle Grow as well as several other plant foods easily with epsom salt, baking soda and household ammonia. It’s time for another fun vegetable garden hack.
This DIY Miracle Grow fertilizer is a more organic way to feed your plants. The homemade plant food recipe is easy to make and works really well!
Many people who garden do not like to use commercial products to fertilize their plants. They prefer more natural ingredients. Green is in when it comes to gardening.
Making your own plant fertilizer is a small step that we can take to protect the environment at home.
If this is you…you are in luck. Here is a recipe to make your own Miracle Grow style plant food as well as a four other homemade plant fertilizers.
Normal retail plant fertilizers often contain chemicals that are not environmentally friendly. Some can even harm your plants!
Commercial fertilizers are also quite expensive. Many gardeners like to make their own home made versions of these plants with items found around the home.
Organic farmers have long used manure to fertilize their gardens, and many home gardeners use compost as a form of enriching the soil to add nutrients. Many plants need additional fertilizing and that is where these home made recipes will help.
What is homemade Miracle Grow?
Traditional Miracle-Gro plant food us a synthetic garden fertilizer that contains ammonium phosphate and several other chemicals.
The retail product is safe for outdoor plants, vegetables, shrubs and houseplants and the manufacturer says that it is guaranteed not to burn plants when it is used as directed.
However, many organic gardeners don’t like to use products with chemicals in them and try to make use of other more natural forms of fertilizer, such as having compost piles, or making their own products to use.
The recipe that I have included below for home made Miracle Grow is made from water, epsom salts, baking soda and a very small amount of household ammonia. It is thought to be a more natural way to fertilize plants.
I also included baking soda in my list of ways for removing cooking oil stains from clothing. Be sure to check it out!
Can you fertilize your plants too much?
While fertilizing plants, either with one of these home made solutions or your favorite retail product, is a good idea, sometimes, it can be a case of too much of a good thing.
Fertilizers are specifically formulated to give the right concentration of chemicals to add nutrients to your soil. Adding extra “just for good measure” can have all sorts of unexpected consequences.
Plants that have been given too much fertilizer can be damaged in many ways. Here are some common problems with over-fertilizing plants.
Root and leaf burn
The roots of plants can suffer damage if fertilizer is used too often. Some lower quality fertilizers contain Urea, which is a source of nitrogen. Many plants are sensitive to this ingredient.
Over-fertilizing can also lead to a build up of soluble salts in the soil. This can burn the roots of plants, as well as their leaves.
Too many soluble salts will cause leaves to wilt and turn yellow and the margins and tips to turn brown. The plant may then slow down growth or, in some cases, show no growth at all!
Plants that are suffering from root burn will be stunted in grown and will sometimes stop flowering.
If the condition is serious enough, the roots might shrivel and become incapable of delivering moisture to the plants and they can die.
Pests and Diseases
It may seem counter intuitive, but too much fertilizer can result in SO much lush growth that the foliage will attract pests such as aphids which will feed on the plants.
Alternatively, over-fertilizing usually contributes to an overall decrease in the plant health. This, in turn, attracts pests and diseases which cause further damage.
How to recognize a plant that has had too much fertilizer
For lightly damaged plants, they will wilt and look generally unwell. Often the lower leaves will look yellow and dry.
Another sign of too much fertilizer is yellow leaf margins and edges, or dark roots or root rot.
For more serious fertilizer burn, you might see a white, salty crust on the surface of the soil. If you see this, flood the plant with water to try and flush out some of the excess salts. This will remove the excess fertilizer from the top layers of the soil.
Five Different Home made Plant Fertilizers
Would you like to save a little money and make use of household items to make some plant fertilizers? Why not try one of these combinations?
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Make your own home made Miracle Grow
You can easily make a home made Miracle Grow fertilizer your plants using products found in the home!
To make this home made fertilizer combine these together: (this will be a concentrate that you will mix with water before using)
- 1 gallon of water
- 1 tbsp epsom salt
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp of Household ammonia
Mix all the ingredients together and use once a month on your plants by mixing 1/8 -1/4 cup of the concentrate with 4 cups of water in a watering can.
For more ways to use baking soda for plants, check out this post.
Home made Miracle Grow is not the only fertilizer that you can make. There are versions of liquid fertilizers, fish emulsion recipes and other ideas, too.Combine kitchen scraps and coffee grounds to make your own compost tea to fertilize plants. It's super easy to do! I ♥ #homemademiraclegrow.🌻 Click To Tweet
Compost Tea Fertilizer
I love making use of items that would normally be thrown away. For this fertilizer, we’ll be using two common kitchen scraps that are great for adding nutrients to plants.
Get a clean glass jar. Add water to the jar. (Rain water is best, but un-chlorinated water works too.) Keep it on your counter.
Whenever you use eggs, crunch up the shells and put them into the jar. The same goes for used coffee grounds. (Tea bags also work.)
Once you have quite a bit of this mix, add more water, shake and let it sit for a while.
The mixture will need to sit for several days and you will need to shake it every day. Do not keep the jar in direct sunlight.
After about a week, strain the mix and strain it though a paper towel or some cheesecloth into another bottle.
That is all there is to making compost tea. Just the a few tablespoons of the strained fertilizer to your watering can and water your plants normally.
Weed compost tea
Composting is great for making humus to add to your soil, but there is a version of it that is also makes a great fertilizer by using weeds and rain water.
This fertilizer is similar to the coffee/tea version above but you use weeds from your garden. Don’t use any weeds that have been treated with herbicides.
Place the weeds in a jar with rain water. Cover and place the jar in the sun. The mixture will smell really foul, but in a week you will have your “weed compost tea.”
Once you have the weed tea mixture, dilute it to one part weed tea and ten parts water.
This mixture is by far more effective than Miracle Grow and will last the entire season in the ground for outdoor plants.
Epsom salt fertilizer
Epsom salt is made with the minerals magnesium and sulfate. It is normally used as an exfoliant and anti-inflammation remedy for dry skin.
This produce also makes a great DIY fertilizer for your indoor plants, peppers, roses, potatoes, and tomatoes. The reason for this because Epsom salt contains the two important minerals needed by these plants.
Epsom salt can help to improve flowering and it also enhances a plant’s green color. Some plants will even get more bushy when watered with epsom salts as a fertilizer.
To make Epsom salt fertilizer, just mix 2 tablespoon of Epsom salt to a gallon of water.
Combine it well and mist your plants with the solution once a month when you water them. If you spray more often, just weaken the solution to 1 tablespoon of the salt to a gallon of water.
Fish tank water fertilizer
Put the water in your aquarium to good use by watering your plants with it!
Fish tank water has similar effects to those that fish emulsion fertilizer does. A bonus is that it doesn’t require any labor at all.
Just save all the dirty fish tank water and use it for watering your plants. Fish water contains nitrogen and other important nutrients that the plants need.
Pin this Home made Miracle Grow post for later
Would you like to be reminded of these natural plant fertilizers? Just pin this image to one of your Pinterest gardening boards so that you can easily find it later when you need it.
Other Examples of Natural Fertilizers
If you like the idea of using natural fertilizers, here are some other options that you can use to make your garden grow better.
Grass clippings, leaves that have been collected and then shredded and old pieces of hay are examples of natural materials that break down and improve your soil, making it more fertile. ‘
If you add mulch yearly (particularly if you combine it with compost) it will improve your soil’s ability to absorb nitrogen and other nutrients.
Mulching also helps with moisture control and helps to prevent weeds.
Most organic gardeners are aware of the benefits of adding compost to gardens. Some even swear by adding some to every hole dug for planting.
Compost is made from a composition of brown and green (dried and moist) organic matter that combines and breaks down to make humus – a nutrient rich form of organic matter.
Compost is free (if you have your own compost pile). It provides the soil with a wonderful, well balanced mixture of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, which all plants need for healthy growth.
Bone meal is a mixture of finely ground animal bones and other waste products from slaughter houses.
It is used as an organic fertilizer for plants, as well as a nutritional supplement for animals. Bone meal is a slow release fertilizer that provides a good source of phosphorus and protein.
Manure comes from livestock animals such as chickens, horses, cattle and sheep. It adds essential nutrients to the soil and improves the quality of the soil as well.
Gardens that are amended with manure are able to retain water efficiently. One does need to be careful using manure, since it can cause food-borne illness, so use it well in advance of harvesting a vegetable garden. (at least 60 days.)
Admin note: This post first appeared on the blog in April of 2014. I have updated the original post to add four new home made plant fertilizers, a video, a printable project card for home made Miracle Grow, new photos and more information on natural plant fertilizers.
- 1 gallon of water
- 1 tablespoon of epsom salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon of Household ammonia
- Gallon sized jug with seal
- Combine all of the ingredients together in a large container.
- Mix well and keep in an air tight bottle.
- Use the fertilizer once a month to fertilizer your plants.
- When fertilizing, mix 1/8 to 1/4 cup of the concentrated solution with 4 cups of water.
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