Natural FertilizersUsing chemicals on lawns and plants is a hot topic. There’s growing concern about the effects of herbicides and pesticides on bees. How do you add nutrients to your garden and control pests without resorting to chemicals?

Go Natural in the Garden

One of the advantages to using natural fertilizers and pest repellents is that you probably have them around the house. Other pluses are:

• A chemical-free lawn is safe for your family
• Natural insect repellents don’t kill bees and their main food sources, clover and dandelions
• You can keep wildlife out of your garden without harming them

Most of these methods of fertilizing and protecting your garden are so easy and safe that your children can help you.

Five Natural Fertilizers and Pest Repellents

• Used coffee grounds are a fertilizer and rodent repellent
• Crushed eggshells are a fertilizer
• Hot sauce sends wildlife running
• Onion peelings repel wildlife and enrich soil
• Used dishwater (from hand-washing dishes) keeps bugs off your plants

How to Use Natural Fertilizers in Your Garden

Before starting to use any fertilizer, it’s best to get a soil test. Your landscaper can assist you. Crushed eggshells add nitrogen to the soil. Your soil may not need that.

It’s easiest to save eggshells in the carton. Keep them in the fridge, or they’ll draw fruit flies. You should wear a filter mask when crushing eggshells. Some gardeners like to break up a few eggshells with a sharp trowel and work them into the soil. This works best for container gardening and potted plants.

Coffee grounds are one of a gardener’s best friends. Dump the filter and grounds into an empty coffee can. You can work the grounds into the soil or sprinkle them on top to keep squirrels from digging up seeds and bulbs.

If you have particularly determined squirrels, place the used coffee filters over newly planted seeds for a few days. Seedlings will sprout under the filters as long as the pot or area gets direct sunlight. Water after applying coffee grounds.

Toss your onion scraps right into pots or your garden. The smell deters pests, and the plant material enriches the soil as it decays.

Hot sauce shouldn’t be put directly on plants. Sprinkle it around the garden border and apply it to the rims and sides of planters to make rodents run. The hotter it is, the better.

Dishwater has long been the secret of a beautiful flowerbed and healthy vegetables. Different gardeners swear by different brands of detergent, but the older, basic versions are recommended. You can throw the water in the dishpan over your flowerbed, pour it on plants that have a fungus, or mix water and dish soap in a spray bottle so you can cover the undersides of leaves. Dish soap gets rid of aphids and other insects that eat your plants. Don’t use soap meant for dishwashers in the garden.

Things to Remember:
• Wear a mask when crushing eggshells
• Get a soil test
• Strongly scented natural materials keep rodents away

Contact us today for all your gardening needs.