By: Kenneth Sleight I Lansing Gardening Examiner
It’s a typical morning in Lansing, Michigan. You get up and brush your teeth, shower, shave, and head downstairs for a cup of coffee. Breakfast is a quick plate of scrambled eggs and toast and you’re out the door and off to work. On the way to your car you see those puny, drooping, sad excuses for tomato plants that you put in a couple weeks ago. What you don’t realize is – except for a cheap drug store purchase you had the makings of an amazing tomato fertilizer.
With the hair from your (or your significant other’s) daily shave, the grounds from that cup of coffee, and the shells from your scrambled eggs, mixed with a bit of Epsom salt you have the perfect plant food. Human hair contains keratin, a slow release form of nitrogen. This will give a long term nutrient to your plant. The eggshells are full of calcium, the coffee grounds also are a good source of immediate nitrogen, and the Epsom salts contain magnesium. These three nutrients, along with lots of water, are the keys to a strong, bountiful plant.
Now that you have all the ingredients what’s the best way to give them to the plant. The best way is to make a tea with them. This is a very simple but slightly messy task. Take the eggshells and dry them in the oven at 325 degrees for about an hour. When they are done crush them into a fine powder. Put the powder, the hair, and the coffee grounds in a blender and fill it about three quarters of the way with water. Blend well. When the solution is blended add in the Epsom salt and blend for about ten seconds more. It is important to note that all of the ingredients should be in a 1:1 ratio but this is not a strict rule.
When the tea is ready apply it directly to the root system of the plant. DO NOT put it on the leaves, it may cause them to burn. The best way to determine where the end of the root system is is to look at the branches of the plant. The root system is generally the same distance away as the end of the leaves. Pour the tea around the plant and then finish drenching the soil with water. This will send the nutrients deep into the soil where the plant can get to them.