In many gardens, grass clippings accumulate to such a level that composting alone is not an adequate disposal method. A useful way to recycle these excess grass cuttings is to use them to mulch flower beds and vegetable patches. This means that moisture stays in the ground longer and supplies plant roots with a slow-release fertiliser. What's more, these cuttings keep the soil looser so that you have to hoe less often. As the grass rots on the beds, it becomes a natural fertiliser for your plants. The grass clippings can be used directly from the collector of your lawnmower, as long as it doesn't contain any weeds or grass seeds. To prevent the grass from putrefying, the mulch layer applied should be no more than three to five centimetres high when fresh. It is even better to let the grass wilt a little before using it. To achieve the best results from mulching, use the GARDENA combisystem Grubber to lightly incorporate the fresh or dry grass cuttings into the ground immediately after mowing. Keep the mulch layer dense by topping up with mulch material if necessary.
Miracle product: Used coffee grounds
Used coffee grounds are a well-known miracle plant fertiliser. This is due to their high content of nitrogen, phosphorus, minerals and potassium, which make them a high-quality natural fertiliser. Fertilising with coffee ground requires little effort. Simply collect old coffee grounds, spread on an old newspaper and let them dry out so that they can be spread easier. Coffee grounds can be used to fertilise beds, potted plants, tub plants and house plants. How often you should use coffee grounds to fertilise a plant varies between different types. House plants can only tolerate coffee once every six months. However, outdoor plants can be fertilised with coffee grounds up to four times a year. The best way to do this is to lightly sprinkle the coffee grounds on the soil surrounding the plant and then gently incorporate them into the earth. For potted plants and tub plants, the coffee grounds can be mixed in with the potting soil when planting. Any leftover coffee grounds can be thinly spread across the compost. Roses, geraniums, angel's trumpets, oleanders, hydrangeas, rhododendrons and azaleas all respond particularly well to coffee grounds as a fertiliser. Last but not least, this environmentally friendly fertiliser attracts earthworms, which loosen the ground and supply the soil and plants with nutrients from their excrement.
Not particularly fragrant but very beneficial
Not quite as fragrant—but still good for roses and all garden plants that require plenty of nutrients—is fertiliser made from horse manure. To prepare this fertiliser, put one shovel of manure into a bucket and fill with water. Then store the mixture somewhere where you can't smell it for three weeks to allow it to develop. You can then dilute the finished liquid manure with water at a ratio of 1:20 and use this to fertilise your roses. But be careful: The mixture develops a very strong, powerful smell! For those who prefer to take shortcuts; simply dig in the horse manure directly between the roses.
Aside from liquid horse manure fertiliser, a concoction made from stinging nettles also develops a penetrating smell. Nevertheless, this kind of homemade fertiliser nourishes your plants in a natural manner, thanks to its particularly high nitrogen content. To make a stinging nettle liquid fertiliser, cut a kilogram of fresh nettle leaves into small pieces and place in a bucket with approximately ten litres of water. To save water, rainwater is ideal for this fertiliser. You can also mix a small quantity of leaves directly into the soil with the plant or place them in the soil when potting plants. Cover the mixture and allow to steep for around two weeks. Your homemade natural fertiliser is ready once the liquid has darkened in colour and has stopped foaming. Dilute around half a litre of this homemade liquid fertiliser with water in a 10-litre watering can and water your plants with it once or twice a week. This natural fertiliser is beneficial for indoor plants, but also for all beds in the garden, except for beans, peas and onions. It is also beneficial to plants that are sensitive to lice if you lightly spray them with the liquid fertiliser, as this will create a crust of silicates that prevents the lice from piercing the plant cells and sucking them dry. This protection only lasts until the next time it rains and the layer is washed away.
Water used to cook potatoes is also a natural fertiliser for plants due to the vitamins released into the water during the cooking process. Simply cool the water after cooking and use it to water house plants and garden plants once a week. Mineral water that would be thrown away because it is no longer fresh enough can also be used as a fertiliser. Why not make the most of the water's high mineral content and let it benefit your plants?