Here is a nifty, and environmentally friendly garden trick! Instead of paying high prices for slow release fertilizer or moisture control potting soil, you can make it yourself for half the cost. Best of all, it is completely non toxic and safe. All you need is one clean diaper, and garden soil.

You can use your own dirt, or buy cheap garden soil bags at your local garden center. Most moms have a few diapers their children have outgrown laying around. Small packages of off brand diapers are only a few dollars if you don’t have any on hand. You will love this garden hack so much, that I guarantee you will use them again in the future.

If you want to make a slow release fertilizer soil, you can purchase any liquid fertilizer or make your own with epsom salt. The fertilizer is optional for this project though, and can even be added at a later time when the soil is already added to your pots or garden.

What to do:

  1. Take one clean diaper and place it in a large bowl or container. You will be mixing dirt in later, so use something that can be cleaned easily, or you don’t mind getting dirty.
  2. Slowly pour four cups of water into the diaper. Pour small amounts at a time in different spots to ensure everything gets soaked up. If you are making a slow release fertilizer, use your liquid fertilizer instead of water.
  3. After the water has been completely absorbed, cut off one end of the diaper and squeeze out all the gel into the bowl.
  4. Take a moment to play with the gel, because its really fun! It goes by many names but is most often referred to as polyacrylate, and has a lot of house hold uses that I will write about at a later date.
  5. Mix in about 6 cups of garden soil, more or less. This isn’t an exact science. Just make sure you have enough that when it is all mixed, it looks like soil and you can’t see any of the white gel. 
  6. When putting the mixture into pots, layer regular garden soil and the moisture mix. Start off with 1 inch plain soil, then a 1 inch layer of moisture mix, and so on. In garden soil, just sprinkle over your garden bed and work into the soil. 

For large potting or garden projects, you can skip step 5 and 6 and simply mix in the gel from several diapers into your potting soil or garden as you go. As the water dries out, the polyacrylate will absorb water every time you water your plants, or any liquid for that matter. So you can use liquid fertilizer. This nifty garden hack will help keep your plants from drying out between watering, and helps keep water loving plants from getting root rot!