Plants need adequate water, nutrients, and sunlight to grow healthily. Some keepers use fertilizer when natural essentials are currently a deficit in the garden. However, commercial solutions usually contain substances that may harm the plants instead of boosting its growth.
Soil is the prime source of supplements that are essential for plants to thrive. Nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium are the main nutrients found in the topsoil ground. In some agricultural systems, the level of nourishment from the soil decreases each time a product is harvested.
Other factors affecting the growth of the plants include light, humidity, temperature, and water. Lack of or over-abundance of such elements will have massive and evident unfortunate impacts on plants. It may discolor the leaves, kill the plant tissue, and most of all, stunt the plant’s growth.
Out of many possible answers, you might have thought that trying out all your options will solve your greenery problem. From using chemicals, pulling the weeds every day, overwatering, transferring plants from one place to another, and piling every waste you gathered — you realize that you dedicated months and years for a small sprout.
Then suddenly a voice in your head says maybe you are just wasting your time gardening and it’s probably just another venture that’s bound to fail. Nothing has ever worked from the solutions that you’ve tried and your money, time, and resources are nearly scarce.
You are looking for remedies to your problem. The good news is that there are a couple of things that you might have overlooked. Here are smart hacks to help speed up your plants’ growth without having to spend a lot of your time and money — and these might just be stored at the corners of your home.
Every time you change the water of your fish tank or bowl, give the dirty aquarium water to your plants. Aquarium water contains bacteria and wastes that are useful for your greens. However, make sure you’re using fresh water. Avoid reusing saltwater at all costs.
Also, the old water can be safely poured only on ornamental plants and not edible ones. Fish tank water is not advisable for vegetable plants as it can harm your health, particularly if the tank has been formulated to adjust the pH level, kill algae, or if you recently applied treatment for fish disease.
The uneaten food particles and fish poop in old aquarium water are not healthy for fish but they may prove beneficial for your plants. Plants absorb the phosphorus, nitrogen, potassium, and trace elements that promote growth and lush. Such nutrients are found in commercial fertilizers, and you can get them from used aquarium water.
Tea waste compost
Improve the vibrancy of your plants using tea waste. A sufficient amount of tea compost brings out the bright green colors of your plants. If you already have a compost pile for tea, consider brewing it into a fluid solution to extract the beneficial microorganisms.
Applying tea waste compost to your plants can yield the following benefits:
- Enhances the soil’s potential to hold water
- Restrains higher concentrations of beneficial fungus and bacteria compared to solid compost
- Easily absorbed by the soil or plant leaves
- Readily accessible, and made from eco-friendly ingredients.
- Compost from tea helps fight pests, diseases, and erosion.
Composting tea is not a complicated process. To start, steep the scraps in water. Put the non-sulfur molasses to foster good microorganisms and allow air to the mix for a few days to develop a swarm of helpful bacteria and fungi. When the compost is ready, apply enough to your plants’ soil.
The wood ash from your wood stove or fireplace is rich in high alkaline content. Such components will counteract the extra acid in the soil. Before adding wood ash to your plant, test a small sample of soil with a pH test kit available in your local market.
Avoid pouring wood ash around azaleas, blueberries, potatoes, and similar acid-loving plants to prevent them from scab disease caused by high-level pH.
Although remains from burned wood do not contain nitrogen nutrients that a plant primarily needs, it dispenses boron, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, and other beneficial nutrients that still contribute to a plant’s growth. Refrain from adding the ash in green foliage plants, especially nursery seedlings because it can burn their leaves and stems.
Wood ashes are only effective as growth spurt aids when applied properly. Aside from pouring it directly on plants, wood ashes are best scattered in lawns and around the body of hardwood trees.
Burying chopped banana peels is an excellent way to boost the growth of plants like green pepper, rosebushes, and tomatoes. Banana peels are rich in potassium and phosphorus content. Potash or potassium-rich elements are able to strengthen plants and augment the soil — and healthier soil accelerates the growth of your plants.
Potassium is a mineral that can build resistance against diseases and pests, develop crops or fruit, modulate up to 50 enzymes in the plant, nurture general vigor, and enhance the plant’s strength.
Another component of chopped banana peels is phosphorus. Phosphorus greatly influences the bearing of fruits and flowers, promotes shoot growth and good root, stimulates viability and seed germination, and helps in pollination.
Apart from chopping the peels, there are four other ways to reuse the scraps from bananas, which include:
- Soaking the peels into water and pouring it on the plants
- Putting the peels directly in the soil or worm farm
- Positioning the whole banana peel between a plant and the tree trunk
- Drying out a banana peel before setting it down on a plant to prevent it from attracting flies.
Coffee powder or grounds
Coffee grounds are known to have many uses, and one of its perks is being a sufficient plant booster. Nutrients such as potassium, calcium, nitrogen, and phosphorus are found in coffee grounds.
Since coffee grounds add acid to the soil, plants that thrive more in acid like azaleas, evergreens, and rosebushes greatly benefit from coffee treatment. Lightly scatter the fresh grounds on the surface of the plant. You may reserve the excess grounds for your compost pile and mix it with other scraps to enrich the soil later on.
Coffee grounds also contribute to organic material in the soil. The soluble from coffee grounds enhance drainage, aeration in the soil, and water retention. If you do not want to add acid to the soil, you may wash the fresh grounds to reduce the pH level to 6.5. The neutralized coffee acid will then affect the acid of the soil less.
As odd it may sound, club soda is factually more nutritious than topwater. Soda is carbonated water that has carbon, oxygen, phosphorus, hydrogen, sodium, potassium, and sulfur. These are the types of micronutrients that are valuable to a growing plant. Researchers conducted an experiment wherein they watered a set of plants with a soda for 10 days, and surprisingly, these greens outgrew the group that was given water.
Some seedlings do not get enough absorption of CO2, which they need to convert into oxygen and sugar — the two main components essential to their growth. Club soda is efficient in improving minor nutrient deficiency that is possibly present in the soil. Pouring the soda on matured plants serves the same benefit, but it is best to apply it particularly on seedlings to build a strong foundation while they are still in their sensitive nurturing phase.
To perform the method, prepare a plastic cling wrap to trap the gas in the soda can. Also, by containing the process with plastic, the CO2 will be consumed thoroughly by the leaves. Once the bubbles have stopped, you may remove the plastic pour the soda on your seedlings’ soil.
Alternative plant food
Knowing the risks involved in using a commercial fertilizer, you can make your own organic version of plant food using the items found in your kitchen. Combine household ammonia, baking soda, and Epsom salts, to create a toxic-free fertilizer. The finished product will help in stimulating the growth of your plants and keeping the foliage in good condition.
Aside from eliminating the possibility of harming your plants, DIY fertilizer is pocket-friendly. The three ingredients have solid benefits that can help your plant move towards robust growth. Here are their individual benefits:
- Household ammonia is rich in nitrogen, which your plant needs for root growth
- Baking soda stimulates the blooms of your flowering plants and lessens the risk of fungal disease
- Epsom salt contains sulfur and magnesium which help the overall growth of your plant.
There are five steps in making your own organic fertilizer:
- Put 1½ tablespoon of Epsom salt in a 1-gallon jug or any similar container
- Add 1½ teaspoon of baking soda
- Drop ½ teaspoon of household ammonia
- Fill the jug with plain water
- Cover the lid lightly and gently shake to combine the ingredients
- Wait for approximately 30 minutes to give time for the Epsom salt to completely dissolve.
Consider adding grass clippings in your greenery to prevent weed from growing and assist your plants in maintaining moisture. Grass clippings must be no more than one-quarter inch. Otherwise, it will block the water from passing through. Before adding the grass mulch, make sure it is free from weed seeds.
Fresh or dried grass clippings, either of which is a good booster for your plants. The fresh grass mulch will give off coolness on the root zone, adds reserved nutrients up to 25%, and conserves moisture.
Adding nitrogen solution to the plants with grass clippings breaks down other nutrients in the soil, reduces evaporation, and increases porosity.
Leaves used in making tea contain three essential nutrients that can help plants thrive: potassium, calcium, and nitrogen. It is also an alternative fertilizer solution that fits right in your working budget.
Green tea, for example, is a good source of minerals. With just a thin layer of its leaves, you can promote healthy growth for a few acid-friendly plants such as roses, blueberries, and tomatoes.
Aside from the three mentioned nutrients, tea leaves are also abundant in chlorophyll. It is a compound that helps the plants absorb energy from the sun more effectively and manufacture sugar.
Eggshells are rich in calcium. So instead of throwing egg shales into your bin and causing an unpleasant smell for days, you can just toss them in your garden.
To extract the full nutrients of the eggshells, make sure you crush and rinse them thoroughly. Put the eggshells on the plants that have high risks of calcium deficiency such as tomatoes.
You can also reuse the eggshells to shelter plant seedlings. When the seedlings mature, transfer them to a spacious location or large pot and you do not have to worry about the shells since they will just decompose over time.