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How to Make Your Own Plant Food for Garden Plants

Updated on May 16, 2015

Do your plants need feeding? You need not spend money on expensive and harmful chemical fertilizers to feed your plants. You can make your own all-natural organic food to nourish your indoor or garden plants with a few basic ingredients. Here's what you will need:

Tea & Coffee

If you want to sprout your seeds faster before planting them, soak them in lukewarm tea for a few hours to overnight. This works especially well with larger seeds like sunflower seeds, peas or beans. They will pop out of the ground a few days faster if you do this.

Sometimes otherwise healthy looking seedlings will keel over and die. This is called dampening off disease and it is caused by a fungus attack. Prevent this pesky disease with chamomoile tea. Put one tea bag into four cups of boiling water and let it sit for 24 hours. Now spray your seedlings at every watering until their second set of leaves appear.

You can pour diluted leftover tea and coffee on your plants, indoor or out. Try it once every two weeks at first, more often if they seem to like it. Acid loving plants like blueberries, azaleas or rhododendrons will especially love this treatment.

If you are into container gardening, mix a few used tea bags with the soil in the pot. The bags will retain water and add nutrients to the soil. This is also great to do with your rose bushes. Plant the tea bags under your mulch. Roses love the tannic acid from the tea.

Sow your carrot seeds mixed with unused ground coffee. This will make the tiny seeds easier to sow. It will also add nutrients to the soil as it decomposes.

Epsom Salts

Tomatoes and peppers love Epsom salts. They need the magnesium it provides. When you are planting your seedlings into the garden, add a tablespoon of Epsom salts in the planting hole. Add a tablespoon of Epsom salts in four litres (one gallon) of water and water your plants with it once a week to maintain the benefits.

Roses also like an Epsom salt treatment. Sprinkle one half cup around your rose bush in the spring, then water it in well.

Nonfat Powdered Milk

Many vegetable plants, especially tomatoes and squash, need a lot of calcium to grow and flourish. Blossom end rot is one of the problems that occur to tomatoes if there is a lack of calcium in the soil. Milk can also act as a fungicide. Try adding two tablespoons of powdered milk per one gallon of water and water your plants with it once a week.

Or if you prefer, mix one part of skim milk with nine parts of water and water your plants with that.

And here's one that combines the goodness of Epsom salts and powdered milk: Mix 1/4 cup of nonfat powdered milk with 1/4 cup Epsom salds and a shovelful of compost. Sprinkle this on your baby tomato plants when you plant them outside. This will feed your plants and ward off blight.


Rinse and crush up your eggshells and sprinkle them on the ground wherever you plant your leafy greens. When they pop through the soil, snails and slugs will avoid your plants as they can't stand to crawl over the sharp shells.

Eggshells also supply calcium to the soil. Every two weeks, crush up your eggshells in the blender with some water. Aim for six shells per litre of water and water your plants with that.

Baking Soda

Feed your alkaline loving plants like clemantis and delphinium with one tablespoon of baking soda in two litres of water for fuller and healthier blooms.

To cure black spot on your roses, mix two teaspoons of baking soda and a few drops of liquid soap in four litres (one gallon) of water. Pinch off the affected leaves and spray this on the rest of the rose bush.

Banana Peels

Banana peels act as a slow release fertilizer that provides potassium and trace elements. Chop them up and bury near your rose bushes. You can also throw a banana peel in the bottom of your planting hole when planting out your vegetable seedlings. They will love you for it.

So there is your shopping list to make your own plant food. Don't forget to start your own compost pile, too. Compost is the ultimate homemade plant food.

Happy gardening!


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    • daisyjae profile image

      daisyjae 4 years ago from Canada

      Yes, I think that would be fine to add it to tea instead of water.

    • profile image

      Michelle Smith 4 years ago

      Can you mix chamomile tea and epsom salts together to water sprouted but not flowering tomato plants?

    • daisyjae profile image

      daisyjae 4 years ago from Canada

      Thanks for you comments, blond logic.

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 4 years ago from Brazil

      I have never heard of some of these things. What a logical way to think about it. I think people tend to think they have to buy something special from a garden center to feed the plants. Wonderful ideas, thank you.

    • daisyjae profile image

      daisyjae 4 years ago from Canada

      Thanks, Dirt Farmer!

    • The Dirt Farmer profile image

      Jill Spencer 4 years ago from United States

      Enjoyed your hub! It's packed with good advice.

    • profile image

      Bleek 5 years ago

      Thanks dude for the info. Just what I was staving for. I will duhimtpny try.

    • daisyjae profile image

      daisyjae 5 years ago from Canada

      I'm glad you found my hub helpful, sanadin. Thanks for commenting.

    • sanadin profile image

      Salini 5 years ago

      Epsom salt for plants is a new information. thanks for sharing this great post

    • daisyjae profile image

      daisyjae 5 years ago from Canada

      Thanks for commenting on my hub, htodd.

    • htodd profile image

      htodd 5 years ago from United States

      That's really great tutorial on "How to make your own plant food" ..Thanks for that

    • daisyjae profile image

      daisyjae 5 years ago from Canada

      Your welcome, mycrazylife. Thanks for commenting.

    • MyCrazyLife101 profile image

      MyCrazyLife101 5 years ago from Bird City, KS

      I am trying this useful info this year. Thanks for the great information.

    • daisyjae profile image

      daisyjae 5 years ago from Canada

      I hope your dad finds it useful, Prasetio. Thanks for commenting.

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 5 years ago from malang-indonesia have nice information. I am glad to share this with my father. I had no idea about so many things around us which is useful for our plant food. Thanks for share with us. Keep on good work and vote up!


    • daisyjae profile image

      daisyjae 5 years ago from Canada

      Thanks for reading and commenting on my hub,Countrycitywoman.

    • CountryCityWoman profile image

      CountryCityWoman 5 years ago from From New York City to North Carolina

      And this works so very well. I've used organic egg shells and organic coffee grinds and these plants are getting out of hand.

      I often feel like I may go to sleep at night and wake up with them having taken over the living room. Whew!

      Thanks for all the other great suggestions! Yay! And rated up!

    • daisyjae profile image

      daisyjae 5 years ago from Canada

      Your welcome, randomcreative. I thought this hub would be helpful.

    • randomcreative profile image

      Rose Clearfield 5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      I had no idea that there were so many great natural plant fertilizers out there. Thanks for the tips!

    • daisyjae profile image

      daisyjae 5 years ago from Canada

      Thanks for reading my hub and commenting, Imogen.

    • Imogen French profile image

      Imogen French 5 years ago from Southwest England

      Thanks for some great tips here, I am all for natural and free products to use in gardening. Bananas are also good for helping tomatoes and other fruit to ripen because of the gas they release.

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