Gardening: Best leftover foods to make ‘cheap’ natural plant fertiliser – ‘save money’

Shannon, who has been gardening on her allotment in Devon for the last four years, told “I have learnt so much over the years. This summer in particular I’ve learnt a lot about homemade fertilisers.”

Fertiliser can be made from an array of things, from grass cuttings to manure. But, if you’re looking to reduce waste and save money, leftover food could be a fruitful choice.

Shannon said: “I always steer clear of using chemicals on the allotment and much prefer a regenerative way of growing plants and feeding the soil so a natural fertiliser is a must.

“Making your own really helps you to understand how plants grow, helps to reduce waste in the kitchen and in the garden and saves you money too

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A compost bin, on the other hand, is a container into which you place organic waste to turn into compost gradually over time.

Shannon explained: “I’ve been focusing much more on making my own compost to use as mulch to feed the beds.

“I’ve started using a bokashi bin at home for all my food scraps which has a liquid you can drain off to dilute and feed the plants with, while the fermented remains can be dug into a compost heap.”

She continued: “In a bokashi bin, you can add almost anything which is great.

“I put in all my cooked and raw food scraps including bread, yoghurt, egg shells and vegetable peelings.

“Pesky nettles and comfrey are great leaves that can be made into a tea to make a high-in-nitrogen liquid feed, and a compost bin in your back garden is a great way to keep your food waste down.

“My compost bin is ‘vegan’ so I don’t add any cooked foods, meat or dairy, they go in the bokashi bin for a good few weeks first.”

Speaking previously to, Shannon explained the benefits of opting for natural foods.

She said: “Overall, I’d always suggest unprocessed natural foods: fruit, veg and plant debris like leaves are obvious choices, but the method you’re choosing to make natural fertiliser may answer this question for you.

“Do a little bit of research and figure out what method is going to suit your lifestyle and food habits best.

While most plants can benefit from fertiliser, particularly “hungry” plants might enjoy an added boost.

Shannon said: “Vegetables like pumpkins and tomatoes are really hungry plants, so it’s worth keeping up with a good feeding schedule for those if you want to get the best results.”

However, understanding your plants and your fertiliser is essential before feeding.

She said: “When using natural fertilisers it’s important to know the dilution rate for any liquid feeds.

“Do a little research into the type of fertiliser you’re making before you start feeding.”

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