Saturday, July 28, 2012

Plant Nutrition: Cheap & Economical

When it comes to our gardens, plants, or our yard/homestead, we all want the best; in both health and beauty. So it should come as no surprise that plants need to be fed much like we do. When we are provided with adequate nutrition, essential vitamins and minerals, we feel good, have energy, and are far more productive. Well, the same applies to plants...when given a boost of nutrients (generally from some form of fertilizer) our plants thrive. They grow faster, produce more, have more flowers, and are generally healthier and stronger than those left alone.

The type of fertilizer used is generally personal preference, and to be quite honest, based on affordability as well. I have been using my worm liquid fertilizer mostly this summer and supplementing it with some fish fertilizer I purchased at our local hardware/garden store. The fish is fairly economical and my worm is of course, FREE!

But not all of us have access to free fertilizer or we just simply don't have not fear, there is another cheap solution. It's called 'compost tea' and it works just as well and is easy!
When I first moved to the high desert, this is what I relied on. Try it out for yourself!

1) Gather your kitchen scraps that would usually go into your composter, or yard debris barrel (if you live in-town and don't compost yourself). Place a moderate amount of scraps (plant and food both work well) and place them in a mesh bag, burlap bag, or just into the bottom of a bucket.

2) Add water to the scraps and 'steep' the tea for 2 days to a week, stirring occasionally.

3) After steeping is complete, simply remove the bag of scraps, or strain the solids out of the liquid. Throw the solids into your compost pile/bin and retain the liquid.

4) Put a small amount of the tea into your watering can and dilute, you don't want it too strong.

5) Liberally apply to any or all of your plants! Let your plants take it from here! :)

**Note: The tea needs to be kept in a warmer area to steep properly. It should also be noted that this can be somewhat place it somewhere out of your direct path.**

Depending on the strength of the brew will determine just how much of a difference you will notice right away. If you feel like yours is on the weaker end, you many not need to dilute it as much. I think I may have done this to be on the safe side...I want them to grow and prosper but I don't want to kill them either!

As far as fertilizers go in general, I still prefer my worm and fish the best. But sometimes we have to adapt to our financial circumstances, or just simply want to make the most of what we already have; waste not, want not! Never a bad philosophy to live by; I try to make the most of everything we have too (just ask Cam, I think it sometimes drives him nuts, ha!).

Growing plants that can live up to their full potential is dependent on several factors. One of which is adequate and proper nutrition. This is an easy way to use what you have in another way!

I hope this helps your garden grow!

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