Here's a recipe for homemade organic fertilizer given in ratios. Use whatever measuring vessel you want, e.g., cup, bowl or scoop. Mix in the proportions given. This stuff is dusty, wear a mask, and don't do this on a windy day:

  • 4 Cottonseed Meal (Nitrogen)
  • 1 Bone Meal (Phosphate)
  • 1 Greensand (Potassium and iron)
  • 0.5 Dolomite Lime (Calcium and Magnesium)
  • 0.5 Gypsum (Calcium and Sulpher)

Apply one quart per 16 square feet; 6 quarts per 100 square feet. This is approximately a 6-13-4 N-K-P rating.

 

This recipe has served me well for three seasons. The reason this recipe works is because it's a balanced fertilizer; it supplies major and minor nutrients. It's a natural slow-release fertilizer, and it won't burn your plant roots.

 

Grow'em big,

Damon

 

NOTE: I have not had this fertilizer formally analyzed for ratings and values. I simply added general values either as labeled on the packages or as suggested via land-grant university soil tests.


12 Responses to “Homemade Organic Fertilizer”

  1. Damon Says:

    What organic fertilizers have you used or plan to use this growing season?

  2. Robin Says:

    I add Rabbit Food as a Fertilizer. Have you ever read the bags, or packages? Is that why Rabbit Droppings are so good for your plants? I'm gung-ho on it this year!!

  3. Damon Says:

    That’s very interesting about your rabbit food as fertilizer. I’m guessing most rabbit food is some sort of seed meal pellet like Alfalfa seed meal.

    Rabbit manure is an excellent fertilizer because it has a greater amounts of nitrogen and phosphorus than any other manure. Worm poop has greater levels of calcium than most.

    Do you grow rabbits? I’m very interested in adding rabbits to my system this summer as well.

  4. Robin Says:

    I used to raise rabbits when I lived in upstate, NY State. I left them to a farmer who wanted some new stock; as I had too much to lug all the way down to Texas. Some how an open bag of rabbit food took the trip with me. So not to waste it, I used it to start some seeds in. They took off like rockets and got really sturdy, with thick stems.
    Now when I put the seedlings out… some critters must've been very hungry and chewed them down to the soil. I waited, but they never came back. So now I've just started more. I'm going to be using the "Bag Gardening Method." Because I found out that the soil in this BIG Back Yard is very poor. I'm not into waiting for a tiller this year, and I need something sustainable NOW! That's why I've always grown from seed. All my crops are just that… Crops. I do grow flowers, but they have to be beneficial or edible. At least out the back. Someone came along and whacked down my purple Vetch out front in a garden area… cause they said it was a weed they didn't want to spread into their own garden area. They  just laid down "New Sod" last fall. Now I have to deal with the "Dummies." They looked at me weird when I was mowing over the "Fallen Leaves" last year. I'm not into buying amendments for the sake of "Grass!" The only thing that has improved the grass in front is mowing over the leaves in the Fall, I use nothing else,,,,, Not even Water. It can die for all I care!

  5. Dennis Setzer Says:

    Do you have any plans or designs for rabbit cages/pens?

  6. Damon Says:

    Well, the only design I have is the one I read in “Storey’s Guide to Raising Rabbits.” I have not had a chance to build any or try them out.

    Thanks for commenting!

    How do you plan to use rabbits in your garden?

  7. Bill K. Says:

    Looks great. Can you give details on where each of these ingredients is available for purchase?

  8. Damon Says:

    First check your local farmer’s cooperative to see what they have. They probably won’t have everything, but they will likely get you started.

    Cottonseed meal get from your local farmer’s co-op. Get any seed meal from your local farmer’s cooperative. Around here it’s approx. $14 for 50 lbs bag.

    Bone meal you should be able to buy from your local farmer’s cooperative, sometimes only in smaller quantities. I have since switched to rock phosphates. The rock phosphate is more cost effective because it lasts a bit longer in your soil than the bone meal. It’s also not as potent as the bone meal, so the rock phosphate is a bit more forgiving considering these accumulate over time.

    Greensand may or may not be available locally. I bought mine from Planet Natural. $25 for a 50 lbs. bag. Shipping will be expensive, but you’ll have enough potassium for years to come! Greensand is far more cost effective than kelp meal.

    Dolomite lime and gypsum you can buy from any big-box garden center. Don’t get the stuff called “hot lime” or “hydrated lime.”

  9. Jeff Says:

    Please remember that greensand is a non-renewable resource. It was created millions of years ago, so we're going to run out. Use it wisely!

  10. Damon Says:

    Yeah, I understand, however, nothing is renewable in a dying world. So, yes, I’m trying to teach people to use it as wisely as possible. This goes with any resource. Just because something is “renewable” doesn’t mean it should be wasted. It’s a basic principle of resource management: Use less than you acquire; acquire more. This applies to money or soil amendments.

    With greensand once nutrients are up to the levels they could be, the idea is to cycle them within the system: cover crop, green manure and compost. Then you’re just cycles and recycling nutrient on site thus using less than you acquire and “acquiring” more through cycling.

  11. Micah Says:

    Hey Damon. Thanks for your podcast. I love it and have learned a lot. Thank you for being bold enough to talk about God in your podcast as well. It's always good to see other believers. My two greatest passions God then gardening!
    My question is about the fertilizer. I just bought and applied your organic fertilizer. The 1st question is how often should I apply it? Second, I can only get cottonseed mill in small quantities and its expensive. You said coffee grounds are a good substitute? Should I have the same ratios with the grounds as the meal? Last question, is I might be interested in taking your courses. I've been talking to my wife about taking some horticultural classes. I'm interested in learning the science behind gardening and applying that knowledge.
    Again thank you for your time and information. Your podcast is one of my favorites.

  12. Damon Says:

    Hey, thanks for commenting!

    1. Apply the fertilizer before you plant. Work it in under the surface. Apply it again after your plants are up and growing well. That should be enough for the season. Once autumn hits plant a cover crop of rye and hairy vetch to catch up any left over fertilizer.

    2. Yes, I’ve been using coffee grounds much more this season. I’m having success with them. Use in the same ratios as cottonseed meal. You can use any seed meal as a substitute. I’m in cotton country where cottonseed meal is cheap and available in any quantity you want. It’s a waste product down here, so the farmers just want to get rid of it.

    3. If you want to know more about the science of it, you’d be much better off taking a university-level class. My Raised Bed Growing Mastery course is based on my experience, showing exactly what I do in building and growing with raised beds.

    Thanks for listening to the podcast!

    Grow’em big!
    In Christ,
    Damon

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