A great secret to a thriving garden, enzymes make nutrients in the soil more available for plants to use. They are sometimes used as an ingredient in expensive plant sprays and fertilizers in gardening stores and catalogs. Though actually, these enzyme plant potions are simple to make at home. The recipes were given to me by a friend, who worked in a botanical garden for twenty years and has a gorgeously thriving garden himself.
The enzyme fertilizers work like magic, boosting harvests and helping produce a profusion of huge, show-quality blooms. Some gardeners have even reported that their long unfertile fruit trees suddenly started flowering and fruiting profusely after several applications of the remarkable enzymes. Additionally, enzyme fertilizer mixed with compost makes an excellent natural and very effective mixture for enriching depleted and poor soils. Enzymes can help with deterring pests, and even have some handy household uses.
How Enzyme Fertilizer Works
Enzymes are proteins that act as biocatalysts speeding up chemical reactions in cells. Some enzymes help break large molecules into smaller pieces while other enzymes help bind two molecules together to produce a new molecule. Enzymes are naturally present in the soil, excreted by bacteria, fungi, and other soil microbiomes. There they play a significant role in helping break down organic matter and making nutrients more available for plants to use. That way, they make the soil medium free from dead roots and other debris and increase the levels of NPK (nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium). In order to do their job, enzymes require cofactors and coenzymes, which are derived from trace minerals and vitamins present in healthy soils and compost. By cleaning the soil from debris and adding lots of nutrients, enzymes remove the breeding ground for harmful bacteria and pathogens making plants disease free and vigorous, while the more readily available nutrients boost growth, harvests, and blooms.
Besides boosting enzymatic activity in the soil, the ingredients used in the enzyme fertilizer add natural oils and compounds that have antifungal and pest repelling properties. Therefore, the diluted fertilizer can also be used as a spray to prevent and treat various plant problems such as mildew and insect infestations.
How to Make Your Own Enzyme Fertilizers
Enzyme plant fertilizers can be easily made yourself from almost any plant material. Good examples are fruit peels, fresh vegetables, and other plant scraps. Using materials such as citrus or pineapple peels will make the smell pleasant. Adding garlic, onions, or spices will make your fertilizer have the double function of also repelling pests. While adding cinnamon will both add a fragrance as well as make the fertilizer a good fungicide.
To make the enzyme fertilizer, shred or chop the plant material of your choice and combine with brown sugar or molasses at a rate of 1 part plant scraps to 3 parts sweetener, and 10 parts warm filtered water. Combine the above ingredients in an airtight bottle, (a simple plastic soda bottle works well), and shake vigorously. If there are some plant scraps floating on the surface exposed to oxygen, then put some stones or other weight on top to prevent mold. Leave the bottle to stand in a cool dry place for the enzymes to start working. Open the cap once in a while to let the co2 out (if using citrus peels, this will be pleasant). After about 3 months, your enzyme fertilizer would be ready to be used in the garden. The enzyme fertilizer can be stored in a cool, dry place away from sunlight for 5 to 6 months.
Using Enzyme Fertilizer in the Garden and Beyond
For use as a fertilizer, dilute the enzyme liquid at a rate of 1 tablespoon to a gallon of water. Dilution ratios of 1:100/500/1000 all work well depending on the pH requirements of the plant. Since the undiluted enzymes are acidic, using a more concentrated fertilizer for acid-loving plants such as blueberries will be beneficial. Fertilize your plants with the diluted enzyme fertilizer once every one to two weeks. You will not need to wait long, soon your plants will be thriving, blooming, and fruiting with vigor.
The enzyme fertilizer can also be used as a great natural way of keeping your plants pest, fungus, and disease-free. Spray the diluted liquid on plants or add it to the surrounding soil to control pests and fungus as well as stimulate the plants to defend against diseases.
Undiluted enzyme fertilizer can also be added to compost or dug into the soil and will greatly improve both of them. Spraying enzyme fertilizer on unfertile land along with the addition of incorporated compost is a very effective way of transforming bare sandy soil into fertile loam.
Enzyme fertilizers are also very helpful in the home. Undiluted enzyme liquid can be used to clean and polish practically anything. It will effectively remove grease, dirt, and mold from a wide range of surfaces.
Citrus Peel Enzyme Fertilizer Recipe
Have you wondered what you can do with all your lemon, orange, and tangerine peels? Here is an excellent way of using them in the garden and beyond. My personal favorite, this recipe is especially wonderful because of its pleasant fragrance and the fact that it is done in winter when most citrus peels are abundant. Making your own citrus enzyme fertilizer is a nice project for the cozy home on winter days when there is not much to do in the garden, and the 3-month curing time will make it just ready for spring gardening.
- 1/2 cup (100 g) brown sugar
- 3 cups (300 g) citrus peels
- 4 1/2 cups (1 liter) of water
Mix sugar and water in a plastic bottle. Add the cut or shredded citrus peels and shake vigorously. Tightly close the cap and place it in a cool dry place for three months. Occasionally open the cap to let out the co2. After three months, the liquid will become dark brown and have a white film on top. Use the delightful smelling citrus enzyme fertilizer in keeping your garden pest- and disease-free, flourishing, and abounding with blooms and fresh harvest.