Posted on 15 July 2010 by

The Tomato Chronicles: DIY Fertilizer

comfreyBy Mindy McIntosh-Shetter

DIY tomato fertilizer is easy to make, inexpensive and not very time consuming.

Some of the fertilizer recipes below require ingredients that are in your kitchen cabinet or out in the barn while others can be found at the drug store or grown in your backyard.

But regardless of which one you decide to try you will be pleasantly surprised by the results.

Comfrey Fertilizer

Every garden needs comfrey. This very valuable plant is a very vigorous grower with deep roots that pull up nutrients from the subsoil. These nutrients are then stored in the leaves of comfrey. These leaves can be used as a nutritious mulch, compost activator or fertilizer for your tomatoes and other fruiting plants.

How to Make Comfrey Fertilizer

Harvesting comfrey is the first step in making this organic fertilizer. Comfrey is a very vigorous grower so this step can be done several times during the season. Next just cut the leaves back and gather up. Place comfrey in a bucket with a tight fitting lid is the next step. If the bucket has a tap retrieving the lid will be a little easier but the fertilizer can be made without the tap.

Simply stuff the leaves in the bucket. The more leaves you have the more liquid fertilizer you will end up with in the end. Weight the leaves down with a stone, brick, or any thing with weight. Place the lid on the container. This will keep the stink, water, and bugs out while comfrey steeps.

Do not add water while comfrey is steeping. Many recipes for manure or compost teas require the addition of water but plain decomposing comfrey smells bad enough. Adding water to the comfrey will only make the smell worse.

Wait 6 weeks for decomposing to occur. Once this time has passed simply drain the liquid into a container and place the decomposed leaves in the compost. Then start the process again.

Comfrey liquid does not smell but is very concentrated. To use as an organic fertilizer one needs to mix the comfrey liquid at a 15:1 ratio. This fertilizer is high in potassium and is perfect for tomatoes, peppers, and flowers.

Molasses Fertilizer

Molasses has a 1-0-5 NPK ratio while also containing potash, sulfur, and trace minerals. Molasses for years has been used as a nutritional soil amendment, a carbohydrate source to feed and stimulate organisms, and a chelating agent.

Molasses can come in 2 forms. One is in liquid form that can simply be bought at the store. The second is dry molasses which is molasses sprayed on grain residue and dried. But regardless of which form you use blackstrap molasses is the type of molasses with the highest level of sulfur, iron, and micronutrients, which is an excellent for man and soil.

Molasses as a fertilizer works by “feeding the soil not the plant.” It provides carbohydrates to the “micro-herd” that works with plant roots to digest and absorb nutrients. Also the micronutrients help the “micro-herd” to use trace minerals as a catalysts to make enzymes that create biochemical transformations in other words the “micro-herd” breaks down organic fertilizer and “feed” it to the plants. Molasses also works as a chelating agent, which is to simply say that a “magical” substance converts one chemical nutrient that plants or animals cannot use into one that can be used.

Molasses is a versatile product that can work as a plant food or as an additive to improve a fertilizer mix or tea. Dry molasses can be used in a fertilizer mix while liquid molasses or blackstrap molasses alone can be used alone or as part of both sprays and soil drenches.

Dry molasses can be mixed into your own personal soil potting mix at 1 cup of dried molasses per 10 gallons of soil mix. It can also be mixed with water, compost tea, or manure tea. This can be mixed at 1 tablespoon per gallon of water. The easiest and cheapest form of dry molasses comes from horse feed.

Blackstrap molasses are great for watering and foliar feeding when mixed with organic teas. A simple recipe for Guano Tea Sweetened with Blackstrap Molasses and Alfalfa Meal Tea Sweetened with Blackstrap Molasses is below.

Guano Tea Sweetened with Blackstrap Molasses


  • 1 gallon of Water
  • 1 Tablespoon of Guano
  • 1 teaspoon Blackstrap Molasses

Place guano in a lady’s nylon and tie off. Put in water and soak for 24 hours. Stir frequently. Water as usual and place used guano in compost. Use as a usual liquid fertilizer.

Alfalfa Meal Tea Sweetened with Blackstrap Molasses


  • 4 gallons of Water
  • 1 cup of fine Alfalfa Meal
  • 1 tablespoon Blackstrap Molasses

This tea is great as a foliar feed, which for the novice simply means spraying the leaves where nutrients are absorbed through plant pores.

Epsom Salt

Using Epsom salt as a fertilizer provides tomato plants with magnesium and sulfate, which they love. Simply sprinkle 1 tablespoon of Epsom salt per foot of plant around the base of each plant and water in. Do this every 2 weeks and watch your plants grow.

This year try your hand at making your own plant fertilizer. Your plants will thank you and so will the planet. So until we speak again remember if your tomatoes aren’t red, your roses aren’t blooming DIY your own fertilizer to get things moving.

One Response to “The Tomato Chronicles: DIY Fertilizer”

  1. christine horan Says: I started 5 tomato seeds. When they got to about 5″ tall they looked healthy green .They were put in a small pot for each . They were under a cfl grow bulb for 8 hours during the day, looked great. I put light off & went to bed , woke up at about 6 am looked at all & tiny surprise all 5 plants were gone.! No sign as though I had ever had anything were in all 5 pots. They all looked so healthy now gone like they were stollen from the pits! What happen to all my tomato plants? It’s late to start from seed now it’s begining of June !! Help ?

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