Making Liquid Fertilizers Explained

How to Make Your Own Liquid Fertilizers

One simple method is to make compost tea by steeping compost in water for a few days, allowing the beneficial microorganisms and nutrients to infuse into the liquid. Another option is to blend various organic materials, such as seaweed, fish emulsion, or plant-based ingredients like alfalfa meal or nettles, with water to create a nutrient-rich solution. These mixtures should be strained before use to remove any solid particles that could clog sprayers or drip irrigation systems.

When making your own liquid fertilizers, it’s essential to research the specific needs of the plants you intend to feed, as different species have varying nutritional requirements. It’s also crucial to properly dilute the concentrated liquid fertilizers before applying them to your plants to avoid burning or damaging them.


The Best Liquid Fertilizer

The different liquid fertilizers should be used in different ways, for example, a banana peel liquid fertilizer is great for blooming plants. Comfrey, alfalfa, compost, and manure teas are great general liquid fertilizers that can be used for overall growth and help with blooming. They do have different brew times, but they can be individually brewed and combined after being diluted because they have different dilution ratios. Liquid fertilizers are best for botanical gardens and landscaping, but they can also be used in a food garden as a second feeding for the heavy feeding crops.



You can make your own comfrey liquid feed for your plants in the comfort of your home. You only need to soak comfrey leaves for 2 -3 days and then store the liquid in a dark, cool place. Then, add water to dilute it to the correct consistency with a 1 to 10 ratio of 1 part fertilizer to 10 parts of water, and use the mixture to fertilize your plants.

Comfrey tea should be covered as best as possible with the container in a spot that is not around your home because this stinky brew reeks when the decomposition process starts. This deep-rooted and fast-growing plant produces a large amount of plant matter with leaves that are a good source of nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium as well as other nutrients.

It can be harvested 2 to 3 times during a growing season and if you have more than enough plant material to make the tea, then the rest of the plant material can be turned into the soil. If you want to grow comfrey, choose a plant from the Bocking 14 variety which does not spread by seed. Plant them two to eight inches deep and you’re all set. Comfrey can be grown in potting containers if you don’t have the extra room.


The leaves of the comfrey plant have hairs on the leaves that can irritate your skin. Harvest can begin when the leaves are about one and a half feet long and only harvest the outer leaves unless winter is approaching. This will keep the plant alive and growing for more harvesting later in the growing season.

Chopping the plant up makes the decomposition process faster but they can also be placed in a bucket or drum. Fill the container to half full or three-quarters full of the plant material. Make sure to press the plant material down firmly and if you like, you can place bricks or some large rocks to help compress the mass.

Depending on the amount of material will depend on whether a five-gallon bucket or a fifty-five-gallon drum will be needed and is preferably made of metal. Fill the rest of the container with chlorine-free water and let it set for 3 to 6 weeks and ferment. Keep a lid on the container at all times to prevent mosquitoes from invading the container and rainwater from diluting the mixture.



If you’re looking for a natural fertilizer for your garden, then consider making your own alfalfa fertilizer tea. Alfalfa is a good source of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium which are the three main nutrients for plant growth. They also contain calcium, zinc, sulfur, iron, magnesium, and boron. Their organic matter is great for feeding the microorganisms in the soil which in turn help them to make happy and healthy plants.


To prepare your own alfalfa tea just simply combine one pound of chopped alfalfa hay with five gallons of clean chlorine-free water. Let the mixture sit for seven to ten days for maximum benefits but the longer you steep it, the stronger it is. Alfalfa pellets can be soaked for 24 hours in a five-gallon bucket with 24 cups of pellets.

Alfalfa pellets have been shown to greatly reduce an infestation of nematodes, which are known to attack tomato plants and cyst nematodes which are known to attack carrots. They are easy to add to the soil before tilling by just casting them out by hand.


One of the easiest ways to provide your garden with natural liquid fertilizer is to make tea with manure. To make this using a five-gallon, fill it about three-quarters of the way with some manure and fill the rest with water and let sit for at least 24 hours.

Once steeped, the tea can be strained through a cheesecloth or paint strainer. The resulting mixture will be rich in nutrients and is ideal for a variety of garden plants. The dilution ratio is 5 to 1 with the tea being 1 part fertilizer to 5 parts water. The benefits of manure tea are multifaceted, it is best used on young seedlings and plants as it will boost their nitrogen content, which will promote healthy growth. The manure used to make the tea can be reused in the compost pile or in the garden with a dilution ratio of one quart to one gallon of chlorine-free water.


Earthworm Casting Tea

These tiny creatures produce a lot of organic matter that can be used on your garden plants. You can simply apply the worm castings to the soil when you plant a new plant, or you can add them to the soil of your new raised bed. You can also spread it around the base of established plants, like tomatoes and peppers.

In addition to providing essential plant nutrients, earthworm castings also improve the structure of the soil. Worm bins can be purchased or built but make sure you use a container that allows them to breathe. Worms require a dark and warm environment to thrive. Make sure that you place the bin in an area with good drainage. Ideally, you should use a shallow wooden box with drainage holes.

Worm castings work as an excellent liquid fertilizer because they are naturally pH neutral, which makes it easier for plants to absorb nutrients. Worm castings also increase soil aeration, they are odorless, and they can also be used as a container plant fertilizer. If you have acidic soil, you can mix worm castings with natural organic fertilizer to get measured output.


If you don’t want to add compost to your plants, there is another option. You can put the compost into a fine mesh bag and soak it in a 5-gallon bucket or 55-gallon drum. The compost should only be brewed for about 24 hours and if brewed for longer then you will run the risk of promoting the growth of E. coli and salmonella. Compost tea needs to be diluted at a ratio of 4 cups of compost tea to 1 gallon of water.


Ammonia fixes nitrogen from the air into the soil and is used in about 80% of food production in the United States. For best results, it is suggested to use one teaspoon of pure ammonia per gallon of water and spray it on the ground. If you see signs of fertilizer burn such as the leaves turning brown then it is recommended to give the affected area a deep and slow watering. This will drive some extra nitrogen deeper into the soil.

Because plants need more than just nitrogen to grow, an ammonia fertilizer is best used after growing daikon radishes as a cover crop. Before the radishes produce seeds, the field or garden should be mowed, and the soil is tilled. As the radishes decompose in the soil, they release phosphorus and potassium into the soil, and this is when the ammonia should be applied.


Banana Peels

Bananas are high in potassium, phosphorus, and calcium which help root growth, growth of foliage and blooms, and helps to promote the overall growth and health of any plants. Three banana peels can be soaked in water for at least three days and added to the plants with no need to dilute the mixture.

Another method is to place about three peels in a blender with about a cup of water and give them to any plants that need them. An over-ripened banana can also be blended with a cup of water and added to any plant.


The amount of banana peel tea will depend on the number of flowering plants you will be feeding.

  • Chop up the peel of one whole banana
  • Add to any quart-size glass jar
  • Fill the jar with water.
  • Let the peels set for 3 days
  • Strain the liquid into another jar and add what is left over into the compost pile
  • Dilute the concentrate with a dilution ratio of 1 part concentrate to 5 parts water.

An example of the dilution ratio is 1 cup of concentrate to 5 cups of water.

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Joel Simon

As a kid, Joel found enjoyment in caring for the many houseplants he grew up with, learning how to transplant them safely, cloning them, and more. At about the age of 10, he wanted to see if he could sprout an orange seed from a store-bought orange and ended up using it as a science experiment in a school project. Throughout the many years of gardening, he has helped many friends and family set up their food and botanical gardens. After years of caring for plants, he was talking with other gardeners and discovering old methods of farming and botanical gardening. Joel has decided to share his knowledge for others to enjoy as he has for many years.

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