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House-made Fertilizers

I have experimented with a couple of house-made fertilizers at our low budget off grid camp. Namely, weed tea and borax, both of which I happened to have an abundance of. (That doesn’t count the veggie scraps, pulverized egg shells, and coffee grounds that regularly go into the ground).


Weed Tea

For weed tea, I used comfrey and burdock, since we have a thick crop of those. I have also used whatever weeds I happen to be pulling that day. I put them in a 5-gallon bucket, covered with water, and let sit in the sun for a few days. This will really start to stink if you leave it out too long. Three days is best. It perked the plants up nicely but I’ve also seen it ruin plants when it sat too long.


The boron came from 20 Mule Team Borax, which is what I started using to hand- wash clothes out on the property.  I have often used wash water comprised of various common detergents (no bleach) to water plants, and they did great. But I learned not to water plants with used Mule Team Borax wash water because it will overdose them.

If your soil is low on boron, just use 1 tablespoon borax to 12 quarts of water. This amount will treat a 100 foot row of vegetables or 10 square feet of soil. Apply two times 2-3 weeks apart.

Concentrated amounts of boron can be used as an herbicide. Sprinkle around unwanted plants carefully. It is not discriminatory and kills any plant. For best results it should be applied when rain is not in the forecast for several days. Or mix 1/2 cup of borax in a gallon of water and apply to the base of weeds to act as a liquid herbicide on the roots.

Here is one I have not tried yet.

The Quick Fix Fertilizer

In an empty 1 gallon milk jug, mix:

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of ammonia (a very strong source of quick nitrogen)
  • 3 teaspoons of instant iced tea (the tannic acid in this helps the plants to more quickly and easily absorb nutrients)
  • 3 teaspoons blackstrap molasses (this helps feed soil bacteria)
  • 3 Tablespoons of 3% hydrogen peroxide (hydrogen peroxide is a powerful oxidizer, as it combines with the air and water it decomposes, freeing the oxygen elements and thus providing a supplement of oxygen to the plants and aerating the soil)
  • 1/4 cup crushed bone scraps (this adds phosphorus – any bones will do but I like to use fish bones myself as they also provide potassium)
  • 1 crushed egg shell or 1/2 a dried banana peel for potassium (you can omit if using fish bones, but I would still add the egg shell for the calcium – especially for my tomatoes as it helps prevent blossom end rot)

Fill the jug the rest of the way with water (again rain water is best). Replace cap and allow the jug to sit in the sun for about 1 hour to warm, then water your plants with this mixture at full strength.

The above recipe is from an article called:

Grow Your Own Groceries with Homemade Fertilizers

See more tips on homemade fertilizers:

Homemade Fertilizers – 15 Simple and Inexpensive Options

4 comments on “House-made Fertilizers

  1. Will Livingstone
    July 12, 2016

    Concentrated amounts of boron can be used as an herbicide..

  2. Will Livingstone
    July 11, 2016

    This will really start to stink if you leave it out too long. Three days is best.

  3. Will Livingstone
    July 1, 2016

    I used comfrey and burdock, since we have a thick crop of those.

Comments are closed.

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