How And Why To Create Homemade Organic Fertilizers
Organic fertilizers can save you money and boost your yields. Here’s an overview on how and why you should make your own homemade fertilizer. You won’t regret it!
It has never been easier to start growing cannabis. The sheer amount of products and options available can be overwhelming, but they are all intended to make your life easier. That does not mean new systems will be cheaper or more effective than traditional methods for tending to your plants. It really depends on the scale of your operation and your goals as a cultivator.
SYNTHETIC VS ORGANIC FERTILIZERS
There seem to be two distinct schools of thought; one involves modern, petrochemical-intensive monoculture production, where sterile conditions and precise metric manipulation of variables are intended to maximise production. Bottled nutrients with strict NPK values and a short pH-range are utilised to minimise deficiencies and support robust growth.
The other technique is the organic or “natural” way, in which plants are grown without petrochemical influence. In this scenario, what is really happening is you are feeding the soil microbiology, which in turn directly feeds the roots all of their favourite munchies in just the right proportions.
New, inexperienced growers need some time to delve into the intricacies of each method – organic vs synthetic. Analyse the pros and cons, then get going with growing! You will surely change your mind on numerous subjects as you develop your green thumb.
ARE BOTTLED PRODUCTS WORTH IT?
As time passes, you will soon start to notice that most of what you buy in a bottle is either exceedingly expensive, wasted, or easily substituted at a fraction of the price with your own concoctions.
Take into consideration that most bottled fertilizers, be they synthetic or organic, lose some of their price value due to the high water content contained within. It is also extremely complicated to mix everything a plant needs into a stabilised bottle. There are limits to chemistry and plant physiology. Nutritional performance is surely lost to bottled convenience.
MAKING YOUR OWN FERTILIZER
Making you own fertilizer can get quite addictive. Not only will you save a significant amount of money in the long-run, you will also begin to understand plant nutrition to a much greater extent, learn to dial-in exactly what your plants require, and ultimately, harvest bigger and better-tasting buds.
Are you throwing away your premium-price bagged soil after each crop or heavily dosing your plants with nutrients and additives without any significant increase in yield?
If so, simply read on.
HOMEMADE FERTILIZER: WHAT DO PLANTS EAT?
We will not go too deep into this subject, rather, we shall quickly provide some basic concepts. Surely you have seen “NPK” mentioned before. These are the macronutrients – the big players in a plant’s health and development.
- N – nitrogen
- P – phosphorus
- K – potassium
Along with these macros, we also have micronutrients, referred to as trace elements. These are metals and minerals that the plant needs in very small quantities, yet are of equal importance as NPK for healthy plant growth. Examples include calcium, magnesium, copper, iron, zinc, manganese, cobalt, iodine, selenium, molybdenum.
We also include vitamins and acids here, along with other organic compounds.
Fertilizer manufacturers essentially mix these and attempt to chemically stabilise them for bottling, transportation, and shelf-life. Any given nutrient line is just that brand’s take on a full nutritional plan; all of them claim to be better than the rest.
The secret to a grade-A yield is the right proportion of these constituents at the right time. In this sense, these nutrient lines are quite convenient.
But there is simply no replacement for creating or supplementing with your own, homemade organic fertilizer. In fact, that is what the best of growers do on a regular basis. With some experimentation, you will soon understand how easy this is, and what a difference organic soil makes in your garden.
The main reason for making organic nutrients is quite simple; they can be extremely cheap (or free), and you can make them in your backyard or kitchen with household appliances. They are often very easy to make, are not dangerous, and ultimately, are more environmentally friendly.
Composting, for instance, can save you a ton of hard-earned cash. After a harvest, the soil you used needs to be “recharged”. Most indoor tent growers simply throw away the depleted soil and buy a fresh new bag. That means lugging bags in and out and buying new soil each run. If you start composting all your organic food waste along with your used soil, magic happens. The soil is literally recycled and recharged with all the necessary microbiology and high-quality food your plants need. It will contain everything – NPK, trace elements, and an army of agro-bacteria and mycos to colonise your rhizosphere.
HUNGRY HUNGRY CANNABIS
But cannabis can be a very hungry plant, and if you want those highly desired, heavy, and dense nugs, you need to supplement the base soil conditions. Since you technically do not feed your plants directly when growing in soil, we highly recommend getting into the habit of brewing your own bacteria. The technical term is Actively Aerated Compost Tea (AACT), but the slang terms “bennies”, “beneficial bacterial tea”, worm casting tea, or just compost tea are frequently used.
Regardless of terminology, they are simple to make. Prepare to be amazed. Not only will you create millions of little minions that will protect and feed your roots, you will also extract the best mineral and fungal properties of these soils into a tea, which you can directly feed to your roots, or use as a foliar spray against most common diseases.
If you are growing outdoors and/or your soil quality needs a serious boost, here are some common amendments.
If you need a nitrogen (N) boost, you can add worm castings, a chicken manure recipe, crustaceous meal, and/or bat guano. You can also use human urine, but be sure to dilute it at a ratio of 10:1 parts water to urine. Otherwise, the urine will turn to ammonia and harm your plants. Never pee directly on your plants, it will burn the roots!
If you need a phosphorous (P) boost, boil some banana peels and drench your soil. Let it ferment slightly for optimal onset. Bone and fish meals, chicken manure, and rock dust are also great sources of phosphorus. Rock dust, for instance, is a slow-release source, so it’s great to mix with your depleted soil for a crop-long source of P.
If you need a potassium (K) boost, banana peel, bat guano, fish meal, kelp, wood ash, compost, and siliceous rocks are all great sources.
The two micronutrients calcium and magnesium should be set aside, as these are particularly important, especially during bloom. Only after these reach optimum levels can the other trace elements function to their full potential.
Calcium – limestone, clay, chalk, gypsum
Magnesium – dolomite, magnesium sulfate (Epsom salts)
Other trace elements – azomite (trace nutrients and humic acid)
It is very rare to need to specifically boost other trace elements. They are present in the vast majority of soils and rocks. In fact, most of the amendments we suggested will excessively turbo-charge with trace elements, although this is not a bad thing.
Manure recipes are as old as agriculture itself. Man started to notice that where animals went to do their business, flora would flourish. Manure, to this day, continues to be one of the main agricultural inputs across the globe.
Manure recipes are a fantastic source of slow-release NPK, but they pose two medium-risk problems. If not properly composted or fermented, they can potentially present harmful pathogens to humans, animals, and plants. They can also be a bit tricky to balance with your base soil. So there is no right or wrong manure recipe choice, it depends on your region. Talk to local farmers to get a sense what works best.
- Sheep – Balanced and rich, but requires fermentation
- Goat – Similar to sheep, but stronger
- Cow – Not so rich, but easy to source and to work with
- Swine – Obsolete
- Chicken – Very rich, but usually exceedingly strong in NPK – be sure to dilute
- Rabbit – Best for composting and worm production, very rich
- Equine – Easy to work with and exceptionally great for pot flowers
TAKE IT A STEP FURTHER – GO VEGANIC!
If you are environmentally conscious, here is a quick note about “organic” fertilizers. Petrochemical fertilizers are really bad for the environment, but so are animal-derived products like bone or fish meals, among others.
First of all, the organic label is not a synonym of good, better, or correct. If you really care about the environment, be on the lookout for the OMRI certificate on bottles.
These animal by-products are industrial leftovers that are chemically treated and dehydrated to squeeze every last inch of profit possible out of the industrial process. They are far from being “organic”; they simply contain unadulterated organic raw materials before they are treated with synthetic chemicals. Way better that petrochemicals, but still, our environmental conscience and global warming efforts must not stop there.
Legendary, award-winning cannabis editor, writer, breeder, and activist Kyle Kushman is at the forefront of veganic (plant-based) cultivation of cannabis. Results are clear. If you respect millions of years of natural selection, you will be able to reach maximum genetic potential. Stop trying to cheat Mother Nature. She’s got dibs on experimentation and time.
THAT WAS WAY TOO COMPLICATED
If you are new to this, you may be suffering from information overload. How on earth could you ditch your handy bottles and get your hands dirty in cow dung?
We’re not suggesting that. In fact, we have barely scraped the surface of this subject. Entire books are dedicated to this very issue. It is tremendously difficult to condense so much information into so few words and make it pragmatically useful. We hope this is like a little seed of information to get you going in the right direction.
Above all, please understand that after you manage to get over the learning curve, it all is very simple!
BASIC HOMEMADE FERTILIZERS
To give you some perspective, you only need a bag of premium worm humus (if you are not composting yourself), a bucket, a strong pump, and an airstone; in 48h, you could breed enough aerobic bacteria, fungi, and trace minerals to make your plants go into turbo production mode. Do this every odd week during a crop cycle to net yourself a 20-40% increase in yield. It really is as simple as that.
Indoors or outdoors, you can compost your kitchen rejects like onion skins and egg shells or leftover salads; better still, use the stems and leaves from your last crop! To that, add some worms to drive your composting, and soon you will save tons on soil, recycling it into a world-class grow medium!
Don’t want to pay for kelp extract? If you live near the sea, just go out hunting for seaweeds and make your own seaweed infusion. And if you manage to do it right, it may well be more effective than the bottled version.
WORK YOUR WAY TO ORGANIC
If you are new to this, please do not feel overwhelmed with all these new terms. They are very similar, yet all slightly different. The trick is to understand your base growing medium, and what inputs you need to produce great results. Even pure hydroponics can benefit from organic additives.
We are not suggesting you ditch all commercial-grade nutrients. Rather, start supplementing those with your organic, homemade fertilizers. Baby steps.
Take it one extra level at a time. Eventually, you will notice that not only are your plants growing better, your bank account will grow too.
Little changes like adding compost teas will have a compounding effect. Your plants will grow more vigorously, and your soil will not deplete so aggressively.
Just by reading this article, you are halfway to a fully sustainable model. Feel free to experiment and adapt your methodology for a greener tomorrow.
FERMENTED PLANT JUICE (FPJ)
Fermented plant juice is a cheap and easy way to provide nutrients to your cannabis plants. This completely natural and organic method harnesses beneficial bacteria to break down plants into easily absorbed nutrients. It’s a simple way of creating super soil in your garden. FPJ is a product used commonly in Korean Natural Farming — a holistic cultivation approach that seeks to improve soil health through the use of indigenous microorganisms and the avoiding of chemicals.
Gardeners create FPJ using nutrient-dense plants and herbs such as comfrey, yarrow, stinging nettle, mugwort, aloe vera, horsetail, lambsquartres, and thistle. Some of these plants are viewed as common weeds and grow in most gardens. They’re a superb free source of plant nutrition! It’s best to harvest the young portions of these plants, which are particularly nutritionally-dense.
Some growers choose to use fruit instead of plants to create fermented fruit juice (FFJ). The concept here is the same — these natural products contain a wealth of nutrients that can be liberated by beneficial bacteria. Popular fruits include cantaloupe melons, apricots, berries, tomatoes, and sweet peppers.
Regardless of the source used, plant or fruit, bacteria are the real heroes here. These tiny beings conduct the metabolic process of fermentation. They extract energy from molecules and break down larger molecules into smaller ones. Essentially, they free up all the nutrition stored in fruits and plants.
These microorganisms feed on sugar and convert the energy source into alcohol. During this process, they create a nutrient-dense soup, which will provide your plant with many of the minerals they need for healthy growth. Sugar is also added to help pull nutrients and juices out of the plant material. This happens through the process called osmosis — the movement of solvent molecules from an area of low concentration to an area of high concentration.
HOW TO MAKE FERMENTED PLANT/FRUIT JUICE
Making your own FPJ or FFJ at home is super easy. Choose from the list of plants or fruits above and let’s get started.
Peel and cube your chosen fruit. If you’re using plants, chop them up into smaller pieces. If you’re using plants or fruits from your garden, don’t wash them! They possess beneficial bacteria that will enhance the fermentation process.
Weigh your fruit or plants before placing them into a large glass jar or a container. Add in an equal amount of brown sugar and mash up the plant material with a large spoon. Mix everything up to distribute the sugar all over the plant material.
Cover the opening of your jar or container with a piece of cheesecloth. Use an elastic band to keep it tightly attached. The small holes in the material will allow carbon dioxide created through fermentation to escape. Store the mixture in a cool and dark place for 7–14 days.
Strain the mixture through a fine sieve and pour it into bottles for storage. Keep them in the fridge until you’re ready to use them.
Add four tablespoons of mixture to about 3.5 litres of water and apply as a foliar spray or use for watering.
Did you know you can save a ton on fertilizer? We show you how with an overview of homemade organic fertilizers.
Marijuana Homemade Fertilizers, Easy and Simple
Natural home-made fertilizers
Cannabis, like any other plant, may also need extra help for better growth.
There are natural fertilizers that you can make yourself in a simple way.
Most plants can use a fertilizer or organic substrates to help them grow healthy, vigorous and full of vitality. Natural fertilizers have been used for centuries and have served to obtain abundant, disease-free crops with spectacular growth as they provide the plant with all the minerals and organic compounds it needs to grow healthy and strong.
Here we show you some of the best known and best results give for the crop of our beloved plant. 😉
However, if you prefer to use fertilizers available on the market, remember that in our “Fertilizers and Stimulants” section you can find them at the best price.
Coffee grounds, excellent fertilizer for the growth phase.
A fertilizer for the growth phase
The use of coffee grounds as a natural fertilizer has long been well known, and it is also one of the most commonly used homemade marijuana fertilizers.
Coffee grounds are acidic and favour the development of acetic bacteria in the substrate, containing about 2% nitrogen and other organic nutrients.
A good way to prepare a good cannabis fertilizer is to add the coffee grounds to your composting tank or composter, or to mix with the substrate at a proportion of 2 grams of coffee grounds for each liter of soil approximately, but you must control the pH well since they can make the substrate too acidic, try to keep it between 6 and 6.5 so that there are no problems. If you mix the coffee grounds with other homemade fertilizers, try not to exceed 20% in order not to decompensate.
Another way to use coffee is to dilute the coffee ground from the coffee machine in one liter of water, and let the mixture stand for 24 hours. After this time we already have a good dose of fertilizer for our plants. In this case, we do not use the sediment directly as fertilizer, but the mother water (water in contact with the unsoluble coffe ground) derived from the digestion of the sediment (sedimented coffee).
Wood ash, very effective in preventing pests.
Fertilizer for the final flowering phase
Always using wood from broadleaves trees; it’s another good natural fertilizer for marijuana. We can get the wood ashes from a barbecue made with logs or from a chimney in which we use only wood. The result of the wood combustion is a substance rich in potassium and phosphorus (10% in the form of potassium oxide), so we have a mineral fertilizer suitable for the final flowering phase, used individually or combined with some resin enhancer.
One way to prepare ash for fertilization is to collect it shortly after the wood has burned and store it in a dry place. It is best to apply it mixed with other organic substrates since it is almost exclusively mineral residue. A good mixture can contain from 1 to 2 grams of ash for each liter of substrate at most, which will provide food for your plants and are also very effective in preventing pests. Don’t overdo it by adding ashes because they raise the PH of the substrate and can make it very alkaline.
And now you may irrigate your cannabis plants in flowering phase with the nutrient solution. Another of the most useful homemade fertilizers for your collection.
Banana tea provides amino acids assimilated by the plant
Full cycle flowering fertilizer
This fruit is known for being one of the most potassium-rich natural products. Potassium is a key element, which is used in all stages of cannabis plant development, and is also one of the three main macronutrients component of NPK (you can see it on the label), which we can all see in regular commercial fertilizers.
Potassium helps the plant assimilate sugars, starches and carbohydrates in general, which is why it is so essential for the plant’s flowering, as it helps to increase energy reserves and the construction of complex carbohydrates that give structure to leaves, stems and buds.
Potassium is also essential because it is associated with the biosynthesis of proteins related to terpenes, the absorption of water by the roots and the regulation of the stomata cell guards for its opening and closing.
In addition to this essential element, banana tea also provides amino acids assimilated by the plant so that we can say that it is an organic-mineral fertilizer.
This tea is applied during the last six weeks of flowering. With this you will get up to 20% more fattening in your buds. It is a kind of PK that we use to make the flowers gain weight, density and hardness, since the dry skins of the bananas basically contain these elements:
- Phosphorus…………………… 3.25%
- Potassium…………………… 45%
A good fertilizer for marijuana, without a doubt, one of the best.
Nettle tea is a product that provides insect repellent plant active ingredients.
Fertilizer of foliar application and preventive insecticide
Nettle tea (urtica urens) rather than a fertilizer is a product that provides active plant principles of repellent activity on insects such as aphids, whiteflies and mites, but can also be considered fertilizer because of its high content in organic nitrogen and mineral components.
Its application is mainly foliar, although it can also be used in irrigation, and it is very easy to prepare since we only have to follow the same steps as in the banana tea preparation.
It has a strong and characteristic smell, there are even brands of biocides/fertilizers that commercialize this kind of preparations or fertilizers for cannabis like Agrobeta or General Hydroponics, even labeled as deficiency correctors. You can find it under the name of Nettle Purine, and its composition is based mainly on Nitrogen and Iron:
It’s a great product that enters us into organic farming as good natural fertilizers that they are.
Brewer’s yeast, rich in minerals, amino acids and proteins
Brewer’s yeast has normally been promoted as an excellent food for human use, but due to its wealth of minerals, amino acids and proteins it has been proposed as an excellent organic-mineral fertilizer, qualified also as a good natural fertilizer for plants.
How to use it to make organic compost for marijuana plants?
The preparation that we can make to fertilize consists of a small spoonful of beer yeast dissolved in a liter of water, we will obtain another good fertilizer, in this case for flowering of cannabis, since it is very rich in phosphorus and potassium. Prepare only the mixture that you are going to use in that moment, calculate the amount of water that you need to water, add a spoonful of beer yeast for each liter of water (teaspoon) stir well the mixture and water slowly until you see that it begins to drain water by the bottom of the flowerpots.
Due to its high content of other minerals and organic compounds we can consider this fertilizer as a multipurpose one for the whole plant cycle.
If you use it you will notice the difference!
Egg shell, calcium deficiency correcting fertilizer
Calcium deficiency correcting fertilizer
An excellent calcium corrector that we can use in our preparations with cannabis fertilizers are the homemade fertilizers based on eggshells. This type of fertilizer is used to offer an extra contribution of calcium to our cannabis plant, but in addition it is source of other elements, check out what a good distribution it has by each 100 grams of eggshell:
- Calcium ……………….. 380mg
- Magnesium …………. 375mg
- Phosphorus ……………. 99,3mg
- Potassium ……………. 41,6mg
- Iron ……………….. 0,5mg
It is prepared by crushing in a mortar or grinding 6 egg shells (try to leave the internal white membrane that remains stuck in the shell to take advantage of all the nutrients) and once they are reduced to their minimum expression they have to be boiled. To do this we put a pot with 2 liters of water on the fire, we add the crushed shells and a spoonful of Epson Salts, about 15 grams, and when the water starts to boil we wait 5 minutes while we stir the mixture.
After that time we remove the pot from the fire and cover it with a cloth for about 24 hours so that all the nutrients are released and remain in the water. Later we filter the water with the help of a kitchen strainer, and we already have prepared our homemade egg-shell based fertilizer for our cannabis plants, which can be applied directly, although it is advisable to always adjust the PH.
The ideal option is to use it as soon as possible, as it happens with all the homemade fertilizers, but if you keep it in a dark, fresh and dry place it can last up to 3 months.
Calcium deficiency is not very common in marijuana, since it is a very common component in irrigation water that is not distilled or osmotized, but bear in mind that the marijuana plant requires almost as much calcium as nitrogen, and that is why many commercial brands of fertilizers for hydroponics incorporate it in their formulas.
Mix the resulting nutrient solution with some fertilizer rich in nitrogen for the growth phase, or phosphorus and potassium for the flowering phase, although you can use it as calcium corrector directly as long as you take into account the pH value.
Animal faeces, one of the most universal fertilizers for marijuana
Full cycle fertilizer
Although it may not seem too pleasant, animal faeces are one of the most universal fertilizers for marijuana. It is a high-quality organic fertilizer. In order to use this type of homemade fertilizer for plants, it is necessary to collect the dried animal faeces from species such as sheep, goat, horse, rabbit, and cow, some bird species are also suitable, including the famous Guano, which is obtained from bats.
Before using this type of fertilizer you should know that some have to be composted for two months or more before adding it to your garden substrate, since the composting process kills the undergrowth seeds and transforms the nutrients into more useful forms for the plant. I explain below the differences between different types of home fertilizers made from manure and their doses:
- Cow manure: In conventional agriculture they do not wait for it to ferment, but they apply it far from the plants so as not to burn them, although it is not a very strong fertilizer. It is also used to heat the soil in cold areas, and is normally mixed at a rate of 1 to 5 kilos per m2 of soil.
- Rabbit manure: In this case it is essential to expose the rabbit faeces to the sun for several months as it is quite acidic and strong when fresh. In this case it is mixed between 100 and 400 grams per m2, you know that it is better to run a little short than to overdo it.
- Horse manure: It is necessary to leave it in the sun until it stops smelling, although it must be said that it is not very rich in nutrients. It can be added with a proportion similar to that of a cow, that is, from 1 to 5 kilos/m2, but the ideal is to apply it together with other fertilizers.
- Sheep or goat manure: It is the best because of the distribution of nutrients it contains, and it is much more powerful than cow or horse manure, so generally less quantity is needed, but you can add from 500 grams to 2 kilos/m2.
- Chicken manure: It is very acidic, even more so than rabbit manure, and it is not very rich in nutrients, except for the Calcium, which it contains in quantity, something that must be taken into account, since it should not be applied to basic or calcareous soils. The recommended dose is from 50 to 300 grams/m2 of soil.
Lentils or bean tea
Lentils or bean tea, root stimulants rich in auxins
Root stimulants rich in auxins
Auxins represent a very important group of phytohormones that regulate plant growth and phototropism (movement of leaves and stems in search of light), causing the branches to grow vertically by elongation of plant cells.
Auxins have been traditionally used in gel form for root development in cuttings and seedlings, as is the case of Clonex, one of the best known marijuana products, and although it is true that the Auxins work very well in synthetic form, we can also find them in nutrient solutions formed by organic products such as seaweeds, and teas made of seeds rich in auxins, as happens with certain species of beans and other vegetables.
This is one of the best homemade root stimulators that you can make yourself, you only need 100 grams of lentils or beans, 2 saucepans or casseroles, 2 cloths, water and 1 strainer, and the preparation is very simple, I explain it to you in 7 steps so you can understand it better:
- Put the 100 grams of lentils in a saucepan, add 1 liter of water and let it rest for 4 hours
- Place the strainer over the empty bucket and pour the water without the lentils, which we left in the bucket without water, and cover each bucket with a cloth.
- About 24 hours later we remove the clothes and mix the water with the lentils again, wait 15 minutes and repeat step 2.
- 1 day later we mix again the water with the lentils for another 15 minutes, and we have to keep doing this until the lentils germinate and their roots are at least 1 cm.
- Once the lentils have germinated and have a root, they must be crushed and left mixed with water for at least 1 hour to release all the hormones.
- We filter the water one last time and we have our special stimulator for the rooting phase, homemade and cheap.
You can use it directly in watering, and what you have left over remember to store it in a cool, dry and dark place for up to 3 months.
Another eco-friendly homemade cannabis fertilizer at your fingertips!!
And, if after reading all these ideas you don’t dare to make any of them, you will always have to go to your trustable grow shop and purchase a high quality manufactured fertilizer. In PEV Grow Shop we offer you fertilizers with specialization in hydroponic growing, showing a deep-rooted culture in nature and ecology.
One of the most complete fertilizer packs you can find at PEV Grow is the Canna Fertilizer Kit, with which you will have all the nutrients your plants need. This kit has 6 fertilizers that you can use depending on the phase of your plant is either growth or flowering.
Canna Fertilizer Kit
In any case, any brand that you choose, don’t forget to consult the fertilizer schedule charts that the manufacturer recommends, in order to optimize the results of your marijuana crop, either in yield, psychoactivity, aroma and flavor.
With this Canna Fertilizer Kit you will have all the food your plants need to cover the full crop cycle, and of course at the best price on your Grow Shop trusted.
Canna Fertilizer Kit is composed of:
– TERRA VEGA (1 Liter)
– CANNA BOOST (250 ml.)
– RHIZOTONIC (250 ml.)
– CANNAZYM (250 ml.)
– PK 13/14 (1 Liter)
– TERRA FLORES (1 Liter)
We hope you liked this post.
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Find out how to make your own fertilizers for marijuana ✅ Create your homemade fertilizers with organic products ⭐ 100% NATURAL!