Save the planet.

Conserve water as much as you can.

You just boiled vegetables and wonder if you could reuse this water for your plants.

Vegetable water is good for plants because it contains lot of nutrients released after boiling vegetables. You can directly pour this water into the soil or spray it on the foliage to give a boost of nutrients. Avoid using vegetable water that contains salt in it.

In this post, I’ll help you find out the benefits of using vegetable water for your plants. I’ll give tips on using vegetable water. And what precautions you need to take to keep your plants safe.

Let’s begin.

What are the benefits of using vegetable water for plants?

1. Vegetable water provides nutrients to plants

Plants are living organisms. They require nutrients and minerals to survive just like humans do. Nutrients are recycled and used over and over again. All plants have nutrients in them, so a great way to give plants the nutrients they need is through the byproducts of other plants. Composting is an excellent example of this.

As old plants break down, they can be used again to fertilize growing plants. The same general process happens with vegetable water. 

I conducted a survey and asked fellow gardeners if they used vegetable water for plants. 28% used vegetable water and found it beneficial. 58.4% did not use the water because they had added salt to it.

Vegetable water provides nitrogen

One of the main requirements of a plant is nitrogen. Ensuring that there’s a good amount of nitrogen in the soil will help your plants avoid yellowing leaves and stems, stunted growth, and malnourished plants. 

Nitrogen follows a cycle, and learning how that cycle works can be beneficial to your gardening. Plants get nitrogen from the soil and convert it into nitrates. When plants or animals die and decompose, the nitrates revert to the simple form of nitrogen, and it becomes available to other growing plants. 

Vegetable water can provide nitrogen as well. When you boil or steam vegetables, nitrates are dissolved into the water. If you water your plants with vegetable water, the nitrates are broken down into nitrogen and oxygen, which can then be utilized by your garden or house plants.

Vegetable water provides calcium

Another nutrient that plants need is calcium. Calcium helps the plant manufacture cells and grow. 

The Sunset Western Garden Book states, “Calcium plays a fundamental part in cell manufacture, and growth-most roots must have some calcium right at the growing tips.”

Without calcium, plants can have issues with plant health and fruiting. For example, if a tomato plant lacks calcium, it can develop blossom end rot. When this happens, nearly all of the fruit on your plant will rot as they grow. Generally, the top of the fruit is ok, but the bottom may be completely rotten and black. 

A lot of green and leafy vegetables are high in calcium. When you boil or steam the vegetables, calcium leaches out into the water. Adding this calcium into your soil could positively affect your plants and help promote healthier cell growth and more vigorous fruits. 

Vegetable water provides iron

Iron is used in Chlorophyll formation in plants. Chlorophyll aids in photosynthesis which is how plants feed themselves. Chlorophyll is also responsible for the green pigment that many plants have. 

Many vegetables have high iron content. Boiling or steaming these vegetables will leave you with iron in your water. Using this water to feed your plants can help nourish them and maintain their rich green color.

2. Vegetable water can work as a liquid fertilizer

Vegetable water is safer to use

In general, organic liquid fertilizer is safer for plants. A solid fertilizer may generally be more efficient than a liquid one because it’s more potent and reaches the plant better, but the liquid is safer because it can be filtered through the soil and thinned out. Using vegetable water is even safer because it is natural and has already been diluted.

Because vegetable water can only provide so many nutrients, it is safe to fertilize your plants. This way, you won’t be at risk of over-fertilizing your plants. It is a natural fertilizer that isn’t too strong. When you add too much fertilizer, you can risk burning your plants, but making a natural fertilizer and adding it with your watering keeps your plant healthy and safe. 

Vegetable water is easy to use

Liquid fertilizer is easy to use because you can water and fertilize at the same time. Using leftovers from the kitchen is even more efficient and easy. It gives your plants extra nutrients with no need to purchase expensive fertilizers.

When you boil vegetables, you are left with nutrient-packed water that is often discarded. By using these nutrients, you are saving yourself time and money, and you are taking advantage of the wonderful processes of mother nature.

Vegetable water provides instant nutrients

Unlike a solid fertilizer, liquid nutrients are available to a plant right away. They can seep into the soil, down to the roots. Once at the roots, it can immediately be absorbed by the plant.

3. Vegetable water helps reuse and conserve water

Water is a resource, and we could all benefit from using it more efficiently. Reusing water from cooking or other tasks around the house is great for the environment and can sometimes cause extra benefits.

When reusing vegetable water, you are not only reusing water, but you are reusing nutrients as well. Nutrients are naturally recycled in nature, so you can easily use the same processes to recycle nutrients in your own small ecosystem.

How to use vegetable water for your plants?

If you have water left over from boiling vegetables, you simply use it to water your plants. Make sure the water has cooled to room temperature before using it.

You can use it to water your plants as per the regular watering schedule. Or you could put it in a spray bottle and spray it on the foliage as a quick source of nutrients.

spray bottle
Spray bottle I use to water or spray neem oil

It’s also possible to dilute vegetable water with some tap water if needed. You don’t want to make it too weak though.

Just make sure it’s all thin liquid (strain it if needed), since any solids will stay on top of the soil and attract pests. And of course make sure it’s cooled before applying. – Lan

What are the precautions when using vegetable water?

Make sure the water has cooled down to room temperature before using it on your plants. You don’t want to end up burning the foliage or roots.

I would recommend straining the water before adding it to the soil. You want to remove small particles of vegetable matter from the water.

Depending on how you use the vegetable water, these can rot in the soil or on the foliage. This can attract pests or diseases to the plant foliage and roots.

Don’t use vegetable water that contains too much salt, as this will dehydrate the plant. If you still want to use it, you need to filter the salt out first.

Make sure the water isn’t too hot and has no salt as salt is harsh on plants. You can even use rice water or the water in which you boiled your eggs. Just don’t water this nutrient-rich water daily to your plants. Weekly in small amount should be enough. – Colin Barker, Co-Founder, FilterSmart

I would also suggest using the water you boiled the vegetables in. Avoid using water that contains intense spices. Or water that you used for cooking meats.

You can also use water used for boiling pasta, rice, or eggs as they are a good source of nutrients.

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