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Sustainable fertilizer - 10 organic materials to grow plants faster

Sustainable fertilizer - 10 natural fertilizers and their application

Are you looking for a sustainable fertilizer? Then you've come to the right place! Whether in large-scale agriculture or in a small garden paradise: The use of fertilizers is important for soil fertility and the supply of nutrients to plants. However, the correct dosage is crucial in order to use the fertilizer as effectively as possible and to avoid damaging the environment. In addition, chemical fertilizers containing nitrogen and phosphorus have a negative impact on water and air quality, but above all on soil fertility. Heavy metals are also found in some fertilizers and can enter both the groundwater and the food chain.₁

Reason enough to think about natural alternatives and a more conscious use of our fertilizers. Here I present ten organic fertilizers for your plants. Let's go!

You can find a brief overview here in advance:

  1. Organic banana peels
  2. Wood ash
  3. Compost
  4. Manure
  5. Water algae
  6. Eggshells
  7. Clover mulch
  8. Nettle liquid manure
  9. Cooking water
  10. Coffee grounds

1. peels from organic bananas

Cut the peel of unsprayed organic bananas into small strips and leave them to dry in a warm place. However, they must not go moldy. Then you just mix them into the soil. This also works wonderfully with soil in planters and is therefore highly advisable for fertilizing balcony and potted plants. Banana peels are also generally very suitable for fertilizing ornamental plants such as roses and geraniums - not to mention vegetables such as cucumbers, tomatoes, potatoes and pumpkins.

Tip: How you Growing tomatoes yourselfI will explain them to you in a detailed, separate article.

2. wood ash

Ash from the campfire or fireplace is an ideal fertilizer - provided you only burn 100 percent untreated natural wood. It contains a lot of potassium and is particularly good for potatoes, tomatoes and tuberous vegetables such as celery. When planting seedlings, you can add a tablespoon of wood ash to each hole. Alternatively, simply sprinkle a fine layer of ash over the bed.

3. compost

Classic compost is an ideal organic fertilizer

Making your own compost is a great and ecological alternative to chemical mineral fertilizers. A compost heap made from vegetable waste, leaves and grass cuttings takes around 9 months to be decomposed by earthworms, woodlice and microorganisms. The result is the best nutrient-rich humus. The plants will then consume exactly the nutrients they need for healthy growth. The Composting It even works on the balcony with a small composter (e.g. a Bokashi bucket or a worm bin) and kitchen waste.

Tip: For the decomposition areorganic substrates with Effective Microorganismsuseful. Just 10 or 20 liters of kitchen waste can be converted into black soil with a natural fertilizing effect.

4. manure

Strawberries and horse manure - this combination has long been known as a sustainable fertilizer. Horse manure and excrement from donkeys contain many important minerals such as phosphorus, magnesium, potassium and nitrogen. Its consistency also prevents the soil from drying out quickly. However, manure should not be used fresh around plants. Ideally, you should work the horse manure into the soil two months before planting seedlings.

The problem of liquid manure: The mixture of manure and animal excrement is available in abundance. Not least because many people consume animal-based foods such as meat and milk. However, the excessive spreading of liquid manure means that too many nutrients end up in the soil and also represents a major burden on groundwater. Under "Liquid manure - sustainable fertilizer or dangerous environmental toxin?" I will explain the problem to you in detail once again.

5. water algae

Do you have a garden pond? If green algae grow in it, fish some of them out and let the water plants dry in a warm environment. You can then grind them up and mix them into the soil. Algae have a high content of nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus - and are therefore an ideal natural fertilizer.

6. eggshells

If you're not vegan, you're sure to sometimes end up with eggshells when cooking and baking. You can use these directly as fertilizer instead of throwing them in the organic waste garbage can. However, you should still peel off the skin on the inside. Then simply crush the shells and scatter over the bed. Eggshells provide a lot of lime and are therefore particularly suitable for growing herbs such as thyme, lavender and sage.

7. clover mulch

Do you have access to fresh clover? Cut or mow it down. Then scatter it directly over your beds as a mulch layer. It will decompose on its own and release lots of nitrogen into the soil. What hasn't decomposed by fall can then be worked into the soil. A great organic fertilizer for your plants!

8. nettle liquid manure

Nettles contain many healthy nutrients for plants and soil. You can put one kilogram of nettles in a container and fill it with ten liters of water. Then place a lid on top and leave the mixture to rest for around seven to fourteen days. Then sieve briefly and the useful nettle liquid manure is ready.

Simply dilute the slurry with a little water. How should it be applied? For the lawn in a ratio of 1:50, for young plants 1:20 and for large shrubs 1:10. You can simply use it as a liquid fertilizer with a watering can. However, experience has shown that you have to get used to the smell a little 😉.

9. cooking water

What do most people do with the water in which they have cooked asparagus, potatoes, broccoli or cauliflower, for example? The answer: they pour it down the drain. However, due to the cooking process Extremely rich in nutrients and is ideal for naturally fertilizing and watering your own plants. However, make sure that the water is only lukewarm and not too salty.

Insider tip pasta water: The cooking water from pasta dishes is also rich in minerals and starch - and therefore serves as a free and sustainable fertilizer for flowers and other plants in your home. it is also suitable for hair treatments and as a dishwashing detergent, for example.

10. coffee grounds

Coffee grounds are suitable as a sustainable fertilizer

Everyone is familiar with the residue of ground coffee beans left in the coffee filter. Fortunately, there are dozens of Possible uses for coffee grounds, which are often disposed of prematurely. For example, it is a good natural fertilizer, should only be used as an additional fertilizer.

First, dry the coffee grounds carefully. Then you can work them directly into the soil.

Attention! Please bear in mind that coffee grounds do not go moldy and consider their acidity. The latter aspect makes it only suitable as an organic fertilizer for plants that are naturally happy in a rather acidic environment - for example azaleas and hydrangeas.

Which natural fertilizers should be avoided?

Organic fertilization is always preferable if you want to act sustainably and ecologically. Avoid mineral fertilizers from the chemical plant, but also some natural fertilizers from the garden center. There, for example, like to Guano and horn shavings advertised as a natural fertilizer.

Guano is the droppings of bird colonies that breed on limestone cliffs - mainly penguins and cormorants. It is an excellent natural fertilizer, but comes mainly from arctic regions. Environmentally friendly are the long transport routes and therefore one more reason to use your own compost as an organic fertilizer. Horn shavings are crushed hooves and horns from slaughtered animals. As an animal source of nitrogen, they naturally also fertilize the soil. However, they do not provide any other minerals and are produced only on the basis of animal suffering and Cruelty to animals.

Organic, sustainable fertilizer for a secure future!

In fact, 50 kilograms of nitrogen per capita are released into the environment in Germany every year.₂ This can be improved! By fertilizing naturally, we amateur gardeners can protect and promote plants, soil and groundwater quality and ultimately our own health. Over-fertilization and high nitrate levels in the soil are then history.

Provided you use the fertilizers sparingly and sensibly. Above all, please make sure that you only use as much fertilizer as your plants need - and which fertilizer is appropriate for which plants' growth. If you buy natural fertilizers from the trade, pay attention to the dosage recommendation and the respective origin.

Whether compost heaps, algae, plant manure or wood ash. I hope that I have been able to introduce you to some sustainable fertilizers in this article that will help you. Do you have any questions, tips or your own experiences with organic fertilization that you would like to share here? Then I look forward to your comment!

Stay sustainable,

Christoph from CareElite - Plastic-free living

PS: In fact, menstrual blood contains nitrogen, phosphate and potassium, three essential nutrients that plants need to grow. It is quite unusual at first, but it is actually being used more and more frequently as part of a sustainable period used as a natural fertilizer in the garden.

₁ Federal Environment Agency: Fertilizers (as of 01.06.2022), available at [10.08.2022].

₂ Federal Environment Agency: Too much fertilizer is harmful (as of 17.03.2015), available at [10.08.2022].

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* Links with asterisks are so-called Affiliate linksIf you click on it and buy something, you automatically and actively support my work with, as I receive a small share of the proceeds - and of course nothing changes in the product price. Many thanks for your support and best regards, Christoph!

Christoph Schulz

Christoph Schulz

I'm Christoph, an environmental scientist and author - and here at CareElite I'm campaigning against plastic waste in the environment, climate change and all the other major environmental problems of our time. Together with other environmentally conscious bloggers, I want to give you tips & tricks for a naturally healthy, sustainable life as well as your personal development.

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