Soil & Fertilizer

How to Make Easy Kitchen Scrap Fertilizer

Why not put your food waste to good use? Here are 5 ways you can make kitchen scrap fertilizer for your garden.

If you’ve looked through the Food Gardening Network website, you know we love composting. We’ve written articles about keeping animals out of your compost bins, how to compost indoors, what to do if your compost smells bad, and composting in winter. But composting takes time, which is why it’s good to have some easy kitchen scrap fertilizer ideas up your sleeve. 

Where’s the fun in that? I know we all enjoy watching our compost break down over the summer, but sometimes your garden needs a little nutrient boost, and some homemade fertilizer is just the thing. And lucky for us, there are more than a few ways to go about it. 

Discover 7 top tips for growing, harvesting, and enjoying tomatoes from your home garden—when you access the FREE guide The Best Way to Grow Tomatoes, right now!

5 homemade kitchen scrap fertilizer ideas your garden will thank you for

1. Coffee grounds. Coffee grounds are a great addition to compost, but what about a quicker nutrient boost and using the grounds as fertilizer? According to Washington State University Master Gardener Linda Chalker-Scott, Ph.D., coffee grounds can add carbohydrates and proteins to the soil, and earthworms seem to enjoy consuming the grounds (can you blame them?), leading to improvements in soil structure. There is also some evidence that coffee grounds can help suppress common fungal diseases. She points out, however, that coffee may inhibit the growth of some plants, such as alfalfa, clover, and Chinese mustard. That aside, however, digging some used coffee grounds into the soil around your garden is pretty easy. 

2. Banana peel fertilizer. One of our gardeners says that banana peel fertilizer “works miracles.” Bananas are fantastic sources of potassium and phosphorous. As far as kitchen scrap fertilizer recipes go, banana peel tea is a simple product. It’s just banana peels and water, like this:

  • Fill a one-quart jar with chopped banana peels and cover them with water. 
  • Seal the jar and leave it for about a week, occasionally checking to ensure the peels are still covered with water.
  • Strain the concoction and save all those banana peels for your compost pile.
  • Dilute the banana peel tea with water in a 1:5 ratio. 
  • Use it to water your outdoor vegetable plants.

3. Compost tea. Compost tea seems to be one of those gardening ideas that people love or hate. Compost tea is what you get when you soak your finished compost in water. The tea that you end up with is said to increase plant growth, help suppress disease, and add beneficial organisms to your garden. There are several different recipes, one of which you can read about here

4. Grass tea. Okay, grass tea isn’t technically a kitchen scrap fertilizer, but it’s so easy that I wanted to include it. Fill a five-gallon bucket with freshly cut grass and cover it with water. Wait five days, then strain the water. Add one-and-a-half cups of grass tea to a gallon of clean water and use it to water your garden.

5. Eggshells. Eggshells have long been a darling of the compost pile. But did you know you can make fertilizer from eggshells? You get a little two-for-one here, or maybe even a three-for-one. Start by hard boiling your eggs. You, my friend, can now enjoy eggs with your salad, or you can make an egg salad sandwich or deviled eggs. Your choice. Whatever you decide, don’t dump out the cooking water. Use it to water your plants or garden. The water pulls a little bit of calcium from the eggshells, so your plants get a little nutrient boost there. But that’s not all! Hold onto your eggshells. And while you’re at it, grab some of those banana peels. Here’s what we’re going to do. 

  • Lay out your eggshells and banana peels on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. 
  • Cook them in the oven on the lowest setting until they are dry. Then grind them in a blender to make a fine powder. 
  • Mix one tablespoon of your eggshell/banana power and one tablespoon of Epsom salt into one gallon of water. 
  • Water your plants. Watch magic happen. 

What kind of kitchen scraps have you used to make fertilizer? How did it work? I’d love to read about your experiences in the comments.


Discover 7 top tips for growing, harvesting, and enjoying tomatoes from your home garden—when you access the FREE guide The Best Way to Grow Tomatoes, right now!

By Amanda MacArthur

Amanda MacArthur is Senior Editor & Producer for Food Gardening Network and GreenPrints. She is responsible for generating all daily content and managing distribution across web, email, and social. In her producer role, she plans, edits, and deploys all video content for guides, magazine issues, and daily tips. As a best-selling cookbook author, Amanda cooks using ingredients from her outdoor gardens in the summer and from her indoor hydroponic garden in the winter.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *