No Waste Kitchen Garden: Homemade Plant Food

Homemade Plant Food
(Image credit: Sasiistock, iStock)

Did you know you can make fertilizer with things you have around your house? It's true! Here are some easy ways to feed your plants with household items you probably already have.

Coffee Grounds

Coffee grounds are rich in nitrogen, plus they add organic matter to the soil, aerate it, and help with water retention. After brewing your coffee, simply add a few spoonfuls of grounds directly to the top of the soil around your plant. (Don't use grounds that haven't already been brewed-- these are too acidic and can hurt your plants).


Eggshells are packed with calcium, which is essential for plants. You can simply crush your shells over your soil, or you can pulverize them into an easy-to-apply, easy-to-absorb powder. To do this, boil your eggshells for five minutes, then bake them in the oven at 350 degrees F. (176 C.) for 15 minutes. Next, grind them into a fine powder in a food processor. Sprinkle the powder directly onto your plants' soil, and water immediately after.

Banana Peels

Roughly chop your banana peel, then soak it in water for at least five hours. Strain this mixture through a sieve and use the nutrient-packed liquid you get to water your plants.

Epsom Salt

You're not as likely to have this one, but you might! Epsom salt helps plants grow greener and bushier and helps them take up nutrients. Simply mix 1 to 2 tablespoons (15-30 ml.) into 1 gallon (4 L.) of water and use it to water your plants.

DIY Plant Food Recipe

You can combine all these ingredients to make one big powerful fertilizer. Just mix together the following:

  • 1 tablespoon used coffee grounds (15 ml.)
  • 1 teaspoon Epsom salt (5 ml.)
  • handful chopped banana peel
  • handful crushed eggshell
  • pitcher of water

Let this mixture soak for at least six hours, then strain it into a watering can, and water your plants to give them a boost of nutrients!

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Armen Adamjan
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Armen Adamjan, the power behind Creative Explained online, is the author of the popular books, Don’t Throw it Out, editions one and two.