Can You Make Your Own Fertilizer?

food scraps around a small pot with dirt
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If you've ever spent hours and money lugging bags of fertilizer from the nearest gardening store to your home, you've probably wondered if you can just make your own fertilizer instead. The answer is, yes, yes you can. In fact, you can do so easily and inexpensively.

Below are a few fertilizers you can easily make yourself. An added bonus: most of these can be made using ingredients you already have around the house.


Vinegar has so many uses, it's something everyone should keep handy around the home at all times. Simply mix one tablespoon of vinegar with a gallon of water to create an easy and cost-effective fertilizer.


Hair contains a lot of nitrogen, which helps plants grow. Next time you brush your dog or empty your hairbrush, don't simply discard the hair. Instead, scatter hair around your garden and rake it in.

Coffee Grounds

hand scooping coffee grounds into plant pot

Like hair, coffee grounds are rich in nitrogen. Use used coffee grounds—this is an environmentally friendly way of disposing of them and won't cost you anything. Make sure the grounds are completely dry, then spread them into your soil.

Banana Peels

Bananas are a great source of potassium for people. Similarly, banana peels are a great source of potassium for soil. Simply place the peel into your soil before adding a plant, or near existing plants, and cover it with mulch.

Powdered Milk

You can add powdered milk to your soil before adding plants to even out the acidity levels of the soil.

Egg Shells

hand scooping crushed egg shells into plant pot

Egg shells are another item that are generally just tossed away but can actually be advantageous to your garden. Once you crack the egg, keep the egg shell to the side. Wash it, then let the egg shell dry.

Once it's dried, crush the shells into small pieces. The pieces can then be spread near certain plants like peppers.

Fireplace Ashes

After fireplace ashes have completely cooled, they can be used as a fertilizer. Simply sprinkle them over your garden and rake them into the soil.

Fireplace ashes are a great fertilizer because they contain potassium and calcium carbonate, both of which help gardens thrive.

Grass Clippings

grass clippings on lawn

Grass clippings are another cheap alternative to fertilizer. To do so, save the clippings and combine them with water in a bucket. Let the mixture sit for a few days.

The water part of the mixture can be put in spray bottles or watering cans along with equal parts of clean water and then applied to leaves.

Epsom Salt

Epsom salt—no, not table salt—can be mixed with water to create a solution that can be used in your garden. Mix one tablespoon of Epsom salt and one gallon of water. Stir thoroughly, then put the mixture into spray bottles.

You can water your plants with this as often as once a month.

Fish Tank Water

man draining fish tank water for fertilizer

If you have fish, or friends with fish, the water in their tank is a great, natural fertilizer option. The water is heavy on nitrogen and other nutrients. Simply use the water from the tank anytime you water your plants. You will be able to see the benefits in no time at all.

These are all great options for DIY fertilizer that are easy and cost-effective to make yourself. More importantly, they work. Any of the abovementioned fertilizer options will help your garden look its best and stay healthy for years to come.