What are fertilizers?A fertilizer is literally the plant food that can be either mixture of the chemicals or it can be something natural which is used for enhancing the growth of plants.
You can simply prepare your own homemade fertilizers with easily available kitchen ingredients. Fertilizers mainly contain three major macronutrients i.e NPK (Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium). Nitrogen helps in increasing the number of leaves and health of the plant, while phosphorus is an essential nutrient for flowering plants and potassium maintains the overall growth of the plant. It protects the plant against various diseases and pest attack. So let’s start with the process!
Onion peel fertilizer
Soak three handfuls of onion peels in one litre of water and leave the solution for 24 hours. After 24 hours, you will see the solution will turn onion pink. Strain it well with the help of sieve to obtain the maximum extract. Your homemade fertilizer is ready, drench it at the base of the plant and repeat it after 15 days interval .Use 50ml dose for small plants but you can use 100ml dose for the bigger plants. Onion peels have a good amount of plant nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium and copper.
Dried banana peels fertilizerDo you know that the banana peels are equally important as the inner portion that we eat? Well! Yes, by using dried banana peels you can have your own calcium and potassium-rich fertilizer. Take banana peels as much as you have, chop them into small pieces and dry them in full sun. After drying, grind them to get the powdered form. Use one tablespoon of dried banana peels powder once in fifteen days. Use the lesser quantity for smaller plants.
Dried eggshells fertilizerDon’t throw away eggshells, as it can serve as an excellent source of calcium for your plants. Eggshells contain 93% of calcium carbonate which is equal to lime that you basically use for your home plants. Wash eggshells and dry them in full sun. After drying, grind the eggshells in a mixer and your homemade calcium fertilizer will be ready to use. Use one tablespoon of this every month, as calcium takes more time to release from the eggshells.
Rice water fertilizer
As we wash or rinse rice two to three times before cooking, many nutrients are lost during the process. Do you know that the first rinse rice washing water is very good for the plants? Well! Yes, make significant use of rice water waste to feed your household plants. Rice washing water mainly contains starch, proteins and vitamin B1 which functions to stimulate root growth and metabolism of the plants. Use rice water once in fifteen days to feed your plants.
Wood ash fertilizer
Wood ash is an excellent source of calcium, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium. It is the most common fertilizer used by the local farmers in vegetable farming. Use one tablespoon once in a month and sprinkle it lightly on the base of the plant.
Q1.How would I know that my plant needs fertilizer?
In spite of proper water and light conditions, if your plant is not doing well, then it surely needs fertilizer. Reduced plant growth, weak, leggy stem and yellowing of leaves are the common symptoms.
Q2.How would I know if I have given excess fertilizer to the plant?
Symptoms like the burning of the plant leaves from the tips and formation of white crust in the top layer of soil will appear.
Q3.How to cure excess fertilizer dose in the plant?
Remove the white crust from the top layer of soil and add a layer of fresh potting soil in the pot. Water the pot until the water drains out from the hole. Repeat this process three times, so that excess fertilizer leach out with the water.
Q4.What is the correct season to apply fertilizer to the plants?
We should give fertilizers just before winter and not during the winter season. Resume fertilizer schedule in the spring once in a month according to the need of the plant.
Q5.How long can we store onions peel water and powdered form fertilizers?
You can store onion peel fertilizer for fifteen days and powdered form fertilizers can be stored for a month at room temperature.
Q6.Can we use fresh banana peels instead of the dried ones? How about using banana peels water?
Fresh banana peels contain lots of sugar and carbohydrates, which can attract flies, small insects, and bugs around the plant, Also, banana tea water might generate fungal and bacterial growth, so it is advisable to use the dried ones.
Shalini Sharma & Shashi Agarwal