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I am excited to share this post with you today! This is a cheap, easy and very effective homemade lawn food that you can use in place of fertilizer.
One of our most viewed posts last year was this homemade plant food recipe (click here to check it out).
What readers enjoyed most, was the science backed aspect of how it worked!
I love hearing all of your success stories on it too! In fact, my father in law uses this exclusively in his garden now.
If you have a success story from the eBook or another chemistry solution, please send us an email to let us know!
First, let’s talk about this recipe, then we will share with you the amazing chemistry behind why this works so well!
Remember to always test small areas first before use. Please use caution around other plants, this is ONLY for grass!
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Update 7/25/17 – I have had some readers tell me this looks like Jerry Bakers Formula. I have never heard of him, so I searched for his lawn food to see what he has. It is VERY similar to his with some minor differences. I use club soda and epsom salt, his contained corn syrup and some other different things. The only one I have used is this one below. I learned part of this recipe in college from our textbook. I have since changed up a few things to make to better for the grass. Thanks to all my wonderful readers for letting me know about Jerry Baker, so I can make sure to check out his posts! Again, I cannot vouch for his recipe because I have never used it before. This is the only one I use and know to work. If you have used his recipe and are coming to this blog, please keep in mind this is NOT the same thing.*****
Ingredients Needed For Homemade Lawn Food:
- 1 bottle of beer (it can be anything you have!)
- 1 cup mild baby shampoo (like THIS one, DO NOT use anti-bacterial)
- 1 cup club soda (any type you have or find for cheap)
- ¼ cup – 1/2 cup Epsom (NOT scented, like this one)
- 1 cup household ammonia (same as ammonium hydroxide, like this one)
- Hose sprayer with settings (this is my favorite one)
Check out this video on putting it all together! Feel free to add us to Instagram for more videos and behind the scenes.
- First, combine ingredients into a big jug (I am using a leftover Silk almond milk bottle). Make sure it is something with a lid. I like to use 1/4 cup epsom salt, but you can use up to 1/2 cup of epsom salt. Both measurements are fine!
- For ventilation, mix this up outside or a place with air flow (like near an open window).
- Cap the lid, then add all the ingredients to a 32 oz sprayer hose container (this one is the best and affordable). ***Make sure to set it no more than 3 or 4 oz per gallon!
- Next, spray evenly over your lawn. You can water within a few minutes after application. The more you water while using this fertilizer, the more the solution will soak into the soil and feed roots. Always ALWAYS test a small portion of your lawn. Everyone has a different climate, so please test to see how it works first.
- Apply every 2-3 weeks when daytime temperatures are below 85 or 90 degrees. If you aren’t getting rain, make sure to water your lawn while using this.
Lawn Size For One Application of DIY Lawn Food:
This amount will cover a small yard using the hose sprayer. If you get a lot of rain or water often, you can use this to do 1/2 of your yard and make another bottle for the other half. For large yards, you will need to make a few batches.
Remember to test your grass first!
I’ve had many emails and comments from readers who have used this and love it! I also had a reader share his before and after on instagram. Just search #chemistrycachet on instagram
Why this Homemade Lawn Food Recipe Works:
What is the Science Behind This DIY Lawn Fertilizer?
Each ingredient in this recipe has a specific use. After testing out many different types of ingredients, I have found the combination of these ingredients below is what makes this work so well. Let’s check out the purpose for each ingredient.
Why is Beer Used For Homemade Lawn Food?
Beer is a unique item to add to your soil. Since it is fermented, it adds beneficial chemicals to the soil that aide in healthy bacteria growth. It also distributes nutrients to the grass.
If you have treated your lawn with chemicals before, beer can help restore the natural bacteria. Do not use any other alcoholic beverage like wine, liquor, or other drinks!
Mild Baby Shampoo
The key to this is allowing the homemade lawn food to adhere to the soil and grass, and it also helps the soil open up to soak in nutrients. Make sure to NOT sure anti-bacterial soap. You want to keep all the natural bacteria. I have found baby shampoo to be the most mild form of soap without suffocating the grass. Remember this homemade weed killer? It contained dish soap which allowed the solution to stick, and helped the plant to absorb the vinegar, salt, and arthritis rub which killed it quickly.
This works the same way, but we are using a gentle soap and helping the soil and grass absorb vital nutrients.
Club soda is another unique option. Carbonated water is a fantastic source of carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, good sodium like sodium bicarbonate (baking soda). This is very important for grass growth and helps for a deep green lawn.
Chemist Tip: I have read about people using sprite or coke for plants…it is the same principle that helps this work, but those drinks contain a large amount of sugar. This isn’t good for soil and attracts bugs. Avoid those problems by using club soda instead!
Grass and soil benefit from magnesium and sulfate. Epsom salt is a great way to get a deeper green for plants and grass. Do not use table salt! Regular salt kills grass and weeds, so always use epsom salt.
I have had questions about ammonia in the past. To clarify this is HOUSEHOLD ammonia you find in the cleaning section of your grocery store (like this one). The label will read ammonium hydroxide. Ammonium hydroxide is a solution of ammonia and water which means it will be safe and diluted for household use. It is one of the best ways to get a large dose of nitrogen to plants!
I did a small portion in a few patches of our back field that have never been treated so I could show you a before and after. What I noticed most is the grass gets a deeper green, and the grass starts growing thicker!
Sadly, we’ve had some not so nice comments about this lawn food recipe. I can assure you, I NEVER share anything unless I personally used it. I walked outside and took a picture of my lawn just now. We’ve had 100+ weather all of July in Texas with minimal rain. We water about once per week due to water restrictions. The only fertilizer I use is this homemade lawn food.
FAQs on Making this Homemade Lawn Food
Over the years, these questions below are the most asked!
How many square feet does this cover?
This is a difficult question to answer because it depends on your climate, grass quality, and type of grass. We’ve worked out the math for another reader who has a very large lawn. For this one gallon batch at 3 oz per gallon, it covers roughly 1000 sq ft of lawn.
I prefer to answer this question by saying you lightly spray your yard with this solution, then water thoroughly. You can get a feel of it and use it like you would any other liquid fertilizer.
How fast does this work?
For healthy yards, this is a subtle way to nourish soil and grass. It will allow your lawn to stay healthy with good bacteria.
For poor quality grass, you might see a difference in a few weeks with proper watering.
This is meant to be a long-term treatment that will continue to nourish grass and soil. It helps recover chemical usage that can kill good bacteria overtime.
What if I don’t want to buy beer or don’t have any?
This solution CAN work without the beer, but it really helps with soil quality which helps grass grow better. I recommend using it for the full benefits of this homemade lawn fertilizer.
What if it’s really hot outside?
As with all fertilizers, even store-bought, you don’t want to use this when temperatures are above 90 degrees. Nitrogen can scorch grass in extremely hot weather. That is why spring is such a great time of year to feed your lawn!
If you aren’t now sure, test it on a small area!
What if I don’t have that spray attachment you mention?
This attachment is the easiest way to use a liquid fertilizer. You can also add 3 oz of the fertilizer to one gallon of water. Carefully water over the lawn with this. Just be cautious to evenly distribute over the lawn.
What if I don’t like using ammonia?
The most important aspect of this homemade fertilizer is the nitrogen content. The easiest way to get a large does of nitrogen in the home is from household ammonia. I don’t like using ammonia for cleaning since many of my family members have breathing issues. So, I only use it for outdoor things like this. It is very safe outside and will not harm anything! It is much safer than many store-bought fertilizers.
Also, I have been using the same bottle of household ammonia for over a year since I only use it for this plant food and this lawn food.
Can I use any baby shampoo?
YES! Get the cheapest you can find, it doesn’t need to be anything fancy. Just remember to make sure it is NOT anti-bacterial 🙂
Enjoy feeding your lawn!
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