ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Easy-to-Make Organic Fertilizers

Updated on May 9, 2015

Organic Fertilizers You Can Make at Home

Coffee grounds are good fertilizer for rose bushes.
Coffee grounds are good fertilizer for rose bushes. | Source

Coffee Ground Fertilizer

Coffee grounds contain nitrogen as well as trace amounts of the other two nutrients that are essential to plant health, phosphorus and potassium.

Best of all, you don't have to do anything to coffee grounds before adding them to soil.

Collect coffee grounds from a local cafe or save them up at home and spread them around your plants all at once in a layer of no more than 2 inches.

You could also simply dump your daily grind onto the ground daily.

It's all good.

Healthy plants start with healthy soil.
Healthy plants start with healthy soil. | Source


Even Good Fertilizer Can Be Bad

It's sad but true. Just because fertilizer is organic doesn't mean that it won't adversely affect the environment if you apply too much. Excess fertilizer will leach out of the soil and pollute waterways.

To avoid adding to the world's pollution, get to know your soil. Test it yourself using a soil testing kit. It's sort of fun! Or, take soil samples from your landscape (that's sort of fun, too) and have them tested by a lab through your area cooperative extension office. The cost? Typically anywhere from $8 to $15 dollars.

Maryland's Master Gardener Handbook recommends that home gardeners test their soil at least once every 3 years.

Once you become familiar with your soil's strengths and weaknesses, you can determine what kind of fertilizer it needs as well as how much you should apply.

Quick Compost

Adding compost to your soil is probably the best way to feed it.

This recipe for "quick compost" could take 2 weeks or less. How quickly it works depends upon how well your compost pile heats up.


1 part chopped green matter, such as grass clippings, vegetable scraps & weeds

1 part shredded brown (dry) material, such as leaves, straw & paper


Combine equal parts green and brown matter in empty compost bin all at once, completely filling it.

Mix the matter well, and turn it after 3 days. (Steam should be released when you do so. If it doesn't, the pile may need to be moistened.)

Continue turning the organic matter regularly. If the weather is hot and it becomes dry, add water. When it's brown and crumbly, the compost is ready to use (Master Gardener Handbook).

Feed the soil. Your plants will thank you!
Feed the soil. Your plants will thank you! | Source

Compost Tea

This recipe from Patricia Machalak's guide to growing herbs is a good fertilizer for just about any plant.


1 shovel of compost or farmyard manure

5 gal. water


1. Place compost or manure into a burlap bag. Tie the top securely & place it in water.

2. Let the bag soak until nutrients leach into the water.

3. Before using on seedlings, dilute with additional water until light brown.

Pee Tea

Human urine contains the nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium plants in a form that's accessible to plants. Unlike solid human waste, it contains few pathogens, and those that are found in it become harmless over time.

Once you get past the gross! factor and decide upon a method for collecting and storing it, pee is an easy-to-use, effective fertilizer. It's also virtually free, and it's readily available.

To make pee tea, all you need is water and urine that's been aged at least a month.

The following is a "recipe" based on advice from Barbara Pleasant, a contributing editor to Mother Earth News.


8 to 20 parts water

1 part aged human urine


Mix the urine and water. Apply at the base of plants once every 2 weeks.

Recipe for All-Purpose Organic Fertilizer

Here's an animal lover's version of an all-purpose organic fertilizer from Annie Spiegelman's awesome little book on organic gardening, Talking Dirt.

If you're not averse to using animal byproducts, you could substitute other organic ingredients.

Nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) & potassium (K) are the 3 essential nutrients for plants. Fertilizer, both organic & synthetic, has 3 numbers on its packaging that indicate the percentage of N-P-K it contains.


  • 3 parts nitrogen (cottonseed meal)
  • 1 part phosphorous (rock phosphate)
  • 1/2 part potassium (kelp meal)
Cast your vote for Organic Fertilizer
About 1 Tbsp. per pot is all your houseplants will need.
About 1 Tbsp. per pot is all your houseplants will need. | Source


  1. Although the ingredients can be probably be found in some chain superstores, it's least expensive to purchase them in bulk from a feed store or garden supply store.
  2. Mix together all ingredients in a large container with a tight-fitting lid, such as a metal or plastic garbage can.
  3. Keep the container in a sheltered area away from water and pests.
  4. Use as needed on potted plants, flowers, vegetables, shrubs and trees.

Directions for Using All-Purpose Fertlizer

Sprinkle fertilizer at plant drip line once a month. The mix can also be raked into new garden beds.

1 Tbsp. per 6-inch pot

1/4 C. per gallon container

1 C. per large shrub

1-2 C. per tree

Note to Vegetarians & Animal Lovers

If you're a strict vegetarian or an animal rights activist who eschews all animal products, you'll probably want to give bone meal, blood meal, fish emulsion and packaged manures a pass. Bone meal and blood meal are byproducts of the meat industry. Packaged manures are byproducts of the animal production industry.

Some Organic Sources of the 3 Essential Plant Nutrients

alfalfa meal
bat guano
blood meal
bone meal
coffee grounds
colloidal/rock phosphate
variable; check package
cottonseed meal
earthworm castings
fish meal & emulsion
kelp meal
varies by animal
soybean meal
wood ash

When buying organic fertilizer, check the packaging for the percentage of N-P-K it contains & follow the directions for use on the label.


Master Gardener Handbook. University of Maryland College of Agricultural and Natural Resources. 2008. Print.

Michalak, Patricia S. Rodale's Successful Organic Gardening: Herbs. Ennaus, PA: Rodale Press, 1993. Print.

Pleasant, Barbara. "Free, Homemade Liquid Fertilizers." Mother Earth News Feb/March 2011. Web. 27 July 2012.

Spiegelman, Annie. Talking Dirt. New York: Penguin, 2010. Print.


About the Author

The Dirt Farmer has been an active gardener for over 30 years.

She first began gardening as a child alongside her grandfather on her parents' farm.

Today, The Dirt Farmer gardens at home, volunteers at community gardens and continues to learn about gardening through the MD Master Gardener program.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)