Making your own homemade nutrientsin Organics Thu Dec 26, 2013 5:24 pm
by ozzydiodude • The Weird One | 2.474 Posts | 11542 Points
This could be considered the next step in organic farming. The following recipes are from The Unconventional Farmer ( hXXp://gilcarandang.com/)
This is the workhorse of the beneficial bacteria we’ll be discussing here. We use it for everything! Foul odors, clogged drains, cheaper pig/chicken/etc farming, aquaculture, the applications are amazingly diverse. Learn how to make and use this and you will have a powerful tool in your farming arsenal.
How to Make:
Get container, fill halfway with rice-wash. Rice wash is the water leftover when you rinse fresh rice. For example, go buy rice, whatever kind, bring it home, put it in a pot with warm water, swirl it a bit and then drain the [now milky colored] water. The water is now a rich source of carbohydrates. In this step, you can substitute rice with another carbohydrate source if you don’t have rice, as long as it is complex (don’t use simple carbohydrates like sugar, honey, syrup, molasses, etc). You can use wheat, barley, kinoa, other carbohydrates as the base to make your carbohydrate wash. This wash will attract microbes from the air, among them lacto bacilli.
Cover loosely and let stand for a couple days to a week
When is it done? When you see a light film on top (molds) and it smells a little sour and forms 3 layers. This is indicating the rice wash is infected with various microbes. This happens more quickly in warm temperatures because microbes are more active. Thus it is all relative since we don’t do this in controlled laboratory conditions.
The layers are distinct
Top layer: floating carbohydrates leftover from fermentation and possibly molds
Middle layer: Lactic Acid and other bacteria (cheese buffs will recognize this as a makeshift “rennet”). We will use this layer.
Bottom layer: Starch, byproduct of fermentation
Extract the middle layer using a siphon. This layer contains the highest concentration of lactic acid bacteria and lowest concentration of the unneeded byproducts
Get a new container, larger than the first. Take the extracted serum from the last step and mix it with 10 parts milk. By saturating with milk (lactose), we dissuade other microbes from proliferating, leaving L. bacilli. E.G. if you have 1cup of the serum, mix it with 10cups milk.
TIP: The best milk to use in unpasteurized natural milk. However, any milk will do, even powdered milk. In our experience, the best is unpasteurized natural but just use what is available. We just want to saturate with lactose to promote L. bacilli bacteria.
You want to keep this stage anaerobic as much as possible. You can use something like rice bran, barley bran, wheat bran, etc sprinkled on top of the milk. I use a sealed container with a one-way valve.
After about 1 week (temp dependent), you’ll see curds (made of carbohydrate, protein, and fat) on top of the milk. The water below will be yellow colored – this is whey, enriched with lactic acid bacteria from the fermentation of the milk.
NOTE: Microbes like L. bacilli are more active in warmer temperatures. The curds you see are a byproduct of the fermentation process. Fermentation is generally associated with microbial processes under anaerobic(no oxygen) conditions. Now, L. bacilli is a facultative anaerobe, that is it can live and work with or without oxygen, but less competition in anaerobic conditions.
The water below(whey+lacto) is the good stuff. You want to extract this. You can either skim the curds off the top, pour through a strainer, or whatever other methods to accomplish that
NOTE: Remember the curds, or byproduct of milk fermentation by L. bacilli, are great food. They are full of beneficial microbes like L. bacilli. Feed the curds to the soil, compost pile, plants, animals, humans – whoever wants them! They are full of good nutrients/microbes. No waste in natural farming.
To preserve at room temperature, add an equal part sugar/molasses to the serum. So, if you have 1L of serum, add 1kilo sugar or 1L molasses. Otherwise store in fridge to keep.
1 L rice wash
After rice wash and milk remove curds – around 1L
= 20 L lactic acid bacteria serum
Plants – Growth Aid:
When added to water for plants, nutrient uptake efficiency is increased, which increases growth!
Improves growth of plants when applied as foliar spray and soil drench. Improves their efficiency in uptaking nutrients so naturally, growth is enhanced. With the use of these microorganisms, the nutrients you spray or drench to feed your plants become more bio-available and easily absorbable by the plants. Technically, you can say that plants do not use organic nutrients directly. Microorganisms convert organic nutrients to their inorganic constituents which the plants utilize. Utilizing microbes, you will notice better plant growth and health.
This is a consequence of the increased efficiency of nutrients. More nutrients available at smaller metabolic cost.
Lacto suppresses harmful bacteria in food/water that animals consume, enhances their gut flora so that line of defense is working optimally, etc.
Mix 2tbsp/L and spray on compost pile to improve decomposition. This is a huge topic that will be expanded upon in another post.
Aid Organic Fertilizer:
Add 1-2tbsp per gallon water-nutrient solution. Lacto consumes organic nutrients making them bio-available to plant roots.
Plants don’t use organic fertilizer! Microbes break it down to inorganic constituents, and plants take those up. This product makes that process more efficient.
Lacto works in aquaculture just fine if you don’t have BIM available. Add lacto at roughly 1L per 700m3 of fish-containing water. Example: you have a pond that averages 20m wide by 30m long by 2m deep. So, 20 x 30 x 2 = 1200m3. In this case you would add roughly 1L of BIM or Lacto
Microbes digest fish wastes, cleaning up water and improving water quality.
Allows fish to grow larger due to digestive efficiency
Allows higher population of fish in the same amount of water! Literally, increases the carrying capacity of your body of water! This is awesome for aquaculture setups
Homemade Fish Fertilizer
How to make your own fish fertilizer:
Buy a fish.
TIP: Any kind of fish will work. In fact, you might as well use trash fish, or fish discards like fish heads, guts, etc. I like to use whole fishes though as I think that makes for a better product.
Now, ideally you would throw the fish into a blender to mash it up into little pieces. I cut my fish into 8ths or so and then chuck it into my kitchen blender but I’m a bit of a caveman. If you’re squeamish, buy a separate blender for this, just make sure it is powerful enough, mine is 500W and works fine for small-medium size fishes. Remember, the finer the fish bits, the more effective the fermentation.
Add water. You can use a simple guide of 3:1 – 3 parts water to 1 part ferment material. 1 roughly 8in tilapia comes to about 500mL when ground up, so I add about 1500mL water.
TIP: ALWAYS USE NON-CHLORINATED WATER. Chlorine kills microbes. Simply let your chlorinated tap water sit for several hours, allowing the chlorine to dissipate. I let it sit overnight generally.
If you are using a blender, blend up the mixture. The water helps keep it loose so it blends much better after you add the water.
Add lacto bacilli to blended fish mixture. I use 2tbsp per L. You can use more or less if you want. 2tbsp/L is plenty though.
Add 1/3 parts sugar. This should be 1/3 the amount of fish you’ve added. Sugar will be either molasses or normal cane sugar.
TIP: Try not to use cane sugar since it is chemically bleached. Raw(unrefined) sugar like muscovado is best. In the Philippines we use molasses because it is cheap, but any glucose source works – syrup, honey, etc. Just use whatever is cheap. Glucose gives microbes energy. Whatever you have access to cheaply, go for it.
If using sugar, the equivalency is about 1KG sugar = 1L solution. So if you have 500mL like my tilapia, you want 1/3 of that in sugar. You’d use about 167g sugar, or roughly ¾ cup.
I blend the whole mixture up a bit. It’s good to have it as fine as possible.
Up to you how much you blend it, I blend until I don’t hear so many bones crunching in the blades of the blender.
Now you have liquefied fish, sugar, and lacto. Pour this mixture into a container. Loosely cover the container. No need to seal, because the container will explode as CO2 is released by fermentation. You just want to make sure other things don’t get into it. I use a container with a lid and loosely screw the cap on top (just make sure you don’t seal it because it WILL explode).
The process takes anywhere from 3 weeks to over a month. How do you know its finished? By the smell.
You know when it’s done when there is no smell anymore. During fermentation there is a nasty smell, but once completed, there will be almost no odor. You can open it, and put your nose right up to it. Take a whiff. Nothing but a faint vinegar smell. Now you know its done. Congratulations! You’ve made your own Fish Hydrolysate!
Now, usually I transfer it to a smaller container, usually just a smaller water bottle, just for convenience. At this time, I use a strainer and a funnel to strain the bones and scales out of the hydrolysate. But don’t expect a lot. From a whole 8-10in tilapia, you will only get a little tiny pile of bones/scales. They will feel kind of rubbery, not brittle. Throw these in the compost pile or garden, they are excellent fertilizer and microbe food, already inoculated with microbes!
Leave the cap on the strained concoction loose until you see no more little bubbles forming. Then cap it and store it for use as your own natural fertilizer.
How to use this fish fertilizer:
Mix 2tbsp/gal for applications.
Use as a soil drench as opposed to foliar spray.
Inoculate compost to boost fungal population. This is huge – major growth booster of fungus.
Use in compost teas to boost fungal growth, add Nitrogen. Use at ¼ strength for this application(1/2 tbsp per gal).
Mix in water when watering plants, as a natural fish fertilizer and to enhance populations of micro-organisms in the soil
Beneficial Indigenous Microorganisms(BIM) is a fermented microbial solution that can be used for many applications around the farm. It is loaded with microbes, and is a cornerstone of Gil’s Natural Farming method. It’s an incredible tool with a myriad of applications, some of which are discussed below.
How to Make:
The idea here is to collect microbes from natural healthy ecosystems. Different areas have different types of microbes in the soil – for example an old growth forest will have microbes that grasslands don’t and vice versa. To get the greatest diversity of microbes, you want to collect them from as many different habitats as you can. For starters, at least get from forest, grassland, and the boundary area between them.
TIP: Plant-specific microbes! If you are growing vegetables, find areas where natural veggies are thriving. If planting ornamentals, look for areas where wild ornamental type plants are. Also, target nitrogen-fixer plants since they have rhizobium bacterial strains present – legumes, as well as some other plant genuses such as Alder or Bayberry fall into this category.
Here’s how to collect microbes and make BIM:
Cook a carbohydrate source to use as the attractant. Rice, barley, wheat, oats, etc should work no problem, most often rice is used here in Asia.
Get a wooden box or perforated plastic box and fill bottom with rice. The rice should not be too deep, around 1 inch usually, otherwise it will take too long for all the rice to become infected. Don’t pack the rice, leave it loose to allow airflow. The whole idea is to create more space for the microbes to infect – the surface area of the rice.
Mark side of box with date and intended location.
Cover box with something that’s breathable – nylons stretched over, or newspaper, just something to keep big critters out – secure with string around top of box.
Dig a little depression in the desired location, a place with undisturbed soil where a healthy population of native microbes is likely to flourish.
TIP: In forest, look for areas where leaves build up and mold. In grassland, look for areas where grass is most thriving.
Place the box in the depression and loosely cover with the dirt and leaves around it.
After 5-10 days (depending on temperature), the first colony of microbes you will notice are white molds. Then different colors like yellow, green, black, etc if you leave it much longer. Generally we harvest when it is in the white mold stage. Disregard rice if black molds have formed on it, this is generally a sign of non-beneficial microbes. In nature when there is plenty of food the beneficial microbes dominate. When there is less food, the opportunistic, non-beneficial microbes tend to dominate.
At this time, remove container from habitat and transfer rice to a plastic container/jar, and mix with sugar
Mix 1:1 with sugar. E.g. 1kg cooked rice with 1kg sugar/molasses(molasses is great and cheap)
Mash up the mixture with gloved fingers until it’s mashed but don’t overmix or you’ll destroy all the mycelia
Cover this mixture for 3-7 days.
When it is quite liquid, add 3 parts water.
TIP: 1kg=1L, so if you start with 1kg cooked rice, you’ll add 1kg sugar and then 6L water to that
Leave this diluted mixture for 7 days. Cover the top with something air permeable just so animals don’t get to it – cheese cloth, nylons, newspaper, etc
You should end up with a mud-like juice. Strain the liquid out of the mixture into a glass jar but don’t seal the top – let it breathe until bubbles in the bottom stop forming.
After you stop seeing bubbles forming in the jar, seal it up
Now you have your microbial inoculant for that ecosystem
Repeat the above steps for each area you are collecting microbes from. The more ecosystems you collect from, the better!
To make the final BIM product, combine all your microbial extracts. To increase efficacy, combine this concoction 1:1 with lacto serum. Lacto is the workhorse and is good to have in combination with other microbes. Now you have created your BIM inoculant!
How to Use:
This is a powerful tool in the natural farming arsenal, with a myriad of applications! It’s a microbial inoculant, so it can be used wherever you are trying to increase/establish populations of microbes – the most basic level of a healthy ecosystem!
Add 1-2tsp per gallon of water.
Apply as a foliar spray or soil drench. Greatly enhances growth and health of plants by establishing a healthy population of microbes in the soil and on leaf surfaces. Check out the benefits:
Transports food to roots
Builds a healthy ecosystem from the ground up. This is an invaluable job and the greatest benefit of this serum.
Aids disease resistance – fights pathogens, occupies spaces that could otherwise go to harmful bacteria/molds.
Aid composting – massively enhances compost – there will be a whole separate post on this concept
Aid organic fertilizer. Add to your nutrient solution, microbes break down organic nutrients into bio-available forms that plants can utilize directly. Another key feature
This is an awesome product you can make from ingredients found in your kitchen. It is a nutrient solution for plants just entering the flowering cycle. There is an overlapping activity of Phosporous and Potassium during flowering. In natural farming, we apply calphos before the flower initiation to support the eventual fruit. In simplistic terms, we use Phosphorous to address the root system, which will enable the plant to access better water and nutrients from the soil to support the critical changeover as manifested by flower initiation. We use Calcium to strengthen the plant in preparation for heavy flowers/fruits. Thus, natural farming emphasizes Phosphorus and Calcium during the changeover period from growing to flowering/fruiting, and this provides for that need.
How to Make
Collect a bunch of eggshells and wash to remove inside filaments. Remember, you can also use bones and other good sources of calcium like seashells, clams and oysters, etc. Likewise, if you only want calcium, even limestone can be used, or simple lime, and even baking soda.
Pan fry the eggshells. Fry until some are brown/black, some white. The burnt shells are your Calcium source while the white are the Phosphorus source.
After roasting the eggshells, grind them up. You can do it manually, with a mortar and pestle, throw them in a blender or electric coffee grinder, etc.
Add them to a jar and add 5 parts vinegar by volume. For example, if you have 1 cup ground shells, add 5 cups vinegar.
The acid in the vinegar helps digest them. You will notice bubbling as this process converts the ingredients to liquid calcium phosphate.
Wait until tiny bubbles disappear
Seal the jar and ferment for 20 days.
Filter into another jar
Now you’ve made your own Calcium Phosphate
How to Use
Mix 1tbsp per gallon
spray on leaves during transition phase to flower, and when fruits are large and mature
Transition Phase: Induces flowering, eases nutrient demands of transition phase, strengthens flowers
Mature Fruit: Strengthens plant stems, leaves, fruits, helps fruit mature properly for optimum sweet flavor!
This is the natural farming plant growth formula. This formula is effective not only for the Nitrogen it supplies, but more importantly for the growth promoting enzymes and hormones it contains. Chlorophyll in leaves is not broken down in oil or in water. They require weak alcohol in order to be broken down. Fermentation produces some alcohol as a byproduct, which breaks down leaves and releases those enzymes and hormones. This is an awesome product not only by itself, but when used in conjunction with other nutrients
How to Make:
This is really a combination of fish hydrolysate and fermented plant extract. Fish hydrolysate is used because it’s high in Nitrogen, a principal element needed by growing plants. It’s also rich in many vitamins, minerals, oils, etc. The plant extracts provide the growth hormones along with essential macro- and micro-nutrients.
Our grow formula uses 1:1 fermented plant material and fish hydrolysate. Learn to make your own fish hydrolysate.
Instructions for fermented plant extract:
Find a fast-growing plant in your area. It must be a green-color plant, fresh juicy succulent leaves are best.
Collect a bunch of the growing tips of the plant. The green leaves give you Nitrogen, the growing tips give you the growth hormones. We try not to wash them for you may wash off those microbes too. We want the photosynthetic bacteria that naturally occur on the leaf surface of these fast-growing plants (phyllosphere microbes).
Weigh the amount of material you’ve collected and add roughly half that weight in sugar.
Put in a clay jar or plastic container.
If fermenting a large batch, put a large rock on top of the material to push it down into the bottom of the container. After at least 5 hours, remove the rock, and cover the container with a newspaper/cheese cloth/etc and secure with string/rubber-band.
If fermenting a smaller batch, you can add water. Add at least enough water to cover the material but if you want to add more no problem.
Keep container out of direct sunlight. Solution will be fermented in approximately 7-15 days (depending on temperature).
After that time, drain the liquid and put in plastic bottle, leaving 1/3 empty so organisms can breathe.
DON’T TIGHTEN lid for at least 2 weeks or so. Wait till tiny bubble disappear and then close the container tightly.
Note: if you observe un-dissolved sugar in the bottom it means fermentation did not go to completion. Add a little water to reactivate and leave lid off for a few days.
Notes on this fermented plant extract:
To use on it’s own, mix 1Tbsp/L or 4tbsp/gallon.
Apply as foliar spray in morning or evening when temp is lower . During the middle of the day when sunlight is highest, the plant stomata are closed (to preserve moisture), thus the intake of our foliar spray becomes difficult and less effective.
Plant material can be used as animal feed or compost.
Extract should have a sweet, sour, and even alcoholic smell and taste. Yes, you can taste it no problem but make sure to smell it first! Make sure it doesn’t smell foul – in that case you screwed something up and will have to start over. It should keep forever technically. Will be progressively more vinegary but no problem.
TIP: This recipe is for your generalized growth promotant. If you want something specific to your plant type, use your plant type in the recipe. If growing tomatoes, use the growing tips of a tomato plant!
How to use complete grow formula:
So now you’ve made your own fish hydrolysate that’s loaded with Nitrogen and trace elements, not to mention fats and oils that will feed teeming fungal/bacterial hordes that’ll protect and nourish your plant; along with your own natural plant extract, full of growth hormones and stimulating enzymes, that will get your plants growing full and green!
Now it’s really up to you what ratio you mix your plant extract and fish hydrolysate. I mix mine 1:1, that is 1 part homemade fish hydrolysate to 1 part fermented plant growth stimulant. But again, everything is relative. The more you know and understand the materials, their active ingredients, the more you will be able to determine their appropriate use. Hypothesize, experiment, report back! Have fun!
Mix 1 Tbsp/gal
Apply once per week or as necessary
Apply as foliar spray in morning/evening
Apply as soil drench anytime
Mix with BIM for enhanced effectiveness
This is an awesome solution you can make at home and feed your plants during the bud, flower, and fruiting stages of their growth cycle. During the changeover period from growing to flowering, we use CalPhos to enhance roots and strengthen plants. Now that we’re into flowering/fruiting, the natural farming method emphasizes Potassium to enhance qualities like taste and sweetness. To create the fruit extract, we’ll use the same principles we used for HerbaGrow.
How to Make:
Collect fruits. Any fruits can be used. In North America, you can use herbs, or weeds high in Potassium like Comfrey (also a good source of Phosphorus). For the beta-carotene, yellow/orange plants like Carrots, Squash, Pumpkin, etc. We really emphasize Potassium during this time so those plants high in that element are recommended. In Asia we use banana, squash, pumpkin, papaya, mango, jack fruit, pineapple. Citrus fruits should generally be avoided. Recommended “best” combination here in asia is a 1:1:1 mix of banana, squash, papaya. In the west it could be banana, squash, pumpkin.
TIP: if you are growing tomatoes, add tomatoes to the fruits to ferment! Get the plant-specific enzymes, nutrients, etc. Want nice big flowers? Use flowers! Want to help the budding stage? Use flower buds and after fermentation, use concoction during budding time! Ferment small growing fruits if you want to promote fruit growth to produce larger fruits.
Mix fruits 1:1 with sugar. E.g. if you gather 1kg of fruits, mash them up with 1 kg sugar (brown sugar being the best), or 1L of molasses.
Mash up this mixture – don’t use hands!
Add mixture to plastic jug and cover loosely.
It should ferment for 7-10 days.
TIP: 7-10 days is normal for fairly warm (25-30 Celsius) temperatures. In colder temperatures it might take longer. Don’t worry, if you leave it longer no problem.
If you start with 1kg fruits+1kg sugar, you’ll end up with 1.5L juice after fermentation.
Drain the juice after fermentation, into a glass/plastic jug for storage
Leave cap off! For first couple weeks to allow bubbling to finish, then cap it.
How to Use:
Add 1tbsp per gallon of water.
Apply as a foliar spray or soil drench. Apply during bloom phase and fruiting phase. Can make separate bloom formulas for each phase.
Strengthens plants during flower/fruiting
Enhances flavor and sweetness in fruits
Performs the same function as commercial bloom formulas but is 100% organic, does not burn plants
Mix with BIM(.5tbsp of each) and apply together to leaves/soil
Let's help each other, by spreading our knowledge of the plants we love