What keeps us healthy? Well, we all can prepare a list of activities that keep us fit but the one that tops it all will be diet habits! What we think we become and what we eat will reflect – on our health! Though we get a variety of foods from different sources, plants are the primary source of a rich nutritious meal. Having said this, is it not our turn to take care of them well?
Here we will discuss the diet list for your garden to keep them healthy throughout the year.
Though most of the plants have humble needs – sunlight, water and soil, lush growth is achievable only when the plants are fed well. The more we take care of them, the more they give us in return! Taking care of the plants’ needs is an art and seeing them grow healthy is something we would cherish!
Regular watering and ample light availability, though being the priority, are not sufficient to sustain their growth through all the seasons. The soil they are in has to be richly supplied with nutrients regularly. The depletion of the soil nutrient level may lead to poor growth developments in them. Happy plants are healthy plants when their feed is taken care of well.
Fertilisers are plant feeds that are rich in nutrients. They are readily available in the markets and can be used as and when needed. However, preparing the compost at home and feeding our homegrown plants always has a special touch and gives us immense satisfaction equivalent to taking care of our family’s health. Homemade fertilisers are organic, can be prepared anytime with the simple wastes in our kitchen and have fewer or no synthetic chemicals. This method takes us to the olden days’ of preparation style (devoid of machines/chemicals) when men used to feed their farms with fertilisers made by hand – at home, with most plant and animal wastes.
Just like us, plants also need minerals such as calcium, nitrogen, potassium, phosphorous, and sulphur. Finding these in our home is no big deal. Vegetable wastes, cooking water, and aquarium water are loaded with nutrients that can be turned into soil enrichments! Here, we can find how the kitchen wastes are turned into healthy feed for the plants.
Egg Shells Manure – Calcium fertiliser
Eggshells are rich in calcium carbonate. Calcium is an important nutrient for plants to build strong cell walls.
Here is the way to add this calcium-rich fertiliser :
Rinse out the eggshells with water. Dry them and grind the egg shells up in a blender or with a mortar and pestle. Till them into the soil. Store the excess egg shells in a glass jar.
It takes several months for the eggshells to break down and be absorbed by the plants.
Eggshells reduce the acidity level in the soil and improve fertility.
Banana peels are rich in Potassium, Magnesium, Phosphorus and Calcium. These minerals promote the stronger growth of stems and roots in plants. This fertilizer is easy to make yet very effective. Here are the ways to add the banana nutrients:
Slurry: Soak the banana peels in water and then blend them into a slurry. Add this slurry into the soil near the plant.
Fertiliser tea with banana peels: Soak the banana peels into the jar with water for a week. Remove the peels, dilute the tea with water and spray it at the bottom of the plants. This liquid is acidic and hence diluting this will reduce the acidity. Soak more banana peels for a strongly acidic solution.
Cut the peels into tiny pieces and mix them into the soil. These pieces get decomposed adding nutrients to the soil
Blended kitchen scraps
Add the vegetable peels and the egg shells to a blender. Make a slurry and mix this with the soil. This provides a mixture of all the nutrients and enhances soil fertility.
The water used for washing and cooking vegetables, rice, pasta, and lentils can be collected in a bucket. This can be later used to water the plants. This water is rich in nutrients that are needed for the plants’ growth. This is a very easy, quick, eco-friendly, and cost-effective method. We not only fertilise the soil here but also recycle the water! But make sure the water is cool and not hot while adding them to the plants.
Alternatively, all the kitchen scraps consisting of vegetable peels, fruit peels and others can be soaked in this water for about 8-10 hours. The soaked matter can be added to the compost bin later. The water, thus obtained, can be used to water the plants.
Aquarium water is filled with all nutrients and microorganisms from fish waste. These nutrients are essential for the growth of plants.
Epsom salt is magnesium sulphate. Add 1 tablespoon of Epsom salt to 3.5 litres of water and this mixture is rich in magnesium and sulphur. This provides very good nutrition for vegetable plants and roses.
Vermicomposting or worm composting is the decomposition process carried out by the worms such as earthworms to create a rich, dark soil that acts as plant manure. The worms are made to feed on the green kitchen wastes to create a nutrient-rich matter that is added to the soil for healthy plant growth. These worms need air, water, food and warmth to living and breed. By adding these worms to containers full of organic waste matter you can produce vermicompost.
While a variety of compost bins are available in the market, this composting needs only a simple plastic / wooden container with some holes drilled in it and a cool, dark place at home. The steps are as follows:
- Soak shredded newspaper, shredded cardboard, coconut fibres and dry cow dung cakes in water for some time. Drain the excess water.
- Place these materials at the bottom of the worm bin.
- Add some earthworms to the soil they live into. Let the worms act on this bedding for a week.
- Start adding layers of kitchen waste (fruits, vegetable peels, egg shells, coffee grounds, tea bags, and tea leaves) once a week. Avoid adding meat, dairy, oily foods and citrus fruits peels/wastes to this.
- While giving a fresh feed, ensure the worms had acted upon completely on their earlier food.
- Remove excess water at the bottom of the bin as and when required.
- The compost preparation takes a time span of 3 to 6 months.
The vermicompost thus obtained are very rich in nutrients. They are mixed with the soil to improve its fertility and thus aid in plant growth.
Thus, we can opt for the above-discussed ways for eco-friendly, cost-effective, easy-to-make plant food to take care of our green companions!!!