Nitrogen is an important macro-nutrient for plants to grow. There are many sources of nitrogen that you can add to your plants. Some come in free form, others chemically prepared, while others are organically made. Some gardeners prefer organic nitrogen fertilizer over chemical nitrogen fertilizer because it does not harm plants, human, and the environment.
There are two easy ways for you to have rich nitrogen fertilizer: one is, to make it from raw materials that can easily be found in your area. The second way is to buy it in a gardening store.
Here are some common organic fertilizers that you can make yourself when you need to give your plants a boost of nitrogen:
Compost is the most common, and by far the most convenient form of nitrogen-rich fertilizer that you can prepare in your backyard. Compost is known to improve soil condition, which is why it is always added in potting mixes created for container gardening.
How to make your own compost at home
You need a container that is big enough to hold the compost which will be used to supply your plants for during their growing season. If you are just starting out or experimenting, you can use a small plastic container that is 2 feet wide and 2 feet deep.
The container should have a tight-fitting lid to help keep out pests and prevent the smell from disturbing people. The lid is also used to keep pets from disturbing the contents. You can use a composting bin or a composting tumbler to make life easier, but they can be pretty expensive.
The bottom of the container should have enough holes to promote adequate drainage. The raw materials that you will need for this would be old paper, used coffee grounds, mulch, straw, and dried shredded leaves. Other materials will be vegetable and fruit peelings or trimmings.
You can use fish heads and fish guts as long as they have pulverized in a food processor. Meat, poultry, and bones should be avioded. Layer the bottom with shredded newspaper and some mulch as well as some shredded leaves.
Next, put a layer of organic material such as grass clippings, vegetable and fruit leftovers, and your fish leftovers. Place a layer of soil on top and cover again with raw materials. At this point, you have the option of adding in worms to further improve the compost. If you do, you are now making vermicompost instead of regular compost.
Once you have filled the container to nearly full, water the layers well and cover. Keep in a warm environment away from direct sunlight. Keep it tightly covered, opening it only to mix it well every 2-3 days; daily would even be better.
The more you mix, the more you promote air circulation. Your compost will be ready within 3-6 months, depending on how well you mix it. You will know that the compost is ready when the mixture crumbles in your hands, smells sweet and earthy.
How to use your home made compost
you can mix it on your potting mix or layer it at the bottom of the pot before putting in your potting mix. You can use compost as a layer on top of seeds while they germinate. Mulching with compost can be done as long as you do not touch the stems with compost. Always use mature compost as an incomplete decomposition process can affect your plants and even destroy them.
Manure Based Compost
Manure based compost is very rich in organic nitrogen. Cow manure is most commonly used as a good source of organic nitrogen fertilizer. You can use goat, cow, or manure from any herbivorous barnyard animal. Chicken manure can also used if available and is a first class addition to the compost mix.
Just be sure that the animal or birds that you are taking the manure from are eating their food that has not treated been with chemical fertilizers or pesticides to ensure that your fertilizer is totally organic. If you cannot wait 6 months for your compost, then maybe you can wait 3-6 months for your compost manure.
How to make your own manure based compost at home
fresh manure cannot be used immediately as it contains very high amounts of nitrogen that can burn your plants. It is best to let the manure cook under the sun for several days until it completely dries out.
You can tell if your manure is ready to be used by donning a pair of gloves and feel the manure. If it is firm, crumbly, but not too warm and wet, it is ready to be used.
How to use your manure based compost
compost manure can be used the same way as ordinary compost. However, it is best as a side-dressing to some plants. Compost manure releases nitrogen to the soil slowly so it does not harm the environment.
Fish Emulsion Compost
Fish emulsion is another organic nitrogen fertilizer good for your plants. If you live near a fishing industry, then you are in luck. You do not need to buy the best fish for this. You need the left-over fish parts such as heads and body parts.
How to make your own fish emulsion compost at home
fish emulsion is easy to make. You only need enough fish to make an emulsion, as well as saw dust from untreated wood, shredded seaweed, and molasses.
The seaweed and molassess are optional, but seaweed can give your emulsion additional trace elements such as growth hormones and chlorophyll. Molasses can be added as food for the bacteria as well as to control the fishy smell.
You can used canned fish, but it is not advisable as they contain many preservatives that can destroy bacteria.
You will need to ferment them in a separate container before adding it in your pail for fish emulsion. Puree the fish in a blender or food processor with warm water. You can also add in the seaweed if you want.
Place it in the container along with the saw dust and molasses. Mix thoroughly and cover tightly. Mix your preparation every 2-3 days to help circulate air. Your emulsion will be ready once it turns brown, about 2-6 weeks.
How to use your fish emulsion compost
Your end product is a highly concentrated solution that can harm your plants if used in pure form. It is best to prepare a concoction of 1 part emulsion and 1 part water.
You can add it as a side dressing in your container plants every 2 weeks. Daily spraying of fish emulsion on plants can also help deter pests and foliar disease.
If you wish to have “free” nitrogen in your container garden, plant some legumes with each plant between rotations. The roots of legumes are known to produce nitrogen in soil.
Be careful not to give too much organic nitrogen fertilizer in your plants. Too much nitrogen produces soft plants that are weak against pests and disease. Young plants need to be given nitrogen fertilizer once every month. Old, established plants will need application every 2 weeks for maintenance.