How to Make Liquid Fertilizer from Kitchen Waste


Liquid fertilizers can be made at home and if you know how to do so, you won’t need to rely on chemical fertilizers that you can purchase from the store.

How do you make homemade liquid fertilizer? In all honesty, you can do it pretty much any way you want as long as it involves organic items being turned to mush and broken down to their base forms. These can be in the form of vegetables, fruits, trimmings, and even some liquids that include honey and Epsom salt. You can let your imagination run wild.

Obviously, some recipes are better than others because of the nutrients that they can impart, so go ahead and make your choice right now.

How to Make Homemade Liquid Fertilizer

When it comes to making homemade liquid fertilizer, it can be as simple or as difficult as you want. Naturally, you can customize the kind of nutrients that you can get from the fertilizer that you make, which does allow a certain level of experimentation on your part. This can even be a form of fun for you if you like the idea of being able to grow your plants the way you want.

The main points that you really need to keep in mind when talking about fertilizer are its function. That is to say, it needs to:

·         Nourish the soil and plants

·         Not present any danger to the environment

·         Be easy to process or disperse

·         Will have no lingering side effects

·         Is not made of harmful chemicals

·         Will have no harmful effects on the body

It would seem that thanks to the advent of chemical fertilizers and the internet, fertilizers have gotten a bad reputation. However, painting this item with a broad brush is just the wrong way to go. Saying that all fertilizers are the same would basically be like saying all humans are the same. There are just too many varieties to take into consideration.

With that being the case, homemade fertilizers are among the best ways to make sure that you actually know what you are dealing with. To that end, here are the factors you will need to take into consideration when you are making homemade liquid fertilizer:

FactorsDetails
TypeYou need to decide if what you are going to make is the granulated type of fertilizer or the liquid type of fertilizer, which will actually have quite a bit of difference in terms of the impact later on
ComplexityDo you stick with just ordinary household ingredients and methods when you are making your fertilizer or do you turn to other, more complicated practices to do so
IngredientsThe ingredients that will go into your fertilizer will impact how effective it is going to be for the purposes that you will be using it for
EffectsYou can actually predict the kind of effects that your fertilizer is going to have on the soil and the plants that you will be using them on as long as you know the ingredients and the nutrients
NutrientsNaturally, you need to decide which nutrients you will want to emphasize when you are creating your fertilizer, whether you want more nitrogen, phosphorous, or whatever else
SoilThe type of soil where you will be applying the fertilizer is going to have a major impact on what kind you will be making and how
PlantsFertilizers will dictate just how well or badly plants are going to grow, and some fertilizers are just better with certain types of plants than others

It is worth pointing out that those considerations are just the basic aspects of making a fertilizer at home that you will need to take note of. As already mentioned before, this process can be as complicated as you want it to be and you will be the one to decide if it will be good enough for you or not. Just make sure to remember why you are doing this in the first place.

Moving on from that, let’s take a look at these factors more closely, shall we? Doing so will allow you to get a better grasp of what it is you will need to do in order to produce good quality fertilizers.

Type – There are generally two types of fertilizers. One is granular fertilizer, which is basically solid fertilizer. This is the type that you can usually find in stores that are sold in bags. You take the bags home and then you spread the fertilizer all over the soil where you will be putting your plants. This is a very important step for you to take.

The other type is liquid fertilizer, which is exactly what it sounds like. This is the type that you can purchase via a jar, a canister, or even a tank. As you can imagine, it’s quite a bit more concentrated than granular fertilizer, but this generally applies to the store-bought kind. If you make this kind of fertilizer at home, you will be the one deciding how concentrated it is going to be.

Obviously, these two options have their own pros and cons and if you need to ask which of them is worth more your time, it will depend on what you need them for. In the first place, the reason why both types of fertilizers exist is that they both come with different functions depending on the circumstances.

As such, if you are going to make one or the other, you have better make sure that you actually know what to do with them. Otherwise, you might be wasting weeks or even months of your time on an enterprise that was doomed right from the start. You wouldn’t want that, would you?

Complexity – Then we have the consideration of complexity, which is something that you definitely want to put some thought into if you want to make your own homemade liquid fertilizer. This includes the ingredients that you are going to use, the equipment that you will be making the fertilizer with, and the steps that you are going to take.

Much like with pretty much any kind of chemical mixture or cooking, creating fertilizer depends a lot on a variety of factors. These factors will then impact the results that you are going to get, particularly if you are interested in getting very specific outcomes. If that is the case, then you will definitely have to refine your process to a form of art.

Now, the simplest form of liquid fertilizer that you can get is something akin to the wash water that you get from rice. You pour the water in the pot with rice, swirl it around to clean it, and then throw it out. At least, this is what you would normally do. However, you can actually use that water to provide nutrients to your plants and soil, so you would be advised to keep it.

On that note, the most complex forms of fertilizers are those that function almost like an actual cooking recipe where you get measured amounts of a wide variety of ingredients. These can either be as ordinary as honey or as specific as chemicals that you can purchase from a drug store. Suffice it to say, the more complicated the recipe, the more control over the results you will likely get.

Ingredients – Next on the list is the ingredients and this one is what actually makes making the homemade liquid fertilizer so varied. You can literally turn anything that rots into fertilizer. You just need to be willing to put up with anything as long as it breaks down, regardless of the smell or the grossness of it all.

Just to give you some idea as to what ingredients you can use for liquid fertilizers, you can actually take your grass clippings, boil it and then use it for that purpose. Liquid fertilizers can be made of one ingredient or it can be made of dozens, which is what can make the process so much fun. However, a lot of this will ultimately depend on just how willing you are to put in the effort.

If we are talking about plants that only really need to stay alive and thrive, there should not be a need for you to go too far with your mixtures. Liquid fertilizers that are just made up of the vegetable trimmings that you have accumulated throughout the day should suffice for your needs. If you want, you can even throw in some eggshells into the mix.

From that point, you can either put your mixture through a heating process or you can just let them sit in water. Once that is done, you can throw the whole thing at the soil or strain it first before applying the resulting liquid fertilizing.

Effects – A lot of people have this assumption that fertilizers are basically a monolith and that they all do the same thing regardless of the type. Of course, this is just not the case. While the core concept is the same, not all fertilizers function the same. In fact, there are some fertilizers that might not be usable for certain soils, plants, and purposes.

In this particular section, we will be talking about what you will use the fertilizer for. Mixing different ingredients needs to be done with a particular goal in mind and it can’t be as vague as giving soil and plants nutrients. The more specific the answer the better like wanting to produce more flowers, grow bigger branches or prevent tree roots from coming out of the ground.

That is to say, some fertilizers with certain ingredients are more suited to enabling flowers to bloom more. You basically get bigger petals, brighter colors, more uniform appearances, and a huge number of buds. There are also some fertilizers that encourage the bearing of more fruits or the more rapid growth of the trunks.

And what about vine plants that crawl across surfaces and climb up higher? You will need special types of fertilizers for those, where the goal is to help them survive without relying too much on the soil. There are even fertilizers that are meant for certain types of crops because they allow those plants to resist diseases and the like.

Nutrients – Different ingredients will naturally offer different nutrients that will have a major impact on exactly what your fertilizer can do for you. You have to remember that there is a wide variety of minerals and gases that soil needs in order to grow certain types of crops, flowers, shrubs, and the like. This is why crop rotation is a thing before fertilizer was understood to the level it is now.

The point here is that depending on what you are trying to grow, you might need to aim for different nutrients with different effects. Nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, manganese, and many others will be essential for some types of plants while barely useful for others. You want to make sure that you don’t make the wrong fertilizer for the wrong targets.

It should also be noted that some nutrients can actually be harmful to certain types of plants and grass, so you want to make sure that you keep those in mind. There are even nutrients that don’t keep for that long and since you are making a homemade fertilizer, it only makes sense that you would want to use such nutrients right away.

These are the considerations that you simply cannot ignore if you are going to make the most of the fertilizer that you made. Otherwise, you might as well not bother with it because you will only be wasting your time and efforts making something that won’t be of much use to you.

Soil – This goes without saying but there are actually a lot of different types of soils and these soils will have a huge impact on how well your plants are going to grow. What a lot of folks don’t seem to understand is that the type of soil that they are using would also have a major effect on the potency of the fertilizers that they use.

Just for a general idea, there are two types of major soil varieties that come with a ton of differences. However, the one that will have the most significance, is the matter of drainage. That is to say, how fast moisture passes through the layers of earth that make up the soil where the plants are located. With that alone, you might already see where this is going.

In the case of soil types that have excellent drainage qualities, your liquid fertilizer is basically just going to sink into it and then bypass the layer that it is supposed to fatten. To get the most of the nutrients that are coming from the fertilizer, it needs to be absorbed by the soil where the roots of the plants are. However, if the soil is too loose, those nutrients would be lost.

Consequently, if you use granular fertilizers on soil that is too dense and packed like clay, you would need to churn it into order to get the fertilizer to penetrate. In some cases, this might not even be enough and you will have to add some extra soil of a different variety just to allow the fertilizer to do its job.

Plants – Finally, there is the issue of the plants themselves. As far as factors in making your homemade liquid fertilizer goes, this is definitely one of the most essential to consider. After all, it would be so much easier for you to accomplish your goals if you knew which types of plants you are supposed to be feeding with the fertilizer.

Just for some context, flowers need different nutrients and ingredients compared to root crops. They will also require different levels of potency, with flowers generally needing less potent fertilizers than their thicker, more robust counterparts. These are the kinds of things that you will need to take into consideration when you are making fertilizer.

Some plants also respond better to granular fertilizer because of how it gradually seeps into the soil compared to the fast-acting nature of liquid fertilizer. There are times when you want to reduce the speed at which the nutrients are absorbed, as well, because of how some plants might become too big, too fast.

This is why it pays to research what kinds of requirements your plants have when it comes to the nutrients that they need. A lot of this will also come down to you since you will also need to think about whether or not you will grow a house plant or a garden plant. Those you place in tiny pots will require different fertilizers than those you place in plots.

Why Use Liquid Fertilizer

So, for the obvious question, let’s discuss why you would want to use liquid fertilizer and why you would bother making it yourself. To answer the first question, liquid fertilizer acts much faster than the granular kind, which is perfect for some situations but not for others. You see, some plants fare better when they are not oversaturated with nutrients.

It’s basically the same principle as that of when people end up eating too much. Their bodies develop in ways that might seem good at first but can quickly go out of control. A good way to use liquid fertilizer, though, is when the plants are still young and newly planted. This is because the fertilizer will prime these plants for optimum growth.

There is also a case to be made with soil that might be a little more compact than you would have liked. Granular fertilizers will have a difficult time getting through those, but your liquid fertilizer should be able to penetrate them just fine. With that being the case, you definitely want to give this some thought.

The great thing about homemade liquid fertilizer, though, is that you will be able to control just how much nutrients there is going to be in that solution. As such, you won’t run the risk of overfeeding plants if you control this particular aspect.

There is also the question of expense to consider. No one can deny that making your own fertilizer at home is bound to be less expensive than buying it from the store.

Homemade Vs. Store-Bought Fertilizer

Speaking of which, what exactly makes homemade and store-bought fertilizers different? Well, aside from the fact that one necessitates the spending of extra money than the other, there is also everything else. The simple fact is that most liquid fertilizers come with less organic ingredients and processes than your average homemade versions.

This is done more out of necessity than anything else, with many companies and manufacturers needing to lower costs and increase profit. With that being the case, they tend to rely on compounds that are meant to mimic the nutrients that you would normally get from more natural sources. These types of compounds can then be quite harmful to the environment.

Fertilizers that can be bought from stores can also be quite potent in their effects, which is something that you would normally want for what they are. However, as already discussed, there are times when the fertilizer can become too much for the soil and for the plants. When this happens, something called a fertilizer burn will occur, which is definitely not good for your plants.

This is something that you simply have to keep in mind when you are creating your liquid fertilizers at home. You have to make sure that when you are making your fertilizer, you only infuse it with enough nutrients to suit your needs. This level of control isn’t available to you when you use fertilizers that you can buy from stores.

Related Questions

Can You Turn Granular Fertilizer into Liquid?

You can do this by basically treating it like pretty much any kind of rotting material that you turn into homemade liquid fertilizer. You soak it in water and you either heat it or just allow all of the nutrients to seep into the liquid. From there, you can either strain the solution or use it as it is.

Is Liquid Plant Food the Same As Fertilizer?

No, liquid plant foods are not the same as fertilizers. Fertilizers are basically the nutrients that you can get from the soil, which is then absorbed via the roots. Plant food, on the other hand, is explicitly about nutrients that are usually made via the leaves absorbing the light from the sun.

The Necessity of Using Fertilizer

With all of this discussion about liquid fertilizers, you might be tempted to ask how necessary fertilizers even are and the answer to that is that they are pretty darn necessary. More specifically, fertilizers are necessary for most places simply because people tend to pick plants that they will grow that are not suitable to be grown where they are.

Most plants grow best in their natural environments, but humans tend to bring certain species to their homes, which they are not accustomed to. The soil and the environment in most human habitats don’t usually host the plants that they grow, which means that some changes need to be made. This is essentially what fertilizers are.

You basically use fertilizer to transform the soil you will be planting with so that they become suitable for your needs. The earth becomes more nourished with the nutrients that the plants you will be planting will consume. This will then bring about the results that you are aiming for, which is largely influenced by the kinds of nutrients that these plants will get.

Now, it is worth pointing out that more than anything else, fertilizers should be viewed as a crutch instead of as the main feature. That is to say, if you truly want to grow plants in a healthy and effective manner, you should not rely on fertilizer to make up for what you lack each and every time.

You will need to start from the soil, for that, and fertilizers can do more harm than good. It’s worth remembering that if you intend on using it more in the future. Using mulch would infinitely be better since it would be a lot healthier for the plants.

When to Use Liquid Fertilizer

If you are wondering if there is a good time to use liquid fertilizer, the fact is that there is. You will generally benefit from using such methods when you are trying to improve the chances of the plants that you had just planted to be the healthiest that they can possibly be. A lot of this is due to the fact that most growing organisms are highly influenced by their early stages of development.

More often than not, if the life of plants starts out strong, their conditions for the remaining time will also be the same. For trees, for example, they will likely be bigger in size, more resistant to diseases, and will likely bear more fruit. If you want to make that happen, you will have to use liquid fertilizer when you first plant it.

You can also use liquid fertilizer to quickly cultivate land that does not suit cultivation, to begin with. If you are trying to create arable soil in a place where growing anything will be a challenge, you will need all the help you can get. This includes the type of fertilizer that you are going to use since granular fertilizer would simply take too long to take effect.

To that end, you may as well turn to liquid fertilizer for your needs. Doing so will allow you to get much faster results with much lesser effort and with far fewer steps. You won’t even necessarily need to till the ground if you are using liquid fertilizer to get the soil to the point where it can support life even though it was not supposed to.

Just as an example, there have been projects in some of the harsher regions of the world where you are basically dealing with acres of soil that could never have grown anything. Thanks to tremendous efforts, time, and energy, though, such places have been revived and have since been growing plants just fine.

A huge part of these initiatives is the use of water that is constantly pumped into these dry land. These fluids are then supported by liquid fertilizers. 

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