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The Easiest And Most Affordable Way To Fertilize Your Garden

All you need to make homemade plant fertilizer is a few household ingredients, a large jar or bowl, and a watering can.

The Best Homemade “Miracle Grow” Plant Fertilizer

The right plant fertilizer can help give your plants a much-needed boost, but store-bought fertilizers are often either expensive or full of mystery ingredients. Luckily, there’s a better way to feed your plants: with an easy homemade plant fertilizer!

Related: 6 Gardening Tips That Will Save You Time And Energy

In this post, I’ll show you how to make an epsom salt plant fertilizer that’s sort of like a homemade “miracle grow”. It’s easy to make and extremely inexpensive — in fact, you may already have the ingredients you need in your cupboards!

DIY fertilizer results in lush green plants like these
Your plants need water AND fertilizer to perform their best!

What Goes Into This DIY Plant Food?

You only need a few simple ingredients to make this fertilizer, and the first is epsom salt, an excellent source of magnesium. Magnesium is crucial to the process of photosynthesis, and helps plants absorb other important minerals too.

The second ingredient is baking soda, which acts as a natural fungicide to protect plants from lethal diseases. The final ingredient is household ammonia, and while it may seem counterintuitive to use ammonia in the garden, it’s a great source of nitrogen, which is essential for leafy growth.

These three ingredients are very inexpensive, and you only need a small amount of each to make this homemade plant fertilizer. Here’s how you can make it at home!

Related: This Is The Best Thing You Can Start Doing For Your Garden

To Make DIY Plant Food For Pennies, use epsom salt, ammonia, and baking soda.
Plants need magnesium (epsom salts) like people do.

How To Make An Epsom Salt Plant Fertilizer

You’ll need:

The first step to making fertilizer is to add a teaspoon of baking soda to a cup of hot water


Start by heating about 1/2 cup of water in your microwave or on your stovetop. Add the epsom salt and baking soda to the hot water, and stir until dissolved.

After putting a tablespoon of epsom salt and a teaspoon of baking soda in hot water, mix til they are dissolved and pour into the rest of the gallon of water with 1/2 teaspoon of ammonia.

Next, pour the dissolved epsom salt and baking soda into a large bowl or container. Then pour the rest of the water (at room temperature) into the container, along with the ammonia.

Use a watering can to feed your homemade fertilizer to your plants once a month.
Fertilize once a month during the growing season for happier & healthier plants!

Finally, pour the mixture into your watering can, and use it to water your flowers and plants. Repeat the process once per month to keep your plants happy and well-fed!

For more gardening ideas, check out:

Do you have a simple way to save money on gardening?

Jill Nystul Photo

Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.
I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee

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  • I have a very large garden. Can this recipe be used in an Ortho Dial and Spray? If so how much of each ingredient should I use and what setting should I use on the Ortho Dial and Spray?

      • I have had luck using it on everything. I more than wet the soil though.
        I am new to your blog and am loving it so far. Now to get my hair to behave like yours : )

  • Hi Jill.
    I don’t use ammonia so I am wondering what I can use in place of that for the nitrogen component. Any ideas? Perhaps weed tea or coffee grounds? I do have compost but can’t be sure how much nitrogen is in it for sure.

  • Thanks again! I say again because this is the umpteenth time you have rescued me. I mean it, I just cancelled my order for plant food on Amazon. Love you and the very ,very usable information you provide. Keep up the great work!

    • You can use coffee instead of ammonia. In fact, I take fresh brewed coffee and replace the 1/2 cup of water and bit of ammonia with it. Coffee (and the brewed grounds) are great for giving the nitrogen needed to plants! I ALWAYS put the used coffee grounds in our compost and in my potting soil mix! Something my parents always did at their ranch. Works great!

    • Absolutely. It’s just 1/2 teaspoon ammonia in a gallon of water, used monthly. In fact, trace amounts of ammonia are found throughout the environment in air, soil, and water. :-)

    • My dad, a gentleman arborist, has an incredibly green thumb with his orchard. He sprinkles used coffee grounds all around his trees twice a year – once in the spring before the trees leaf or bud and once in the fall as they lose their leaves. They grow 4 varieties of cherry, 3 varieties of apple, 2 varieties of apricot, 1 type of plum 1 type of peach, and an assortment of fruiting bushes. He does the same grounds procedure for all of them.
      Something to note, depending on the type of fruit tree/bushes or trees in general, they may require more or less nitrogen content. Some fruit trees/bushes need more than others depending on their type. I’d recommend finding out what yours specifically require for optimum performance and adjust your mixture/process from there.

  • Great idea. This is totally off topic. I was wondering if anyone knows if you can freeze sliced cheese. My work had an event where you had to get a certain amount-1lb. It was for an employee appreciation day.

    • I live 70 miles round trip to my supermarket here in Colorado so therefore I always buy more than I would use in a week or so & I can tell you this really works: I take my sliced cheese that has deli paper between each slice & that is in the deli plastic bag & I wrap that entire package in HEAVY DUTY (not regular) aluminum foil & put that foil packet in the freezer. That sliced cheese foil packet might stay in my freezer for a month or so & it’s always perfect after I take it out of the freezer & defrost in the fridge. I’m sure someone will chime in about the horrors of using aluminum foil but when you live so far away from “the food”, desperate times call for desperate measures. Besides, sounds like you don’t freeze cheese everyday ;)

      • It is perfectly safe & easy to freeze sliced cheese, especially with the paper between slices. Good for 6 months.

  • Sounds like grass or greenery fertilizer

    To encourage flowers (and flowers pollinate for fruits/vegetables) (12-12-12)

    For example, 12-12-12 is a typical garden garden fertilizer that would contain 12% nitrogen, 12% phosphorous, and 12% potassium. The quick explanation is; nitrogen produces vegetative, or top growth, phosphorous produces flower buds, fruit, and root development, while potassium builds strong healthy plants.

  • I’d imagine this great garden “recipe” is for fuller foliage? For more abundant flowers I buy tomato feed, cheap enough – it encourages the formation of flowers which in the tomato plant progress into fruit. Yes, they’re not vegetables. Feed once a week during the flowering season, otherwise plain water. Wonderful results!

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