Is there anything better than enjoying the beautiful weather in your own garden? Gardening is fun and good for the mind and soul. Sustainability is one of the biggest gardening trends of 2022, and more and more amateur gardeners are choosing to grow their own fruit and vegetables. After all, everything from your own cultivation tastes much better. In addition to sun, air and water, plants need sufficient nutrients to bloom beautifully and produce a bountiful harvest. They get these quite conveniently when fertilizing. However, you should not immediately reach for the chemical agents from the store. To save your wallet and promote optimal plant growth, you could use kitchen scraps as fertilizer, for example. Whether it’s banana peels, eggshells, coffee grounds or rhubarb leaves, organic waste is full of nutrients and too good for the trash. We’ll explain exactly how fertilizing with kitchen waste works and which method is suitable for which plants in our article in a moment.
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What should you look for when fertilizing with kitchen scraps?
Food waste has become a global problem in recent years and every year a whole mountain of food ends up in the garbage can. In Germany alone, about 6.7 million tons of food waste are generated each year. Yet some kitchen waste is too good for the garbage and can be recycled in many ways. For example, you could not throw away cucumber peels and use them against ants in the house instead. Sprinkle coffee grounds in the flower bed or water the plants with stale beer? Kitchen scraps as fertilizer work great and are undoubtedly one of the biggest gardening trends of 2022.
To encourage plant growth, use only organic fruit and vegetable scraps to fertilize with kitchen scraps. Exotic fruits in particular, such as bananas, are often exposed to large amounts of insecticides and fungicides. It is also important to know the pH of the soil. To prevent possible mold growth and so that the nutrients are better absorbed, you should first chop up the leftovers well and dry them. A layer of mulch is also ideal to protect the soil from drying out.
Kitchen scraps as fertilizer: fertilize plants with coffee grounds.
The next time you’ve had your morning espresso, don’t throw away the coffee grounds. Coffee not only perks people up, it can also have a positive effect on our plants. Coffee grounds contain potassium, phosphorus and nitrogen – active ingredients that are crucial for healthy plant growth. While potassium and phosphorus stimulate flower formation, nitrogen promotes shoot growth. To use coffee grounds as fertilizer, you should first collect them and let them dry well. Then either mix it with the potting soil or sprinkle it under the plant and you’re done – it’s that easy to use kitchen waste as fertilizer. You can fertilize the following plants with coffee grounds:
Eggshells as plant fertilizer
Eggs are best for a balanced breakfast and the eggshells also provide a good “meal” for our plants. Eggshells are 90% calcium and are therefore perfect for fertilizing with kitchen scraps. Calcium improves nutrient uptake and is ideal for regulating soil pH. In addition, eggshells also hide other important nutrients, such as copper, phosphorus and iron, which contribute to a bountiful harvest. This natural fertilizer is especially ideal for garden plants that are watered mainly with rainwater. But before you use eggshells as a plant fertilizer, first be sure to check the lime content of the soil and water. If the value is too high, it is better to abandon this method.
To use eggshells for fertilizing with kitchen waste, you should first break them into very small pieces. To make sure that there are no yolk or egg white residues on them, rinse the eggshells thoroughly. Otherwise, you may attract bugs and after all, we don’t want that, do we? After you have crushed the eggshells, work them into the top layer of soil. Alternatively, you can make a natural liquid fertilizer yourself by adding the shells to the irrigation water.
Eggshells as fertilizer are ideal for the following plants:
- Christmas roses
Fertilizing with banana peels
Bananas are ideal for a power breakfast, and the banana peels themselves are also too good for the trash. They contain plenty of important nutrients that benefit our plants and stimulate flower and leaf formation. These include calcium, potassium, magnesium, and small amounts of sulfur and nitrogen. Especially for flowering perennials and roses, banana peels are ideal for fertilizing with kitchen scraps. However, to prevent pesticides and fungicides from getting into the soil, you should only use organic quality bananas. And this is how banana peels can be used as fertilizer:
- First, chop the banana peels with a knife or in a blender. The smaller the pieces, the faster the nutrients reach the plants.
- Let the banana pieces dry in the sun for a few hours and then work them into the soil.
- Alternatively, you can make a banana decoction by soaking the peels in water for 24 hours. Then strain and water the plants with it as usual.
Kitchen scraps as fertilizer: use rhubarb leaves to fertilize.
Whether as mousse, compote or juicy cake – rhubarb is simply part of summer. But instead of throwing away the inedible rhubarb leaves, you can use kitchen waste as fertilizer. A potassium deficiency can cause the stems or leaves of your plants to turn yellow. And since rhubarb leaves are rich in potassium, they are ideal for a natural plant fertilizer. To promote plant growth and encourage leaf emergence, make a rhubarb leaf decoction and then use it as a natural fertilizer.
Here’s how to make your own rhubarb leaf decoction:
- First, chop the leaves with a knife and add them to a pot of water in a 1:1 ratio.
- Bring to a boil and remove the pot from the heat.
- Let the leaves steep for 30-40 minutes and then strain through a sieve.
- Water the plants with the collected water.
Rhubarb leaves as a fertilizer is ideal for vegetable plants that have a higher potassium requirement. These include celery, zucchini, tomatoes and potatoes, for example.
Fertilize plants with beer
Do you have a stale beer in the fridge? Then don’t tip it away! You can actually use it to fertilize with kitchen scraps. Even if it no longer tastes good, the barley juice is rich in valuable nutrients that stimulate flower formation and prolong its life. To do this, simply mix the beer with water in a ratio of 1:2 and water your plants with it once or twice a month. Beer as a fertilizer is ideal for all indoor, balcony and garden plants that are exposed to a lot of light during the summer months.