The Cheap Way to Add Nitrogen to Plants

Wood ash is a natural source of nitrogen.

All plants need nitrogen to grow, but buying nitrogen fertilizer can be costly. For people on a budget, there is a less expensive way to add this necessary nutrient into the soil. Organic solutions are available in your own yard or kitchen. They break down slowly into the soil, giving a steady supply of nitrogen that the plants take up through their roots.


Step 1

Sprinkle old, used coffee grounds over the soil and around the plants. Water the coffee grounds into the soil or apply the coffee grounds just before a rain. Add coffee grounds to compost piles. If there is leftover coffee, use this to water the plants. Make a diluted version of coffee and use it to water the plants.


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Step 2

Add dried blood meal to the soil. Scatter it over the soil and rake it into the soil. Apply according to label directions.

Step 3

Add grass clippings and/or leaves to the soil or compost pile. The grass clippings and leaves break down into the soil adding nitrogen. If adding to the compost pile, turn the compost pile once a week.


Step 4

Clean out the fireplace and add some wood ash into the soil. Do not scatter the ash on a windy day or it won't stay on the soil. Apply 1/8 inch of wood ash over the soil. If more is scattered over the soil, it will be like a paste when wet.


Step 5

Add manure into the soil. Almost any kind of manure will work, except from dogs and cats. These animals eat manufactured food, not plants or insects like cows, horses, sheep and chickens.


Step 6

Plant a cover crop of legumes such as clover or vetch. These plants take nitrogen from the air and transfer it into the soil. Once the cover crop is growing, till it into the soil where it will decompose naturally, adding nitrogen into the soil.

Things You'll Need

  • Coffee grounds

  • Blood meal

  • Grass clippings, leaves

  • Wood ash

  • Manure

  • Cover crop

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