Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Works for Me...

In this era of "reduce, reuse, recycle," I am sharing an idea that I actually got from my Mom. My very green-thumb Mom. Seriously, my mom can put a stick in dirt and have a ten foot tree a week later. We both have quite a few house plants, and, although we do use Miracle Grow in our gardens, we use something else for the potted plants.

For houseplants we use tea. Compost Tea. Free Compost Tea. I started a new batch today, and here is what it looks like right now:

I wish I had thought to take a picture of the jar I had just emptied. It was better. Very dark.

So, here's how you make it:
  1. Find a clean glass or plastic jar (mine is a peanut jar). 
  2. Put it on your counter and put a little water in it.
  3. Whenever you use an egg, put the shell in the jar. (I use a spoon to crunch them down in there.)
  4. Whenever you make coffee, put the used grounds in the jar.
  5. After you've put a few egg shells & coffee grounds in, top it off with water, shake and let it sit.
  6. Let it sit some more.
  7. And let it sit some more. I shake mine once a day, but Mom says that's not necessary.
  8. Don't let it sit in direct sunlight or over your oven (where it will get warm). You want all the nutrients to leach out of the egg shells & grounds, but you don't want to start an algae farm!
  9. I let mine sit for about a week.
  10. When you are ready to fertilize feed your plants, you just strain out the eggs & grounds (I do this by pouring the contents of the jar through a paper towel into a big cup or bottle).
 
Sometimes I add extra water, and sometimes I just focus the "tea" full-strength on my plants that need it most.

Does it work? Well, you be the judge:

Philodendron + a purple plant I pinched at a Dr. office...

Oregano. Yum...

Prayer plant + something else I got 7 years ago.

If you're new today, please take a moment to leave a comment... I love getting feedback!

For more awesome ideas from some awesome ladies, check out WFMW at it's new, temporary home, Rocks in My Dryer.

108 comments:

  1. I'm soo gonna make one of these too! Thank you for the instructions and inspiration! Now.. off to the dr.'s office to pinch some plants ;op

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  2. Hello. I followed you over from WFMW. Wow! This is a great idea!! And it will save me from trekking thru the snow to put the shells and grounds in the compost pile. Yay! :)

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    1. The grounds and shells are not done, they still go to compost with the paper towel!

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    2. I have been crushing egg shells, etc, but never strained . I know it will work. I also use green tea leaves. Thanks. Does it work on only acidic plants or all?

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  3. I LOVE this! Prairie Cottage Rose linked to your post which is how I found you. I will be trying this TODAY!!!

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  4. Great idea. Can I add actual tea bags too? We drink more tea than coffee. Found you through Prairie Cottage Rose & WFMW. Thanks for sharing!

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  5. Awesome tip that I'm planning to try. Thanks.

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  6. what a great idea. I put the egg shells and coffee grounds in the garden all the time.

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  7. Great for you Tomatoes too. & for an extra blast of calcium, pulverize a tums tablet and add it to your "tea".

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  8. Thanks so much! I am getting back to the "making everything I possibly can instead of buying products" phase of my life again after many years hiatus. I am thrilled to find so many great recipes that help me do this.

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  9. Cool idea! Thank you! I recently repotted two of my FAVORITE house plants that I have had for 2 years and killed both of them! :( Any suggestions about repotting? And is it necessary for house plants? Thanks!

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  10. My grandmother used to do this but she used eggshells only. I used to hate plant watering day because it smelled soooooooo bad BUT, she grew the most beautiful plants. I'm trying to get away from chemicals as much as I can and I'm going to start making this. It only smells for a few minutes while you are actually watering.

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  11. do you know if this is good for both blooming and green flowers because I have 60 house plants some bloom and some don't so then I can give it a try, thank you

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  12. I am a recent retiree and would love to start my garden and take better care of my house plants. I am definitely going to try this on my plants.

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  13. Any alternatives for the coffee grounds? We don't drink it.

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    1. Sometimes Starbucks and other coffee places will save coffee grounds to give to gardeners

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  14. Wow! I have to try this... Thanks...

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  15. Thank you for your post, I will be trying this as well.

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  16. We don't do coffee, would tea bags work just as well? Thanks for the post

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  17. Don't forget to let the leftover egg shells and coffee grounds dry out after their soak. Put them in your blender and grind away into a powder. Add this to your compost or around your plants. Let nothing go to waste! :)

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  18. yes good Idea I have been doing this for a while I use a very large old coffee urn with the spout on the bottom and put the trash in the pot and the water and just drain some water thru the spout to water my plants. after a while I empty the spent stuff in to the compost pile.

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  19. your purple plant is a purple wondering jew

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    Replies
    1. Thank you!!! I've been wondering about that forever!

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    2. wAndering jew.

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  20. Will try this thanks normally I just throw it all into my compost pile and plus the chickens love the eggs shell.

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  21. Hello, I am new to your page. Very nice. I have been throwing my coffee grounds away with a cringe on my face because I knew they were good for something, Well no more. I will be useing them as plant food now. Can i use this for my outdoor plants and veggies? Thank ou I enjoyed the info.

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    1. Yes! I have used leftover compost tea on just about every plant I own, including strawberries and our vegetable garden. In our current home, it's easier than doing actual compost.

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    2. Compost TEA is actually (as stated here)...FERTILIZER. COMPOST is what you get when you take remains of fruit. vegetables, leaves, twigs, grass, etc and turn it into DIRT. Fertilizer and dirt are two different things.
      Sorry, but when those two terms are used to describe the same thing, it bugs me! ;-}

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  22. my thumb has started out brown, but i'm getting a little better each day. so glad i found your recipe for compost tea and that it's a lot simpler than other's i've seen. i'm totally going to give this a try!

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    1. I'm a pretty relaxed gardener, so I'm all about the quick-&-dirty gardening tricks. It should be easy & uncomplicated.

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  23. So simple; thanks for sharing! Just started my own jar this morning.

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  24. Interessante. Vou experimentar.
    Rose

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  25. brilliant idea. i have been using coffee grounds for years.. love this...

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  26. Thank you for this tip! I WILL try it. Always looking for homemade ways to take care of my plants and garden.

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  27. Thanks for the extra tip about the egg shells. I use water down coffee on my plants all the time. Now I'll add the egg shells.

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  28. What a great idea. (Popping over from Pinterest.) I use coffee grounds and egg shells in my outside garden... why didn't I think to use it for the houseplants, too? Hmpf.
    I'm going to share this good tip on my Facebook Page, Thankful Expressions.

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    1. Thank you for sharing it on your page! We've had a horrible slug problem in our strawberry bed this year, so I'm no longer throwing out the egg shells when I strain the "tea." Now my kids crunch them up and put them out to help with the slimy little pests.

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  29. Awesome tip! Can't wait to try this.I think I have a poisonous thumb instead of a green one.

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  30. Starbucks gives their grounds away free. Bring a sand pail or empty container.

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    1. Thanks for the tip! We just got a Keurig, so collecting those coffee grounds is a little more of a pain now.

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  31. I have been putting my coffee grounds into the compost but now I am going to give this a try as well.

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    1. You should! I divide mine between the two.

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  32. How often do you fertilize your houseplants?

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  33. I do this also, I also add a penny and then I use an empty water bottle which I have made a hole in the top. Then I just squeeze it on my plants. I just add fresh water as it empties. I have one at work too for my office plants and they have gone crazy.

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  34. can you use tea bags instead? im not a coffee drinker...

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  35. Do you need to sanitize the egg shells first? I've seen suggestions for using egg shells in the garden before but they've always suggested boiling the shells first to kill any bacteria. What are your thoughts?

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  36. My Grandma use to do this too, only she used only egg shells. Her plants were always beautiful! Thanks for reminding me about this easy tip.

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  37. Hi! I have been using coffee grounds, tea bags and eggshells for a long time but I grind my eggshells in the blender and spread them around my plants to keep the slugs and earwigs away. I will also make a sludge from the coffee grounds and ground up eggshells and teabags and then dilute it to water my plants.

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  38. Would leftover coffee work just as well? How about adding it to the jar instead of water and let nothing go to waste.

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  39. Hey thanks for the gardening tips I will give it a go and let you know thanks again.

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  40. Great idea! Can this be used on vegetables as well? I notice you don't answer questions eft previously,hopefully someone who knows will answer. Thanks for the tip!

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  41. Thanks for reminding me about this easy tip.:)

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  42. I saw this on Pinterest and am excited to try it. Thanks!

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  43. I water my plants with left over coffee ... hadn't thought about using egg shells ... Thanks!

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  44. Hi, this is a great tip. I have been wanting to try composting, but didn't know where to start. This seems like a great place to start. Wish me luck :)

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  45. I also know this compost tea to be wonderful for any acidic loving plants, such as roses and roddies.

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  46. I have a BUNCH of house plants and need LOTS of water when I do my watering how well does this work making BIGGER batches or should I stick with a bunch of lil batches? I save my coffee an eggs shells usually for my outside gardens but Ill start using them on my inside plants as well

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  47. Not a robot, yet. A philodendron is not 'just a purple plant'.;IT'S AN ORCHID! Actually I think you have a palaenopsis judging from the leaves.
    Jabez Withit/Master of gardens

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  48. I'm going to try this then I'll let everyone I know how well it works... <3

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  49. this is great my mom is a great gardener but in recent years has found she is allergic to miracle grow but she is not allergic to these ingredients

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  50. I have been using this on my veggie garden for around 3 weeks now and my plants are LOVING it! Thanks for the great tip, I love when i can reuse things in such a great way.

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  51. Can't wait to try this

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  52. I use eggshell in my garden for blossom rot & coffee grounds for fertalizer so why not make compost tea out of them & use it .

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  53. I purchased this sickly Umbrella tree that barely had any growth on the tip. I used old coffee by it self and now have new growth up and down the 8" stem. I wonder if you blend the eggshells and coffee grounds in a Magic bullet which will liquefy most anything. Let it set for a couple of days and use that?

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  54. I have a Bed and Breakfast .... and if there is anything I have lots of is ... eggs & coffee grounds ... because I make breakfast almost every a.m.
    I will use this on my three pathetic house plants .. hopefully they will get better. Thank you.

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  55. You had me at 'purple' - love the color. This tip is now added to my Garden Better Flowers and Shrubs board. I am trying it outside too. Thanks!

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  56. Thank you thank you thank you!! I've been looking for something to do with my egg shells and coffee grounds!!! I don't have enough refuse to have a compost pile being by myself! So this is a great solution at least some of my 'garbage' will go to good use!!

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    1. I am in the same situation. For any garbage that would normally go into a compost pile, I just run it through the blender with water, then pour it in the garden. Works great. I don't pour it directly on the base of the plants, just pour it about 6" away.

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  57. I'm going to give this a try!!! The purple plant you pinched at the doctor's off is a Wandering Jew!!! I have 3 pots of this plant and another big pot of Wandering Jew and Creeping Charlie living well together!!!!

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  58. This is a good idea. I have made compost tea before, but I usually dig compost out of my compost pile and let it sit in water for 24 hours before feeding. I like this idea.

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  59. So sorry! I just went back & re-read answering my own question. However, is there a certain amount of coffee grounds you use in relations to the egg shells? Again I don't drink coffee but my guess is one filter?

    I have to go to the coffee shop across the street to get there used grounds. Thank you!

    Terrific idea!

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  60. I wonder about using tea bags. Instant coffee is my brew of choice, but I love a pot of tea made with tea leaves.

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  61. My mother, used egg shells I had heard that coffee grounds encourages worms in a vermi-composter to be more productive. I wonder why it helps the soil?
    We're adding this to the UsFreebieFinder Pinterest board

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  62. Just wondering, do you rinse the egg shells out first? and can this be used on veggie plants?

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  63. Hey I'm from Brazil, and I'm starting to grow some houseplants, i love your tip! I'll definitely try it. Thank you.

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  64. Thanks for the tips ...I use egg shells and coffee ground and tea on all my plants ... Denis from www.art-liquidation.com

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  65. Totally cool! I always throw them into my garden over the winter and then till them under right before planting! Im going to have to make some of this for my indoor plants though! Ill pass it on to my Dad too! He is a green thumb like your mom! He is also a farmer! lol But Im sure he would like this! Thanks for sharing!

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  66. I have heard of this formula before, just got back to the computer from making up a batch. I have been saving eggshells and always have coffee grounds, so I'm sure going to use this recipe and I feel sure I will love the outcome. Thank you for sharing it with us.

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  67. how often do you use the fertilizer?

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  68. thank you for this information!

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  69. Hi - I did not want to go back to commercial chemicals to feed my tree rose, and it was getting sickly. It has had two batches of this 'tea' over a few weeks, and has lots of beautiful healthy growth! I'm thrilled and the remaining grounds and shells have now moved on to the general compost pile. Thanks much!

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  70. We're just moving into a new home and still deciding on house plants but I'll definitely try this. Thank you!

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  71. Hi, thank you for this simple compost tea idea. I was wondering, can you use shells from hard boiled eggs? or does the boiling take away from something? Thank you :)

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  72. Will be starting right after breakfast.

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  73. I made the compost tea and have been putting it one of two identical fuchsias. Even my husband could see the difference. The compost tea plant is putting on all kinds of new growth and the other one is just sitting there. All other care is identical,. It can be kind of stinky and I have been asked to strain it outside but I am sold!

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  74. This is a great idea, my dad used to make this but he would get leather sawdust (get it from a shoe repair shop) and put that in as well. You can usually get it free or for next to nothing. The tanning chemicals give a real boost to house plants!! Also, you can put cut hair in it as well!! Just keep the hair after a cut and put a small handful in the water with the rest! My dad did this in a gallon glass jar we kept under the sink.

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  75. Do you remove that thin skin like membrane that lines the inside of the shell? I would imagine it make the water smell like rotten egg.

    CJ

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  76. Fine tip to try! Although our summer has been so cool and lots of rain, so all my plants out are only getting there - hopefully here's heatwave until October :) in Finland

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  77. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  78. Does this work for all plant types? We have a lemon plant growing from a lemon seed and wonder if it is ok for citrus plants? Thanks

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  79. Im going to try this, sounds great and so easy :) And some of my house plants will love it!
    I think the red plant you got from the dr. is a Wandering Jew :) I have one myself and its so pretty in the sunlight

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  80. Hey! Thanks for this post!! Ill have to try it out!

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  81. Wow, I have to try this out. I wanted to grow some plants indoors this winter and I think this might keep them alive this year. Think it will work on a lemon tree I grew from seed?...Lol I just noticed the robot statement below the comments, very funny. I'm pretty sure I'm not a robot, have a great day.

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  82. so, did you feed the plants with the water or only the tea and the eggshell?

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  83. sounds good- did you use it full strength or dilute it when watering with miracle grow?

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  84. If readers study up on what chemicals thier various plants benefit from, they would better understand. While at it, check the composition of the ingredients you use in making the tea. Most kitchen waste can benefit plants. Study.

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  85. I don't drink coffee, so no grounds. What else can I add to make compost tea?

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  86. Thank you so much for sharing. My mom had a green thumb too and would throw coffee grounds right into the garden and in her plants. My brother would go fishing and toss the fish heads down behind the garden and bury them to enrich the soil ...but not close enough for the maggots to crawl to the garden. Then in the spring it all got mixed together the next year or when it was well finished decomposing.

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  87. I love this idea. I've always felt guilty throwing away the coffee grounds, so this is ideal. And I save egg shells and dry them to either crush and toss into the composter or spread around plants on the garden to discourage pests ie; slugs. I have always used cold leftover tea to water my plants, but I will certainly start building this right away.

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  88. Looks to be a winner. I think I will 'strain' the liquid through a paper towel lined strainer and after the liquid has finished draining . . will put the towel and contents into the compost pail for double duty in the compost bin. Thank you for the post

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  89. hi thanks for the great tips. Ive heard of this before b ut completely forgot it

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  90. gracias or sus consejos que pondre en practica ya le contare

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  91. Sounds awesome starring it now cooked eggs this morning and never got without coffee

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  92. This sounds great! I can't wait to try it with my house plants. Due to severe illness my plants have been neglected this winter. So I'm going to try this tea and see how my plants react. Thank you for the recipe. I'm alwys looking for natural ways to care for my plants inside and out.

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I would love to hear from you (as long as you're not a robot.)!