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Growing green fingers? The ICA members share some tips on natural fertilisers for your garden


23-07-2014 11:00

Are you looking for a natural fertiliser for your home garden or potted plants? You don’t have to go as far as composting, there are lots of simple uses for everyday household waste which will benefit your garden. The ICA Members are happy to share their experience so you can harness the potential of Mother Nature and reduce your refuse bills!

 

Used teabags can be used to line your flowerpots and baskets, where they will both feeds the plants and help to conserve water. Ash from a wood-burning stove is full of potash, and can be scattered onto shrubs and other garden plants, while soot from a regular chimney can be sprayed onto fruit trees in springtime to keep disease at bay.

Egg shells make a great fertiliser for potted plants. Collect the empty egg shells in a container, top up with water, cover and leave for a week before pouring over your outdoor plants. Admittedly the odour can be pretty unpleasant, but your plants will thank you for the feed.

Bananas are full of potassium which can help your roses to flourish, increasing both the number and size of blooms; simply cut up the peel and overripe banana flesh and and scatter around the base of your rosebushes.


Nettle’s extensive root systems absorb lots of nutrients which then accumulate in the nettle stems and leaves, making for an excellent homemade fertiliser. To make up a nettle tea for your garden plants, soak the stems and leaves in a bucket of water for a few weeks until the water starts to turn tea-coloured. Water your plants regularly with this tea, diluting it until it is the colour of weak green tea. Sickly plants can be given a pick-me-up with a drink of a cooled pot of chamomile tea. Alternatively plant chamomile plants throughout the garden to keep everything in good health.

Give acid-loving plants like azaleas, rhododendrons, hydrangeas and gardenias a little boost by watering them with a white distilled vinegar solution (a cupful of vinegar to a gallon of water). The acidic vinegar will help to release iron in the soil. Pouring the solution directly over your azaleas will also give the leaves a lovely sheen.

The ICA Book of Home & Family is full of useful tips from the Irish Women - from keeping chickens to removing stains and the best Irish Coffee recipe are all here! Available from our online bookshop (€18.39) and all good book shops nationwide.

 



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