How to Make Plant Fertilizer
How can we repurpose leftover food scraps to rejuvenate plants at home?
This Lesson Plan is part the Gardening Module of SustainEd Farms' virtual programming.
As more restaurants limit service to carry out and delivery due to the novel coronavirus, U.S. consumers are cooking and eating more often at home. An increase in these behaviors will all-but-guarantee that more food scraps are thrown away. While it is always important to sort your waste items, consider repurposing your food waste for a more immediate use: plant fertilizer.
In the plant world, fertilizer is any supplement that increases the fertility of a plant -- that which makes the plant more likely to be biologically competitive and reproduce successfully. It is essentially plant food, for which the plant can use to fulfill its basic functioning. Learning to make your own fertilizer can be both cost-effective and beneficial for the growth of your plants at home.
Students will be able to...
Make and apply their own fertilizer at home using banana peels
Identify the key health benefits of bananas
Understand why fertilizer supplements plant growth
fertilizer /ˈfərdlˌīzər/ noun. - an additive to soil or parts of a plant that enables optimal functioning of certain biological processes
1. Gather your materials. You will need the following supplies:
2-3 banana peels (stickers removed, preferably organically produced) · a sealable container with lid · water · watering can or other watering device
🍌A good source of nutrients for humans. Bananas contain potassium, which helps the human body…
Regulate blood pressure, thereby stabilizing heart health.
Hydrate the body by retaining a proper balance of water inside and outside of cells.
2. Watch the following Youtube video to see a demonstration of how to make your own banana peel fertilizer. Then, follow along with the remainder of the lesson.
3. Remove any stickers from the banana peels, and rinse them with water. You do not want any chemicals from the stickers or from previous pesticide use to leach into your fertilizer.
4. Place the bananas in your sealable container of choice, and fill the container with water to the top. Faster the lid onto your container, and place the fixture in a cool, dark place -- any cabinet will work fine. Check back on your banana tea in 3 days.
💭Potassium is good for plants, too? … Yes, potassium is an essential nutrient for plants.
Potassium is integral in the opening and closing of stomata, and therefore plays a role in how much carbon dioxide can be taken in by the plant.
Similar to its water retention properties in humans, potassium is key in the drought tolerance of plants.
The production of ATP -- the “energy currency” of biological activity -- is enabled by enzyme activity in which potassium is involved.
5. After waiting 3 days, you will have a banana-water tea, which you will dilute with more water to be applied as a fertilizer. By volume, for every 1 part fertilizer (the tea), you will want approximately 6 parts water. If you are being precise, measure out 1 cup of banana tea, and place it into your watering can. Then, put 6 cups of water into your watering can. Stir your diluted mixture.
6. Apply the fertilizer to your plants! Use your banana tea by watering the soil of any of your plants, targeting their roots (not the leaves).
7. Once you have used all of your banana tea fertilizer, compost the old banana peels. By eating a banana, turning it into fertilizer, and composting, you have successfully used a banana for 3 different purposes -- congrats, you are the ultimate repurposer!
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