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The Home Depot

10 Fertilizer and Pesticide Alternatives

Pro Referral > Home Guides > Landscaping > 10 Fertilizer and Pesticide Alternatives
10 Fertilizer and Pesticide Alternatives

It’s not easy being green because you need the determination and discipline to be constantly on the lookout for and learn eco-friendly ways of gardening. For instance, it takes discipline just to decide that you will henceforth not buy any commercial chemical fertilizer and instead save the coffee grounds, banana peels, and egg shells to use in your garden. It takes determination to steer clear of a chemical-infused pesticide and instead keep on applying Epsom salt on your plants after every bout of watering.


You have been using vinegar instead of a commercial and chemical-laden hair conditioner. You have substituted the store-bought chemical cleansers for baking soda. You are unplugging more often. It looks like you have gone green in your house. So what’s stopping you from growing a “green” garden?


Commercial fertilizers and pesticides may be effective but the benefits come at a cost. These commercial products are not only NOT eco-friendly but they also pose considerable health hazards to you, your family, and pets. What is more, regular use of these products brings down the quality of your garden soil thereby harming Mother Nature on another front. Since you have decided to go green, it is only natural that you should consider the use of the following extremely cost-efficient eco-friendly measures.

  1. 1.Coffee Grounds

    Now did you ever think that your steaming morning cuppa or the afternoon pick-me-up would provide such an easy-to-use and nutrient-rich green fertilizer? Coffee grounds contain substantial quantities of potassium and phosphorus and some amounts of nitrogen. They also contain calcium, copper, and magnesium that are essential nutrients for plants.

    It's not always easy being green but when it comes to gardening, a few eco-friendly choices may put you on the path to a green-thumb

    You can make good use of what remains after you brew your morning cuppa. Mix the grounds with water and let the mixture sit in the sun for some time and you have a liquid fertilizer. Dry these in the sun or microwave them to obtain fertilizer that you can sprinkle at the base of plants. You can also add coffee grounds to your eco-friendly compost. This fertilizer is especially good for tomatoes, roses, camellias, blueberries, and evergreens.

  2. 2.Egg Shells

    Eggs are healthyfor you and the shells are outstanding for your plants. Your favorite breakfast just happens to be a great plant food that comes at no cost to the environment. Egg shells are almost completely calcium carbonate and thus are greener alternatives to agricultural limes. After you have used the eggs, wash, and air dry the shells and preserve them. When you gather a couple, crush them in your blender to a powdery-fine consistency and sprinkle at the base of your plants. They will thank you for this!

  4. 3.Compost

    If you are an avid gardener then you know how beneficial compost is for soil and plant health. You probably buy a pack or two from your local garden store regularly. Now try your hand at manufacturing your own compost—it is easy, cost-efficient, and green too. All the ingredients are right there in your house, probably waiting to land up in the garbage pile. Coffee grounds, fruit and vegetable peels, egg shells, and fruit cores are some common kitchen wastes that can form the green base of the compost while the dried stems and branches from your plants, paper, sawdust, and wood shavings can make up the brown component. Now you just need a compost bin and some water and if you keep churning the wet green and brown mixture regularly, you will soon have a nutrient-rich mass of black compost in a month or two.

  5. 4.Wood Ash

    Wood ash makes a great fertilizer for your plants and a green conditioner for your soil. Its composition of potassium, phosphorus, and quite a few trace minerals provide nutrition to your greens. So the next time you have a barbeque party, remember to collect all the wood ash you can. You can also scoop the ones from your fireplace. Sprinkle this on the soil just before spring and see your plants grow up strong, healthy, and happy. You can also use wood ash in your compost.

  6. 5.Legumes

    Now this is one green fertilizer that even the most knowledgeable gardener is probably not aware of. But here is a catch. You do NOT crush your beans and add them to the soil or mix in the compost pile. Instead, you plant leguminous plants in your garden. These plants can trap nitrogen from the air and use it to produce plant food. This in turn enriches the soil and you are spared the need to use nitrogen-based fertilizers.

  7. 6.Boiling Water

    If ever you could go minimal and simplistic with your weed control routine, then this is what will let you achieve your goals. Simply pour boiling water on an ant mound or weedy undergrowth and you will soon be free of pests. But be careful not to pour it too close to the root of a plant. Boiling water is a double-edged gardening weapon—although it kills weeds, it can also damage roots and kill the beneficial microorganisms in the soil. However, you have your compost to provide what your soil needs.

  9. 7.Vinegar and Lemon Juice

    That magic household all-natural cleaner, vinegar, has its use in your garden too. Undiluted vinegar, that is, vinegar at its most acidic, is a potent weed killer. While any vinegar will do the job of extermination, pickling vinegars with up to 18 per cent acidity levels do a better job. Lime juice mixed with vinegar adds more killer strength to your bottle of homemade pesticide. Apart from being a completely natural product, another advantage of using vinegar and lime juice in your garden is that this pesticide is pet-friendly.

  10. 8.Epsom Salt

    Epsom salt is a very effective natural pesticide that can kill and/or repel a variety of insects and animals that can harm your plants. For instance, Epsom salt mixed with bran and molasses keeps away grasshoppers and other creepy crawlies. Sprinkling this salt on the leaves of your greens also keeps away animals like deer, groundhogs, and rabbits who would otherwise chew the leaves of the plants. The salt is also an effective deterrent to beetle, slug and snail infestations. However, be careful that you do not douse your plants with too much of this salt; Epsom salt is known to damage the roots of plants. On the other hand, make sure that you reapply an Epsom salt solution to your plants after watering or a spell of rain.

  11. 9.Non-Toxic Mixes

    In the hunt for the most effective and eco-friendly pesticide, do not overlook the role of non-toxic pesticide mixes. These are made from products that are not harmful to human beings and yet deter or prove to be deadly for some kinds of garden pests. For instance, a mixture of pureed garlic and raw onion instantly kills apple borers and aphids on flower and fruit trees and plants. Garlic mixed with mineral oil wipes out even the most severe and widespread pest infestation. A mixture of baking soda and any vegetable oil prevents the growth of fungus.

  12. 10.Orange Peels

    Orange peels or any food left over or discarded makes an excellent fertilizer. Why throw left over food stuffs away? Take it to your garden and watch your garden shine while you utilize all of your resources.


The above-mentioned green fertilizers and pesticides are effective and considerate additions to your gardening kit. By using natural products as fertilizers and pesticides, you are not only sparing your plants and lawn from a deadly onslaught of toxic chemicals but are also reducing your carbon footprint.


“You have a green thumb. You love plants and enjoy pottering about your garden. You are a Nature lover. So make sure you do no harm Mother Nature in your efforts to grow a vegetable garden. Go green with home-made and perfectly eco-friendly fertilizers and pesticides.”

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