Simple Fertilizer and Compost Recipes

Woman using garden fork to remove uncomposted food waste from top of composting pile, before spreading the compost onto a vegetable garden.
What You'll Need
5-gallon bucket
4 cups of soil
Kitchen and yard scraps
2 banana peels
3 cups coffee grounds
1-12 egg shells
1 cup cornmeal
1-3 tablespoons molasses
Burlap sack/laundry bag
Trash can
2 shovels aged compost

You don't have to spend money on expensive fertilizer and compost for all your yard and garden plants. Use simple recipes to make your own. Not only will you save on lawn expenses, you'll be able to brag that you've taken up green living. The simple secret is this: making fertilizer is really just like mixing up a cake.

Simple Fertilizer from Recycled Scraps

Turn kitchen trash into garden nourishment with a simple fertilizer recipe. Stop throwing away your scraps, and start putting them in your yard.


  • 5-gallon bucket
  • 4 cups of soil
  • Small yard scraps
  • Kitchen and yard scraps
  • Water

Make a base fertilizer, and add specific scraps to it to tailor it to your yard’s needs. First, place up to 4 cups of soil in the bottom of a 5-gallon bucket.

Add a layer of yard scraps, small twigs and grass clippings, on top of the soil. Pour ½-gallon of water inside. The water will help the materials inside break down and decompose, which they must do in order to become usable fertilizer.

Cover the bucket and place it outside. Add the rest of your ingredients depending on what you need to give your garden and lawn.

For Roses and Vegetables

Customize your fertilizer for rose and vegetable gardens. Start with the base fertilizer and add the right scraps to create a nutrient-rich blend.


  • 2 Banana peels
  • 3 cups Coffee grounds
  • 1-12 egg shells
  • 3 gallons water

Add 2 banana peels to the fertilizer base; you do not need to cut the peels into pieces or alter them in any way. Add up to 3 cups of used coffee grounds to the blend. Add shells from up to 1 dozen eggs to complete the mixture. Eggshells must be washed and crushed before being placed into the fertilizer mixture.

Pour in your water and stir the mixture well. Allow the mixture to sit for at least 3 days before applying the fertilizer to your garden. Bananas are rich in potassium that creates bigger, prettier rose blossoms. The acidity in coffee grounds nourishes tomatoes and other garden plants. Eggshells are mostly calcium carbonate that enriches soil.

For an Anti-Fungal Fertilizer

Add different ingredients to your base fertilizer to create an anti-fungal blend. Anti-fungal fertilizers work as a natural fungicide to kill bacteria, molds and fungus.


  • 1 cup Cornmeal
  • 1-3 tablespoons molasses
  • 4 gallons water

Add 1 cup of cornmeal to your fertilizer base. Pour in 1 to 3 tablespoons of molasses. Add 4 gallons of water, and stir the blend. Allow it to soak for at least 12 hours before you drain the mixture. The thick fertilizer you have left will nourish plants and kill fungus.

For Compost Tea

Make your own compost tea using a large trash can and a burlap bag. Save your compost, and allow it to age for several weeks before using it as the base of your compost tea.


  • Burlap sack/laundry bag
  • Trash can
  • 2 shovels aged compost
  • Water

Place 2 shovels of aged compost into the bottom of a burlap sack or laundry bag. Put this into the bottom of a large trash can, and pour 5 gallons of water inside. Cover and leave the trashcan undisturbed for 7 to 10 days to allow the tea to brew.

Remove the bag and fill the trash can with water until the mixture turns tea-colored. Water your plants with this nutrient-rich compost tea whenever they look a little limp. Compost tea can also be used as a fungicide when sprayed directly on affected foliage.

(Interested in composting with worms? Take a look at How to Use Your Indoor Vermi-Composter.)