There is an immense amount of information out there about what products to use and how to begin a home garden that it can become overwhelming which is just the opposite of what a garden should be. Here are some of the most cost effective ways to bring nutrients back to your soil and start your very first garden chemical free and full of nutrients.
Cheap Natural Gardening Tips to Add More Nutrients to Your Soil
Compost Compost Compost
Creating a space for organic growth that will provide the nutrients necessary is viable through composting. Start a composting pile with what are considered your “greens,” and your “browns” leftover veggie peelings, fruit waste, tea bags, plant prunings, grass, eggs, scrunched up paper and so much more. These all help provide nitrogen and moisture important for healthy soil. Avoid cooked foods and meats and dairy. They attract unwanted pests and create an unpleasant smell after time. A few weeks before planting time add a few inches of your compost to your soil. In 2-4 weeks once the plants have begun to grow, add some of your compost around the plant’s base for weed control and moisture retention. It also slowly releases nutrients when watered. The more organic matter you get into your compost the better.
Utilize those leaves that you are going to have to rake up anyway and repurpose them into leaf mold for your garden. Leaf mold is basically broken down partially decomposed leaves. You can easily break up your leaf piles by running over the leaves with a lawnmower a few times. Leaf mold can hold up to 500 percent its weight in water helping to retain moisture in the soil, absorbing rainwater and on hot days cooling down roots and foliage. When the leaves become soft and crumbly incorporate it right into the soil.
This is an organic cost effective way to add a source of calcium, magnesium, potassium, and iron; one tablespoon provides up to 20% of the USDA daily value of each of those nutrients. Blackstrap molasses is the most effective route but any of the unsulfured forms of molasses will work as well. Other than the natural minerals, the natural sugar content will feed the microorganisms in the compost or soil of the garden.
Coffee grounds help add necessary nitrogen to your compost pile. You can very literally just throw your used coffee grounds, filter and all onto the compost pile. Keep in mind that coffee is a green composting material which needs to be balanced out with brown. If you want to use the coffee grounds as a fertilizer simply add the grounds into the soil around your plants.
These little earth dwellers are great helpers to a successful garden. They eat the organic matter (compost) which then breaks down into smaller pieces making it easier for bacteria and fungi to feed on it and turn it into nutrients for your plants. They help increase the amount of water and air that gets into the soil. They leave behind castings (a mixture of manure and the slime from their bodies) that are great fertilizer and their burrowing creates a drainage system. These wiggly little ones are quite the helpers in any garden.
Odd but true. It naturally contains nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus, the same three things that are in conventional fertilizers and it is readily available and sustainable! Find a system that works for you and once a day or so gather the cumulated urine and put it in a watering can dilute 5 to 10 parts water and sprinkle the tinkle mixture onto the soil around your plants. Avoid spraying directly onto the plants. Any odor is gone almost immediately after being added to the soil. Urine can be added to your compost as well.
Mixing plants and crop rotation is key in keeping your soil healthy and happy. Some plants provide lots of organic matter that feeds the other plants, some root systems pull from far below and some spread horizontally to keep topsoil and other root systems in place. Some even repel insects. Having a mixture of produce is not the no that you might have assumed. Mix it up. If you’re really feeling brave adding edible flowers to the mix is a great touch. Not only does it add to the aesthetic of your new garden but to your dinner plate! Edible flowers are a great addition to any salad, as well as teas and even alcoholic beverages.