How to Make a Cheap and Nutritious Homemade Plant Food Recipe
Plant food plays a vital role in supplying crops with nutrients they need in order to grow as healthy as possible while helping them to be as productive as possible. However, many commercial products are also toxic, and organic alternatives can be very expensive. There are a lot of different options out there when it comes to finding natural alternatives that can nourish our plants and garden crops.
However, there is one in particular that can almost duplicate the benefits of one of the more-popular products on the market today. Take a look at the recipe below and see how easy it is to create a safer, yet potentially more-effective alternative from some basic household ingredients.
1 ½ tablespoons of Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate)
1 ½ teaspoon of Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)
½ teaspoon of ammonia (ammonium hydroxide)
1 gallon of water (the purer the better)
All you need to do is measure and add all of the dry ingredients to a gallon container. Use a funnel or make one out of a piece of paper in order to avoid spilling the items as you are pouring them. Add the water, cover the container and give it a good shake until everything is thoroughly mixed. Store in a cool and dry place, and apply as needed.
With respect to the ammonia, consider using a little bit less on hot days as too much ammonia can cause the leaves of certain plants to burn. While this may not be destructive, it can be irritating and cause them to be less-productive over the long term. Unfortunately, there are no blanket answers as to the appropriate amount to use. The best thing is to do a little bit of experimentation until you get a sense of what the right proportions will be at the right times.
Why This Works
Ammonia works because it contains nitrogen and hydrogen, which are essential building blocks that sustain plant growth. Certain kinds of good bacteria, particularly in the soil, convert these elements into nitrates which plants absorb as food. Magnesium sulfate provides plants with magnesium as well as sulfur. Magnesium is an essential ingredient that promotes photosynthesis, which is required for plants to grow. It also plays a number of other roles that are too numerous to name here.
The sulfur promotes the production of chlorophyll, which is also essential for photosynthesis. It also helps to create proteins, oils and other nutrients that plants need, and many of these nutrients are then passed on to us when we eat the harvested crop.
Sodium bicarbonate helps to neutralize the soil and outer layers of plants to the degree that it can inhibit or limit the growth of fungus and mold. It is also a known natural fungicide which can be used as a treatment if outbreaks occur as well.
Another key ingredient is phosphorous, and many soils do not contain enough of this nutrient to support healthy plant growth. Unfortunately, getting phosphorous is not always easy, so you may need to supplement your natural food with some store-bought products if necessary.
In terms of how often to feed the plants, the general consensus seems to be to start out on a bi-weekly application schedule. You can increase or decrease the times based on how well the plants perform, and results will vary based on a wide-range of conditions that can include anything to soil and water quality to climate. In any case, it is not uncommon for a good, monthly application to be enough to support growth throughout the season.
While this isn’t the only homemade alternative out there, it’s one of the easiest to make. However, feel free to experiment with different concoctions in order to maximize your chances of getting the most productivity out of your plants this season.