How to make your own fertiliser using easy to find ingredients

Homemade plant feeds Clare Bowes

In this podcast, I talk to Nigel Palmer, author of The Regenerative Grower’s Guide to Garden Amendments.  Nigel’s book is full of recipes for amendments that make excellent liquid and foliar feeds for all plants. These feeds can help you to achieve optimal harvests from containers – and improve plant health and vitality at the same time.

The book is informed by a lot of research to locate recipes from around the world, including from ancient farming practices and countries like Korea. Nigel has then put all the recipes into practice in his garden so that he can share his experience.

Foliar feeding © Clare Bowes
Many of the recipes in Nigel’s book make excellent foliar feeds. I’m using a pump sprayer but an old cleaning spray bottle works just as well (thoroughly washed out first).

An exciting feature of the recipes is that they offer a low cost and sustainable way to feed plants in the city. And many of the ingredients Nigel uses are not too difficult to source in urban areas. Some are waste products that would otherwise go to landfill like egg shells, mussel shells, and fish waste. If you don’t have these at home, Nigel encourages us to make links with places like restaurants or markets that do.

Comfrey Fertiliser that doesn’t smell disgusting!

If you’ve ever made traditional comfrey tea in a bucket you’ll know how foul it smells. So good news: Nigel has a different way to make liquid comfrey fertiliser that actually smells quite pleasant. And the same process works with dandelions, nettles, weed leaves and even fish waste.

I tried making some of Nigel’s amendments for the first time last year (in photo at top of page).  I really enjoyed using natural homemade feeds. And I found my plants responded very well to them.

You can  watch a YouTube video Nigel made on how to make a sugar ferment fertiliser here, and a vinegar one here. And checkout his website and excellent book, published by Chelsea Green.

Your Turn

Have you tried making any of your own plant feeds? Did you discover anything you’d like to share from the experience? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.



1 thought on “How to make your own fertiliser using easy to find ingredients”

  1. Laura Harden-Chaters

    I make onion and garlic spray for aphids. Use old Rhubarb leaves also, wormeries tea, egg shells ground and put in compost

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