Natural Fertilizers for Your Plants

Welcome back! Brrrr… it’s been a chilly day around here with subzero temperatures making my toes cramp up, but my thoughts have been all about spring! Our little seedling garden is continuing to sprout — and the corn is creeping taller (we may have planted these a bit too early! oops!) Alas, we continue to learn by trial and error… but, hey, who says there are rules in the garden, right? Light, water, seeds and soil…that’s all you need, right?

Speaking of soil, I am excited to say that I have added another jar to the counter in the kitchen. No, not containing soil, but a new science experiment to help the soil! My poor hubby, I have mason jars scattered across the counter tops filled with various concoctions that have peaked my interest… my sour dough starter (affectionally known as Herman), orange peels soaking for homemade cleaner, snacks, my S.C.O.B.Y hotel for kombucha and now… banana peels! Yup, a browning, yellow mess has graced the counter in hopes of becoming a nutrient rich fertilizer for our seedlings! The bananas contain potassium, which is not only good for us, but also good for your plants! Here are a few other “natural” fertilizers I found on the great internet:

  • Eggshells: cleaned and dried, these babies add calcium and phosphorus to the soil, as well as reduce the amount of acidity in your pots. (Another reason to have chickens… just sayin’)
  • Coffee Grounds: if you want acidity in your soil, then this additive is the ticket! Combine your empty filter with the dirt, and there ya go! African violets, Christmas cacti and jade plants like the soil with a bit of bite, so give them some java joe!
  • Green Tea: similar to coffee grounds and for the tea toters amoung you, you can use the leftover liquid or the tea leaves themselves to enrich your dirt
  • Molasses: blackstrap molasses is high in calcium, magnesium, iron and potassium. It also contains sulfur and a host of micronutrients. Using molasses as fertilizer provides plants with a quick source of energy and encourages the growth of beneficial microorganisms. Besides, it smells yummy.
  • Fish Tank Water: this is a great one for us (read why, here) What better way to spread the love around while keeping your tank sparkly clean too? Fish poop has too much nitrogen to be good for fish…but your plants will thrive, apparently! Gotta try this one. “Worm tea” has similarities, using the castings of worms as a base for your water mix, but I don’t have a worm bin, and I don’t think a jar of that on my counter would be a welcome sight!
Another jar, added to the counter!

And the final one I found was salt. Now, not just any salt works, in fact, table salt will dry up your plants and cause some root issues, so no sodium chloride… but the salt base in epsom salts and true sea salt will add sodium, iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium and trace amounts of many other minerals to your dirt. Used correctly, sea salt is beneficial to plants, providing them with these nutritional elements. Evidently, sea salt has been used for centuries as a natural fertilizer, especially in Palestine.

An interesting muse, if we consider our parable of the sower that we looked at last week, and the verses about salt in the gospels (Matthew 5:13, Mark 9:50, and Luke 14:34–35). Jesus may have been reffering to the agricultural use of salt that was sprinkled on the soil, as an additive. I found an interesting tidbit about the sower’s seeds that fell on the hardened soil… apparently beaten down paths were common in the fields of the ancient farms… a literal path or trail that cut through the middle of a field. Fertilizer salt would have also been strewn here … and trampled down under foot! No use to the farmer there! Not only did the sown seeds not flourish along the path, but the fertilizer was trampled on too.

So there ya go, my beloveds! Your tidbit of information for this week… salt and light… and maybe some rotten banana peels or worm poop mixed in… makes for great growth. Be blessed, be brave, and be back next week to see what we muse about then!

Sow and See

A week ago, we had subzero temperatures here in Canada. Two days ago, a snowstorm of winter proportions hit us with full force. I curse the all season tires we have on the car and it’s poor performance on slick roads! Yet — We’ve dug ourselves out and declared war on the white stuff. Teehee, you wanna know what we did while the rest of our world hid in the shadows of a few more weeks of winter? We planted seeds for spring!

Yup, the Sunblaster grow light is up and running and the basement has turned into our little mini greenhouse. We are still beginner gardeners, here, but I’m following in the footsteps of a few others who seem to have started things (and seem to know what they are doing). I don’t know if we are doing things right; I really didn’t research seedlings or time zones or whatever zones, nor have I planned what may need to be started early or late or … well, let’s just say I went on a whim and threw some seeds in some dirt and stuck them under a bright light with a well watered mat.

A few weeks back we heard a good sermon on the passage in Mark 4 about the parable of the Sower who sowed some seeds. Which seemed perfect to chat about since we have started the little urban garden in our basement recently. We were reminded that the farmer just scattered the seeds aimlessly… or so it seemed. Does it seem illogical to you that nowadays we plant neat little rows of crops and the farmer of old just threw seed willy-nilly so that it lands in all different types of soil? Why waste the seeds on ground that won’t produce harvest? Upon further research, I discovered that that was, indeed, the way the sowers sowed back then! So much for planning!

Which brings me back to our little grow light and our early seeding experiment. We have simply planted and will see what happens. Which is exactly what God wants us to do with the gospel! We have no idea who God’s story will hit and when … it is simply our job to sow the seed. Ecclesiastes 11:6 says:

“In the morning sow your seed, and at evening withhold not your hand, for you do not know which will prosper, this or that, or whether both alike will be good.”

ESV

As many of you know, my word for the year is “brave” (you can read about it here)… and I am trying to be brave about sharing my faith, even in subtle ways here and there… because I will never know what kind of impact I may have. Will the seed grow and be strong? Or will it be just the beginning of a spark and others will fan the flame? Have I made an impact in someone else’s life by reflecting God’s love when they needed it most? These are the questions I must ask myself often.

Check out our Instagram page for the full reveal!

So, what do you think, my beloved readers and followers? Would you be interested in a deeper study about the parable of the sower? Should we look at it for a few more weeks? Shall we see where the “growth” may take us? Leave me a comment below if you are interested in studying this with us (or any topic you might like!) This week our corn has been the first to pop it’s head out of our indoor trays. Last year, our corn didn’t grow or flourish at all… could this be the start of a good crop this year? We can’t know for sure… but we are remembering that we just need to sow and see!

An Essay about Compare and Contrast

Remember when you had to write those compare and contrast essays in school? Three points for this, two points for that, proper “proof” of your argument for or against, hamburger paragraphs, thesis statement and conclusion…blah blah blah. My kids are suffering through that experience right now so I’m being blessed with the feedback. This is not one of those essays, however. It is a post about comparing and contrasting though… and what I am musing about this week.

This lockdown world has forced many of us to branch out into the online world and buy from a pre-described list of products. Myself included. And call me old fashioned, but I still like to look and feel and taste and smell the stuff I am about to purchase. A stock photo and short blurb just doesn’t cut it sometimes… especially if the “thing” is new to you. So, here’s the story:

In great hopes to get a jump start on our Urban Garden, and to save a little cash, and at the prompting of so many better-than-me-gardener posts, I decided to start seeds in the basement under a “grow-light”. Which conjured up all kinds of grow-op images of secret marijuana plantations concealed in my basement under the devise of jumping into the cannabis free market and raising someone’s stock prices… but, I digress. Apparently starting seedlings requires light and heat and “stable” conditions… hence the grow light.

The search for : The Sunblaster 1600… 200 Version

Which thus begins my search and comparison… online. I knew what I wanted: The Sunblaster 1600… complete with trays… the large size, not the micro garden for mere herbs… I need light for beefsteak tomatoes, baby, and maybe watermelon… but where would be the least expensive place to find it? Without crazy shipping costs? So began my compare and contrast adventure. Which is hard, because, as I mentioned, stock photos and small descriptions don’t always give you the information that you want. Dimensions were listed in both inches and centimeters, some sites included shipping, some could be picked up curbside, some had different product numbers… How is a girl to compare apples to apples when you’ve got granny smith vs. gala??!

It takes some investigating… and asking questions, and good old pen and paper lists and conversions. You will be happy to know that the Sunblaster 1600 …200 version… is now sitting on my counter ready for set up! And the mighty Amazon was not the best deal in town (in case you wanted to know). I’ll keep you posted on the seedling development.

So what should be the take home from my little adventure? Is it good to test, compare and contrast? In the case of a large purchase, then yes, this is a wise practice. In the case of school essays? Yes, you have to do those, too. What about your place of worship? Or how you worship? Or dare I say who you worship? Now, I don’t want to tread on thin ice here, I haven’t really studied “testing”… but I do think we need to be diligent in asking questions… and doing our research so we are comparing apples to apples. Does your church promote and adhere to Biblical principles? Is it God focused or leader focused? Will it waiver with the times or stay steadfast to the standards God lays out for us? Do they care about people because God cares about people or do they just want numbers in the pews… or in the offering plate?

Photo by Robin Spielmann

It’s not easy. It “looks good online” doesn’t always translate to the real product when it arrives on your doorstep. And I think it is okay to question… and pray about it! God knows where you need to be… and He will help you get there! Don’t be fooled by flashy promotions and short blurbs… if you want to grow the proper fruit… you need the proper light! Go ahead, do your research and compare and contrast. Soon, if your choices are right, you will see the seeds begin to sprout and then grow strong and mighty in the full soil of God’s true kingdom!