Have you ever wondered if some of the items you throw in the garbage could be put to better use? Perhaps you’ve seen a friend making some compost and want to give it a go yourself?
Luckily, this is a really simple thing to do and you don’t need to buy any expensive equipment to try it. Plus, it cuts down on waste and also saves money! You won’t have to buy composts containing synthetics or spend cash on expensive compost and soil when you can create it yourself with minimal effort.
What Can Go in Your Fertilizer?
Most of the materials which will go in your fertilizer will come from the kitchen. It is worth having a separate bin or container in the kitchen to collect anything that can make compost. Put it next to your normal bin so when you are throwing things away you might think twice and remember that the nutrients left in what you are throwing out can be put to
good use. This article about compost being nature’s perfect fertilizer talks about how nothing ‘green’ should be put out with the trash.
Waste that composts and provides nutrients for plants and flower beds includes many things such as:
- coffee grounds,
- vegetable trimmings,
- leftover fruit and vegetables,
- nuts and nut shells,
- even dust picked up by the vacuum cleaner!
This article about increasing your home value by doing more landscaping with higher ROI even discusses how you can use stale beer and soda in your compost.
Avoid items like meat, fat, bones or products made of things that will not easily break down. As a rule of thumb, items which go brown naturally in the garbage will often be candidates for your fertilizer but check beforehand if you’re not sure.
What Can You Use Fertilizer For?
It may be obvious what fertilizer can be used for, and you may have something already in mind. However, there are some other uses that you might not be aware of.
Fertilizer can be used when germinating fruit and veg seeds to grow your own groceries. This is yet another way you can use homemade fertilizer to be at one with the environment around you. Also, once these have germinated and turned into plants, your fertilizer can help the groceries grow big and strong.
You can use fertilizer in plant beds and in pots. After all, it is just compost. Anything you would normally use compost for is a fair game with homemade fertilizers!
Also, did you know that you can even use some of it as a weed control? This article about salt being a natural weed preventer talks about other low-cost weed killers. For example, you can read how wet newspaper with compost on top of it can be used to keep weeds in check.
Compost Bins – Getting it Right
We recommend at least one large compost bin outside and then one smaller one indoors. This means that you can quickly chuck things in the indoor compost bin, for instance when you are cooking. Then, once every few days you can throw this into the larger, outdoor fertilizer bin.
It’s easy to assume that an indoor compost bin will smell really bad.
However, as long as you keep its lid tight and emptying it regularly, it won’t get too bad. It is certainly no worse than regular trash. In addition, many compost bins also have filters that can help to stop the aromas from leaving and dispersing into your kitchen.
You should also consider the size.
Too big or too small and your compost bin won’t produce fertilizer quite as effectively. 1 cubic yard (3 ft square x 3 ft high) is about right. This size produces plenty of heat which will break things down faster.
Other features of compost bins include rotating functionality to allow things in the bin to move around and oxidize more easily.
Make Specific Fertilizers Fit for Purpose
Once you delve into it a little bit more, you’ll realize that the world of fertilizer making has a huge number of fanatics! All of them are experimenting with their own ways of doing things. There are even different fertilizer recipes.
Similarly to when you buy fertilizer, some may advertise themselves as being good for seeds, others will be better for fully grown plants, others for vegetables.
Thus, you can find and make ‘recipes’ to make a fertilizer good for your own needs.
An example of this would be using plenty of potassium-rich garbage such as banana peels.
The potassium is great for healthy roots and can help to start seeds and plants in their early
Speeding Up the Process
There are things you can do to speed up the process, too. You don’t want to wait a year for any fertilizer which is actually useable. Follow these tips to make the process of making homemade fertilizer much quicker and get a better end result:
- Keep it moist, but not waterlogged. The compost bin should never get too dry as this can slow down the breakdown of the nutrients in the clippings and other items you’ve put in the bin. Regularly putting old beer, wine, and soda in, or just regular old water is a good way to keep it moist.
- Aerate and turn things regularly. At least once a week. You can get a spade or other large tool (there are even tools made specifically for this purpose) and disturb the inside of your bin, this can help to aerate and speed up the process.
- Shred items before putting them in. For instance, if you’ve got a load of clippings from a tree that is overgrown, shredding them down or putting them through a chipper of some sort will allow them to break down quicker as oxygen and the environment can get to the fertilizer more easily.
Have you enjoyed our post about composting? Are you ready to hunt out the treasure from your garbage and turn it into fertilizer for the next generation of plants and crops?
Feel free to share our post with anyone you think might find it helpful or leave us a comment about making fertilizer.