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5 Animal-Free Fertilizers for Your Home Garden

2. Liquid Herbal Infusions

Many of the most common plants, even some that are considered pests, can be full of important minerals such as nitrogen, iron, calcium, magnesium, and sulfur. These “wonder weeds” include nettle, dandelion, oat straw, horse tail, and comfrey, to name a few.

It’s easy to make a strong infusion from any of these, by chopping them up and allowing them to steep in a bucket of water in the sun. Once the brew is good and strong, it can be used to supplement your vegetables or fruit trees.

3. Seaweed

Sea vegetables are an excellent source of trace minerals, like sodium, copper, zinc, and more. Many gardeners overlook the importance of these lesser minerals, because they’re so focused on the coveted trio, N-P-K. However, over time soil can become depleted of trace minerals, and plants can really begin to suffer.

Seaweed is sold as liquid or meal (often labeled as kelp). There are many brands available, so check out your local nursery.

4. Mulch With Straw

Mulching is a technique whereby the garden bed is covered with some sort of barrier – in this case straw – either over the winter or in order to prepare a new plot for planting. The benefit of mulching with straw is that the organic matter slowly breaks down and “feeds” the soil. Mulching also encourages worms to live underneath, and worms are the perfect ingredient for healthy, happy dirt.

5. Nitrogen-Fixing Crops

Also called “green manure,” this is another technique that uses actual plants to create an organic fertilizer. The nitrogen-gathering plants are allowed to grow for just a short while, and then they’re tilled into the ground. The cover crops provide a protection from weeds, while turning them under returns the nitrogen to the soil. The most common crops used for green manure are wheat, oats, rye, vetch, clover, peas, and broad beans.

Do you have any other animal-free fertilizing tips or tricks? Let us all know down in the comments!

Related:
What’s Hiding in Your Organic Fertilizer?
9 Surprising Items Made With Animal Ingredients
8 Ways to Compost

Read more: Conservation, Eco-friendly tips, Environment, Green, Home, Household Hints, Lawns & Gardens, Nature, Vegan

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78 comments

+ add your own
10:42PM PDT on Aug 11, 2012

Great info ~ thank you!

11:06PM PDT on Aug 7, 2012

Very helpful!

8:25AM PDT on Jul 31, 2012

Interesting and useful information, gardening is a pleasure and it gets hungry.

3:53PM PDT on Jul 27, 2012

Very useful.

12:25PM PDT on Jul 26, 2012

Didn't know that!!! Thanks.

11:41AM PDT on Jul 26, 2012

Compost happens, its easy......

4:40AM PDT on Jul 26, 2012

thanks for posting this

12:36AM PDT on Jul 26, 2012

Thanks for the post!

11:38PM PDT on Jul 25, 2012

Thanks , I do compost also sprinkle garden w/ coffee grinds , Its good for the plants
and deters insects .

8:47PM PDT on Jul 25, 2012

Thanks for the informartion and your post.

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