Full Member
Posts: 18
Joined: Wed Mar 07, 2012 8:58 pm
Location: Western NC

Nitrogen? How to add it without buying it?

After a soil test, the one thing my gardens were missing was nitrogen.
Can I use grass clippings? and then water it well? or put it around the plants? I try to use what I have and not buy products.
Thank you! :)

User avatar
Green Thumb
Posts: 671
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 11:42 am
Location: middle Tennessee

I have heard of folks making "grass tea"... soaking fresh-cut grass in water for several hours, and then using that water on the plants. I've never tried that myself. Grass is relatively high in Nitrogen, but I don't know if much of that (N) would actually make it into the soil when the grass is applied as mulch or watered-in.

Also, keep in mind that most (County Extension) soil tests don't even bother to try to test for Nitrogen because it is volatile or "fleeting". In other words, by the time the soil sample is removed from the ground and gets to the lab for testing, the nitrogen measured may not be indicative of the actual levels available "in the ground".

Newly Registered
Posts: 9
Joined: Wed Mar 28, 2012 11:47 am
Location: Reno, NV

I use grass clippings but I always make sure to compost them first...then just mix the compost in with your soil to get a nitrogen boost. The bacteria will feed on the nitrogen in the grass clippings...but it gets returned once it's finished cooking.

User avatar
Cool Member
Posts: 75
Joined: Wed Feb 22, 2012 8:23 pm
Location: Utah, USA

You can use grass clippings. They are a great source of nitrogen. You can put a layer on top of the soil. Don't do more than 2 inches. It will decompose fairly quickly. It will act as a mulch as it is decomposing. Add more through out summer as needed. Mulch around your plants with the grass clippings.

Susan W
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1858
Joined: Mon Jul 06, 2009 2:46 pm
Location: Memphis, TN

One source of N is fish stuff aka Fish Emulsion. You can find it at the garden center and box stores. Dilute as needed and water with it. I am using about 1/2 cup for 5 gal bucket to water. This is for needy herbs, mainly basil, and try for once/week.

Full Member
Posts: 32
Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2012 12:22 pm
Location: Missouri Ozarks

You can also top dress with some used coffee or tea grounds for nitrogen, or feed your plants with really weak coffee or tea.

Full Member
Posts: 11
Joined: Mon Apr 09, 2012 9:53 pm
Location: Michigan, USA

I've had the same problem before and grass does help, but just a little if I may add. Like what farmerlon suggested, you can do a “grass teaâ€

Return to “Organic Gardening Forum”