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Homemade Fertilizer Tea Recipes

Make these easy liquid fertilizers — then sit back and watch your seedlings and plants thrive! 

By Barbara Pleasant 

Add the amount of dry ingredients shown in the chart below to a 5-gallon bucket, then add water to fill, and steep for three days. Strain or decant the tea and dilute as shown below. To make fertilizer tea from urine, simply dilute the urine in 20 parts water, and it’s ready to use. Water plants with these solutions no more than once every two weeks.

Check out Free, Homemade Liquid Fertilizers for more information about liquid fertilizers and the many benefits of making your own.

Type  Amount  Dilute 
Dried chicken manure with wood shavings 1/5 bucket 1:1
Seaweed 1/5 bucket none
Fresh grass clippings 2/3 bucket 1:1
Urine   1:20

Contributing editor Barbara Pleasant gardens in southwest Virginia, where she grows vegetables, herbs, fruits, flowers and a few lucky chickens. Contact Barbara by visiting her website or finding her on .

Post a comment below.


3/18/2016 1:16:08 PM
We have thousands of wild Canadian Geese that migrate to our area. They leave tons of manure everywhere. Can the geese droppings be used for making fertilizer? How would one prepare it if it is usable?

1/26/2016 4:21:59 AM
I will try and give the results

6/20/2015 3:56:51 PM
2 years ago I burned brush, trunks and branches of mostly pine and oak right on top of a small part of one of my gardens. There was this 10 foot radius where there was charcoal and ash above the soil. I tilled it in at the beginning of the grow season(it had been burned the previous fall) and grew corn in that garden. Well within the 10 foot radius the corn was growing 2 times faster and produced ears that were nearly twice the size as the others in the garden. Every year I amend the soil with cow manure. I was quite surprised. I am now doing that to every one of my gardens and seeing some great results. I am holding back this year, though as Im affraid of overdoing it.

3/6/2015 11:24:51 AM
I think its a good idea to stir it every day to add oxygen to the mix. I notice it really bubbles when you do that.

3/6/2015 10:11:45 AM
Char-wood retains carbon, potassium, and some phosphorus. The potassium can be leached out of char-wood with water (rain or applied water)to make potassium hydroxide (lye)a caustic alkali, and then lye soap can be made from that.Lye breaks down proteins, denaturing amino acids in living things. If applied selectively in dilution it kills pathogens without killing us. Much oxygen has been driven out of char-wood by heat. When nitrogen in the form of bio-manures which still harbor bacteria and fungi meet charcoal they (the micro-organisms) derive phosphates for ATP (adenosin-triphosphate) energy production and break down the minerals to soluble forms for plants as a by product of metabolism. Charcoal often acts a a spacer in the compost to allow free flow of gases. Also it degrades slowly. Alkali loving plants such as asparagus always thrive after a ditch burn in northwest Ohio (where we live)because the ash is released for uptake. And because asparagus roots prefer living on an incline (side of the ditch) the excess alkali is washed away with each rain without burning the plants. The use of particularly processed charcoal for stomach acid reduction is also because of the alkalinity. Soil tests sold by various retailers can reveal mineral content and pH of soil. We have a simple method to determine much of those parameters, without much cost, along with litmus paper,but already we over talked.

3/6/2015 8:46:46 AM
I have always wanted to try the urine fertilizer but have had concerns about medications that family members are taking. Might there be possible negative effects on the plants and or the people eating the food grown with this fertilizer?

4/23/2014 12:43:23 AM
Oh really it is very useful and easy process that we can do it at home. fertilizer available in market generally rich in chemicals and some of them act as toxic for both plant and soil. In such situation home made fertilizers are very useful and effective.

4/18/2014 6:58:00 AM
I want to create a barrel of organic fertilizer from the garden weeds I have pulled. Is that possible and what would be the best recipe? If I do this then everything in my yard will be of service, which is my ultimate goal.

Connie Steiner Jones
12/23/2012 3:41:58 AM
I've been using Comfrey and plantain leaves. Pick the leaves three big handfuls put them in a bucket fill with good water and put a lid on it. let it sit for a couple of weeks stiring it once per day. Strain and dilute 10 parts water to one part plant water. It works really well I use it in my potted plants too.

5/18/2012 1:44:06 PM
You can also make fertilizer "teas" by picking weeds into a bucket, filling it with water and letting it sit in the sun for a few days, or add some fresh compost to a bucket and fill it with water. Let it sit for a day or two and pour out the liquid as "tea." To get really good results though, I recommend you use a fish emulsion - try Fish Rich for an organic, clean smelling, easy to use formula. I've been using it for 2 years and have never had a better garden. I get so many berries and tomatoes and big strong leaves on all my plants.

Kathleen O'Callaghan
5/18/2012 4:25:29 AM
There is no picture to pin. Pinterest only works if there is a picture in the article

5/6/2012 6:32:19 PM
Why can't I pin to Pinterest? It doesn't work for me on here...

Jan Steinman
5/6/2012 12:31:52 PM
We've been adding fireplace ash for the K to urine. We sift out the charcoal first, as it can be an initial nutrient drain as it hydrates. We pound it into small pieces that won't clog our soil block makers. Then we soak the fireplace ash for a day or so, and use the soak water as one component. We pre-charge the charcoal in urine for our soil blocks. We then use 10 parts water, one part urine, one part fireplace ash water, and one part biodynamic prep 508 (horestail tea) to counter fungus problems.

kathy brown
4/26/2011 2:50:00 PM
i have cow manure, will that work? I have been making tea from the seasoned chips of manure and it works better in my compost pile than the sticky clumps.

3/31/2011 4:41:07 PM
Does the seaweed need to be rinsed with fresh water to remove the salt before adding it to the tea? I can get seaweed at the water's edge.

3/11/2011 5:24:57 PM
How about horse manure? That, I have PLENTY of!

3/11/2011 4:35:27 PM
jbharvey, the instructions above the chart explain what the quantities mean. It has to do with how much material to put in a bucket before filling it with water. I was confused initially too, because my eyes went straight to the chart rather than reading the directions first. Monther Earth News readers -- a buncha rebels, I tell you!

3/11/2011 4:18:59 PM
I do not understand what the "1/5 bucket" and "2/3 bucket" refer to. Can anyone explain, please?

Raymond Looper_1
3/11/2011 10:22:06 AM
Rabbit manure is good for all plants. It is rich in everything plants need and will not burn the plant roots like chicken manure.

Johnnye Montgomery
3/5/2011 10:11:20 AM
Barbara, loved your article! Would rabbit fertilizer be equally effective mixed 1/1?

Bryan Hager
2/13/2011 7:48:30 PM
be careful using biochar. I have done a lot of reading on this in hopes of finding help for my heavy clay soils. It is true that there are places in the tropics where it appears that indigeonous peoples added charcoal to the soil and improved the growing characteristics. However, when this effect has been tested in labs it appears that it is highly dependent on the type of wood used and the temperature it was charred. High temperatures and some species of wood can actually make charcoal that is damaging to plants. I would test your charcoal in a small area with several crops before general application. Bryan Hager, vegetable farmer.

Barbara Pleasant_3
1/24/2011 10:38:12 AM
Not that I know of. However, current knowledge suggests that charwood nuggets (biochar) serve a nutrient conservation role in soil with both their physical and biological properties. When I set aside mature compost for curing, I mix in biochar nuggets. Some beds are getting annual infusions, just to see what happens. In another year or two, I'll have some comparative soil testing done.

Charlie Ewing
1/23/2011 11:34:12 AM
Are there any studies showing if adding charwood nuggets to the stored fertilizer helps retain nitrogen content?

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