Joined: Sep 25, 2012
Location: Western Montana
I am also curious about this issue. As I understand it, the bacteria that breakdown the carbohydrates and other things in the fermentation process of vegetables or other sugars turn those things into easier to digest nutrition, like vitamins, amino acids, etc.. My belief is that these microorganisms play a similar role to that of herbivores, taking food that is harder for us to digest, and making it into something that is going to make us healthier. For example the bacteria turn cabbage into sauerkraut and the cow turns grass into meat.
Fermentation is a huge topic. I know practically nothing. I am curious if drinking beer is a lot healthier than eating whole grains if it is unfiltered, and if the gluten from the grains is changed in anyway.
Also, is fermented meat healthier for us, like dry cured salami?
"What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered." - Ralph Waldo Emerson
Find out about beekeeping classes offered at Sapphire Permaculture Apiary!
Yes, it seems to be very effective. It's a basic procedure/philosophy of natural farming- Korean, Thai, Chinese, etc...Bryan from Pro-Kashi has a very good video about it. The plants and process varies by region based on what you have available, but the basic thing is fermentation with lactic acid bacteria(LAB). It's commonly called fermented plant juice (FPJ).
I don't know a whole lot about the science and frankly, don't care. The smells, the results, the simple process that uses the plants I have here all make such perfect sense. Since, I am making lactic acid bacteria already and using it for other inputs, it's easy. I often ferment butterfly pea because of its growing characteristics (insanely drought resistant, always blooming, lush, resilient...)
Yes! Im a big fan of FPE. I only add LAB if I intend to store it. Every tree that flowers in spring gets feed of fermented Camellia flowers. Approx 4:1 water to chopped flowers, ferment for a couple weeks until it gets the right smell, then strain, dilute and apply. The Camellia are great in that they're one of the earliest flowers in my garden.
I've just made up a few gallons of a variety of FPJs (fermented plant juice). I follow Master Cho's methods for the most part. This season I made a couple of gallons of seaweed FPJ from locally harvested sea weeds which Ill be using here pretty quick. Im pretty excited to see how well it works.
I also made a couple of gallons of brusselsprout FPJ, some licorice FPJ, blackberry FPJ, and what I am hoping will be a pest resistance FPJ out of scotch broom and stinging nettle.
The basic idea is to select plants for their desired traits. Plants with natural pest/disease resistance or that are vigorous and hardy in general.
Scotch broom is an invasive weed in my area but it also is a tic free plant. Somehow it has the ability to repell tics. Tics are mites, so maybe scotchbroom contains a chemical that repells mites in general. Singing nettle might contain a chemical that irritates things such as aphids if sprayed directly on them.
In general I choose plants that are loaded up with growth hormones and I harvest at the time when they should contain the most hormones.
Right when plants are about to bolt is when they have the highewst ammount of growth regulators. Think of how asparagus grows. First it sends up spears. Those spears start loading up with hormones and then all the sudden they bolt over a couple of days into a fully grown plant. That is due to the hormones so the idea is to pick plants in a similar stage. We had some brussel sprouts from last year. The sprouts were never harvested so this spring they began to unfold and stretch out. Before all the hormones are spent I filled a couple of 5 gallon buckets full of the bolting sprouts, then chopped em up and fermented them.
Lateral buds and growing tips are loaded with GH too. This spring as the dormant blackberries were producing new shoots all down the stalk I gathered up a bucket load of spring shoots for fermentation.
The other thing to consider when making FPJ is the importance of harvesting in the morning because again, thats when the hormone and nutrient levels are at their highest, just before the plant begins to photosynthesize and goes into a state of anabolism.
The growth hormone auxin (indole acetic acid) Is produced by the plant during the dark cycle or in shaded areas. Auxin is what is responsible for causing a plant to grow toward the light. When the sun is in anygivven position, then shade will be in the exact opposite position of the light source. Auxin will build up in the shaded area and cause the plant to grow away from the shade/auxin, and toward the light. With that in mind it is best to harvest plants for FPJ first thing in the morning; or if you have potted plants you want to use, you can put them in a shed or dark place for 2 or three days and the auxin levels will be huge.
FPJ's can also be made and used just as a general tonic and added nute source, and with that said can be harvested at anytime.
Thanks for the clarification of what exactly FPJs do, Ross - I never thought of using them until this thread, and it makes a lot of sense (like homeopathy and aromatherapy) combined. It's a fascinating concept - is there any research being done on this, or is it all anecdotal and experiential?
We use fermented nettle, dandelion, comfrey, yarrow and a few others on our farm. Been doing so for years and years now and I'll never buy a bottled gardening product again. No need when nature provides all the nutrition a farm needs to thrive.
The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings. - Masanobu Fukuoka
Joined: Apr 12, 2013
Im not sure about research Jennifer, Id like to get an NPK test kit to check the nutrient levels myself. I do know that through various methods of extracting and fermenting, many of the high dollar organic fertilizers are essentialy FPJ's or FPE's, whatever you want to call em. Proofs in the pudding tho so if it works well for you then continue to do it.
I've never heard anyone who tried FPJ's saying that they'd still prefer to spend 20 bucks on a qt of store bought stuff instead of the homemade stuff.
Joined: Jan 10, 2013
Location: Zone 4b
Thanks everyone for posting. There is in fact research on this type of methodology. If you are using EM, BIM, LAB in your process, Gil Carandang is the name I would run through google.. This is his website and it has a ton of great info/recipe's. He is a pioneer. Like all of you. http://gilcarandang.com. There is a lot of info out there on this good man.
Most of the processes that include Fermented Plant Extracts/Juices involve one of the above types of micro organisms. While these methods are greatly effective, you can simply soak plants material in water and let it sit for an extended period of time. You will still achieve nutrient extraction, it will just take a bit longer. But in order to get the true fermentation, a sugar source is needed. You can add small amounts of molasses to accelerate the breakdown process. These days I only incorporate the LAB/EM into the mix if I am storing the FPE for extended periods of time. Which is rare because the plants seems to constantly benefit from application. So does the soil food web because post application the soil literally comes exponentially more alive. Springtails and soil mites are two of the species that quite literally go buck-wild. This stands for amended as well as unamended soils.
But to be honest, I haven't used molasses in a while and have just been soaking straight plant materials in water. I am not sure if this would then be devoid of the FPE/FPJ definition, but it seems to work just as well. If not better given it's half the work...
I am currently trying to research whether or not I am able to harness the micro biological population found on phyllospheres and apply them successfully to the leaf surfaces of growing plants. It is my suspicion the plant matter could only sit in solution for a short period of time, without comprimising the vitality of the microherd. If anyone has any insight it would be gratefully appreciated.
Here is an article I have had kicking around for a while that might help those looking to get into this. I don't remember where it's from but the information is accurate/tested and showed successful results. I edited here and there based on experience."
[i]"How to make EM-FPE (Fermented Plant Extract)
For centuries extracts have been used as elixirs for all sorts of ailments. Individuals would seek out certain plant materials that were known for their beneficial properties and ferment them to extract the desired benefits. This same technology can be used to extract properties from plants such as geranium to make a citronella extra for keeping away mosquitoes. Hot peppers and garlic are also known for their pest-deterring properties. If you incorporate companion planting (basil with tomato), you may find a winning combination to give the effect you want.
Weeds and other green material can be recycled into an organic foliar spray and insect repellent. During fermentation EM-1 is able to ferment weeds and extract organic acids, bio-active substances, minerals, and other useful organic compounds from these materials which are able to promote plant growth and repel diseases or insects.
What you will need:
A clean airtight plastic container, bucket or large tank with lid*
Unsulphered blackstrap molasses
Water (use good water))
Chopped, fresh weeds & herbs, flowers, stems (maybe even roots and bark, who knows!)
Gauze or cloth for filtering
A measuring cup and large spoon for stirring
pH paper to check pH
Fermentation aids include a non-metallic heating rod and a airlock.
*Please wash container thoroughly and do not use a glass container to avoid rupturing the container caused by gas production during the fermentation process. You might want to look into re-using your old kombucka bottles if you don't make your own. Hint!)
1 l EM-1/LAB/BIM
1 l Unsulphured Blacstrap Molasses
9 l Water (use good water)
9 l (1-2kg) Fresh, chopped plant material like weeds & herbs**
Cut fresh weeds and chop up well (2-5 cm pieces)
Put chopped weeds into bucket
Fill the molasses with some warmer water and the remaining water (total approx. 40°C) into the plastic bucket
Add the EM-1/LAB/BIM to the mix
Cover the top of bucket with black plastic bag and press down the lid on it
Put weight on the lid. Take care to push out extra air from the bucket
Store bucket in a warm place (20-35 °C), away from direct Sunlight
Fermentation begins, gas is generated within 2-5 days, depending on temp
Stir the weeds in the bucket regularly to release the gas
The EM-FPE is ready for use when pH of solution is below 3.5 (this should take between 7-10 days). Put EM-FPE into plastic bottles after removing weeds by filtration with gauze or cloth
EM-FPE should be stored in a dark, cool place at uniform temperature, but not in a refrigerator or in bright sunlight
Use EM-FPE within 3 months
Spray on plants at 1:500 to 1:1000
Spray on soil (to suppress disease/provide nutrients) at 1:100 to 1:500 **
** use plants and herbs like: mugwort, artemisia, clover, nettle, camomile, borage, dandelion, vervain, sage, thyme, rose-leafs - you could also add a few garlic cloves and chili pods. [/i]
More to come.....
Joined: Jan 10, 2013
Location: Zone 4b
Here is another good article I just copied. A bit lengthy, but rather interesting.... Good readings.
One of the major workhorse beneficial indigenous microorganism used in natural farming is lacto bacilli. This particular beneficial microorganism is popularly used in composting that specifically arrest foul odors associated with anaerobic decomposition. Lactic acid bacteria thrive and feed on the ammonia released in the decomposition normally associated with foul odors. So if you need to decompose or ferment wastes less foul odors, lactic acid bacteria is the specific bacteria to use. Its application in organic farming is enormous. In aquaculture, one of the problem is related to water quality. Poor water quality stresses the fish which in turn stunts their growth and affects their health. This is very evident specially on high density and tank aquaculture. The ammonia produced through fish excretions pollute the water and stress the fish. With regular addition of this beneficial microorganisms to the water, this ammonia problem is minimized, if not fully arrested. It helps hasten or complete the denitrification or converting wastes into forms not harmful to fish.
Spraying diluted solution of lactic acid bacteria serum to the plant and soil helps plant growth and makes them more healthy. As it is applied to the soil or the leaves, these beneficial bacteria aid in the decomposition process, thus allowing more food to be available and assimilated by the plant.
Lactic acid bacteria is also known to produce enzymes and natural antibiotics aiding effective digestion and has antibacterial properties, including control of salmonella and e. coli. To farmers, what are observed are the general health of the plants and animals, better nutrient assimilation, feed conversion and certain toxins eliminations.
Here’s a simple method of collecting this type of microorganism. Lactic acid bacteria can be collected from the air. Pour rice wash (solution generated when you wash the rice with water) on a container like plastic pot with lid. Allow air gap at least 50-75% of the container. The key here is the air space. Cover the (not vacuum tight, allowing air still to move into the container) container with lid loosely. Put the container in a quiet area with no direct sunlight. Allow the rice was to ferment for at least 5-7 days. Lactic acid bacteria will gather in 5-7 days when temperature is 20-25 degrees C. Rice bran will be separated and float in the liquid, like a thin film, smelling sour. Strain and simply get the liquid. Put this liquid in a bigger container and pour ten parts milk. The original liquid has been infected with different type of microbes including lacto bacilli. And in order to get the pure lacto bacilli, saturation of milk will eliminate the other microorganisms and the pure lacto bacilli will be left. You may use skim or powdered milk, although fresh milk is best. In 5-7 days, carbohydrate, protein and fat will float leaving yellow liquid (serum), which contain the lactic acid bacteria. You can dispose the coagulated carbohydrate, protein and fat, add them to your compost pile or feed them to your animals. The pure lactic acid bacteria serum can be stored in the refrigerator or simply add equal amount of crude sugar (dilute with 1/3 water) or molasses. Do not use refined sugar as they are chemically bleached and may affect the lactic acid bacteria. The sugar or molasses will keep the lactic acid bacteria alive at room temperature. One to one ratio is suggested although sugar, regardless of quantity is meant simply, serving as food for the bacteria to keep them alive. Now, these lactic acid bacteria serum with sugar or molasses will be your pure culture. To use, you can dilute this pure culture with 20 parts water. Make sure water is not chemically treated with, like chlorine. Remember, we are dealing with live microorganisms and chlorine can kill them. This diluted form 1:20 ratio will be your basic lactic acid bacteria concoction. Two to four tablespoons added to water of one gallon can be used as your basic spray and can be added to water and feeds of animals. For bigger animals, the 2-4 tablespoons of this diluted lactic acid bacteria serum should be used without diluting it further with water. Lactic acid bacteria serum can be applied to plant leaves to fortify phyllosphere microbes, to soil and compost. Of course, it will help improve digestion and nutrient assimilation for animals and other applications mentioned before. For any kind of imbalance, be it in the soil or digestive system, lacto bacilli can be of help.
One of the popular beneficial microorganism innoculant sfrom Japan (EM) contains lactic acid bacteria as its major component, including photosynthetic bacteria, yeasts, actinomycetes and fermenting fungi. These are pure culture imported from Japan and can be subcultured through the use of sugar or molasses. These other microbes can be cultured in several ways by farmers themselves.
One technique in culturing other beneficial microorganism is getting them fro your local aged forest. One way is finding a healthy old robust tree in your local forest. Check the humus litter around the tree. The tree should have accumulated real deep humus, litter, compost of at least 2 feet to 1 yard deep. In this area through observation, we can deduce that soil fertility and microbial biodiversity are high. Our goal is to trap and culture these diversed, aged beneficial indigenous microorganisms. The technique that we use in trapping these microorganisms is the use of carbohydrate like cooked rice. Microorganisms will be attracted to food. So generally, what we do is to put the cooked rice on a flatter container with lid. For example, you can use a plastic lunch box and add about an inch of cooked rice allowing air space in the container. What is important here is a larger area to trap those microorganisms. It is suggested that you cover this container with metal netting or equivalent protecting it from animals like rats that may undig your container once you bury it in the litter, humus of your local forest. In 2-10 days (relative to temperature), you may undig your container and will notice contamination of microorganisms like white and other color molds on the cooked rice. The cooked rice has been infected now with microorganisms of your local forest. The next step is to add 1/3 amount of crude sugar or molasses to the infected cooked rice. After a week, the concoction will look like sticky, liquidy rice. You may then add equal amount of crude sugar or molasses to keep it for storage, arresting microbial activities, in a cooler area. To use, you may dilute this serum with 20 parts water. This diluted form shall then serve as your basic forest microorganisms. You may strain it and put in a container.
Another version of trapping similar forest microorganisms is simply getting the litter, humus and spreading them sparingly to the top your cooked rice. Forest leaf molds can also be used. The same procedure will be followed as described in the culture of local forest microorganisms.
Another method of gathering microorganism is through burying your container with cooked rice on bamboo plants litter. Apparently, bamboo through observation and experience in the East, attracts powerful beneficial microorganisms as the roots of the bamboo exude sugary substances that attract beneficial microorganisms. The same procedure is followed as described before in its culture.
Plant Specific Microorganisms
An equal specific method is trapping beneficial microorganisms of specific plants you want to grow or growing. For example, if you want to trap and culture beneficial microorganisms from rice, you should then select healthy, vigorous rice plant, cut them and put inverted cooked rice container over the cut rice plant. Again, beneficial microorganisms specific to rice will be attracted to the cooked rice. You can use this technique to any other plant of choice and the same procedure of culture will be used as previously described.
One of the most popular nitrogen-fixing bacteria is rhizobium. It is amazing that when we coat our legumes with these specific bacteria, legumes grow well and more nitrogen is fixed on the soil. Amazingly enough, basic culture of these beneficial bacteria is simple. Once we have seen those nodules created by the bacteria fixing nitrogen on the roots of the legumes, we can assume that there are lots of these rhizobia and nitrogen fixed. Just pull out the legumes plants on a very specific stage, especially towards their flowering/fruiting stage. A simple method of culture is simply get the soil with these leguminous bacteria and mix with crude sugar with equal ratio of crude sugar. Rhizobium bacteria will proliferate feeding on the sugar and thus can be mixed with your next batch of legume seeds for inoculation. Our concoction or recipe of beneficial indigenous microorganism (BIM) is 50% lactic acid bacteria and the rest is 50% of the other microorganisms cultured. So you may use 1part forest microorganism, 1 part bamboo microorganism and 1 part specific plant microorganism mixed with 3 parts or 50% lacto bacilli. The more diversed microbes, the better. However, we will still use 50% of the total beneficial indigenous microorganisms to be lactic acid bacteria. The rest you can experiment and make your own observations and formulations. I cannot really tell you specifically what microbes we get from the different sources we have mentioned. As a rule, I only use the above BIM for plants. For animals, I use just pure lacto bacilli for we have isolated this as described. We have used the bamboo microorganisms for fermenting feeds to be fed to animals.
Different type of microorganisms thrive on different type of foods. As you can see, we use principally carbohydrates and sugars. But it will be equally important that we provide these beneficial indigenous microorganisms with other nutrients. In fact, we mix or add fermented plant extracts (fermented plant and fruit juices), ginger-garlic nutrients, brown rice vinegar and fish amino acid. That’s why in most instances, we mix these beneficial indigenous microorganisms with bionutrients to make it more effective.
In the creation of biological nutrients, bionutrients, the basic process is the traditional fermentation. Fermentation process is a better system than simple extraction like boiling the plant materials, through infusion like making tea. In the United States, where compost tea is getting popular in organic agriculture, compost is made into tea, sugar or molasses are added, fermented to increase microbial population. A simple general formula or recipe in fermentation can be done for plants. For example, seaweeds. If you simply infuse seaweeds (which are quite difficult to breakdown, therefore hard to extract active ingredients), you may not get a more potent extracted active ingredients. If you ferment the same materials by adding sugar or molasses, it is easily broken down (biologically) by microorganisms and thus making nutrient more available. Microorganisms get their energy from sugar in fermenting the materials. Most healthy foods are fermented foods. Through fermentation, food are easily broken down, enzymes created, nutrition improved. That’s the reason why fermented foods like yogurt or kimchi (Korean pickles) are more nutritious than plain milk or vegetables.
In making bionutrients, the simple formula is to add 1/3 crude sugar or molasses and mixed with materials to be fermented and extracted. For example, let’s take papaya fruit fermented extract. We chop as thinly as possible ripe papaya, unwashed and unpeeled. We then add 1/3 crude sugar or molasses to the total weight or approximate volume of the papaya materials. Put the materials with at least 50-75% air gap and cover loosely with a lid and let it ferment for at least a week. After a week, you will notice some molds and microbial infections and will start smelling sweet, sour and alcoholic. The materials are then strained and liquid generated will be your pure fruit papaya extract. You can dilute this with 20 parts water. This diluted form can be used as bionutrient, using 2-4 tablespoons per gallon of water. Again, this extract can be added to animal drinking water and feeds, to compost pile or sprayed/watered to plants leaves and roots. This will be a good source of nutrient for plants or animals, and also for our beneficial indigenous microorganisms. Papaya extract is good source of enzyme pappain, beta-carotene and Vitamin C for example. So extract any plant material and just try to find out what kind of nutrients they have you can use for animal and plant nutrition. Should the materials you intend to use for extraction do not have much moisture (as compared to our papaya fruit example), you may add water enough to the level that will moisten all the materials.
Specific bionutrients, fermented plant and other material extracts we have used to a great success and you can adopt for their specific use:
Kangkong (water spinach) Fermented Extract
This is essentially used as growth promotant. Kangkong is sometimes called water spinach. It is a kind of vegetable that typically grows in fresh water. It can also grow in highly moist soil. It s basic characteristic is it grows very fast, similar to the rapid growth of kelp in the seas. To the natural farmers, this kind of plant or similar plant for that matter have natural growth promotant. In the scientific agricultural parlance, we speak of natural growth hormones like gibberellins, auxins and cytokinins. Plants that grow fast will have a better concentrations of these natural growth hormones. By observation, kangkong or kelp or even mugwort will fall on this category. Thus, axillary buds of kangkong, plants like cucumber, squash and watermelon will be good materials to ferment for this purpose. Once these are fermented, active ingredients extracted, you may use this to spray and/or water your plants. You will notice a great improvement in the growth of your plants.
One of the major fermented extract we use for plant flowering and fruiting, specially for vegetables, are extracts from banana, squash and papaya. Apparently, these materials have high level of potassium especially banana, and beta carotene. Although I have not tried a similar recipe using materials readily available here in the US, I will presume that materials substitute can be used. For your own experimentation, you can possibly use comfrey, squash and carrot. Le me know if they will work. In the Philippines, when we induce flowering of mangoes, conventional agriculture use potassium nitrate. We have tried with success natural materials high in nitrogen and potassium. Interesting enough, our local organic farmers have experimented using seaweed extract in inducing flowering of mangoes. Isn’t it seaweed extract have lots of natural growth hormones and trace elements, and good source of nitrogen and potassium? Check out the kinds of materials you can ferment and use to induce growth, flowering and fruiting.
Fish Amino Acid
As a general rule, the higher the protein of the materials, when composted or fermented, the higher the nitrogen. We use a lot of fish scraps to generate high nitrogen on our fish extracts. Here in the US, fish emulsion is pretty popular. Again, on basic fermentation of this material, we use crude sugar or molasses, third ratio of the fish scraps. I personally like using molasses than crude sugar not just for cost considerations, but molasses minimizes those fishy odors. I have added lactic acid bacteria in fermenting these fish scraps that arrest the foul odors very evident of fish emulsion foliar fertilizers.
A lot of agriculture advisers have used calcium phosphate for better plant growth, health, pest and disease controls. Natural farmers use this bionutrient very specific. Under the theory of Nutrioperiodism developed by a Japanese horticulturist, Yasushi Inoue in the 1930’s, plants and animals need a very specific nutrient relative to the stage of their development. In the plant, there is the essential vegetative growth , changeover and the reproductive periods. In animals, like humans, there is the infantile, juvenile and adulthood. It is not only critical to provide the right nutrient at the right stage of the development, but also critical to use or apply specific nutrient of calcium phosphate in the juvenile or changeover period. For the plant, for example, we know that nitrogen is critical on the vegetative stage as potassium is critical in the flowering and fruiting stages. It is however, the changeover period that is most critical that will determine the quality of the final reproductive stage. At this stage, an additional nutrient is badly needed by the plant. And this is calcium phosphate. Calcium phosphate is good for plants’ “morning sickness”. It is the stage that additional baby needs to be fed or the process where flower/fruit is about to come. Ash made from soybean stems are excellent for this purpose.
Here is a simple, natural method of generating calcium phosphate. Get eggshells and roast them enough to generate some good ashes. Afterwhich, dip these roasted eggshells on about equal visual volume of vinegar. Allow it to sit for a couple of weeks until eggshells are practically broken down by the vinegar acids. You may use this diluted 20 parts water and can be sprayed or watered to the plants during the changeover period.
When this is applied to that changeover period, it will improve plant health and productivity. The use of calcium phosphate is important to natural farmers. This however, does not mean that we shall forget the nutrient timing application of other critical nutrients for plant growth both macro and micro nutrients, given at the right stages and combinations.
We consider this very important bionutrient needed by the plants used by natural farmers.
The original recipe of the natural farmers of Korea use not only the ginger and garlic materials, but also Chinese herbs like Angelica acutiloba, Glycurrhiza uralensis and Cinnamomum loureirii. These Chinese herbs have one basic common denominator, they are good for digestion. We have used simply equal amount of ginger and garlic, less these Chinese herbs. This is our natural antibiotics we use for plants and animals.
Remember the high level of sulfur on garlic? It is a good fungicide. The ginger-garlic extract is quite different from the plant extracts we have discussed. We soak the chopped up ginger and garlic in beer or wine overnight or 12 hours. Then we add 1/3 crude sugar and let it ferment for a couple of days like 5-7 days. They we add alcohol which stabilizes and arrests fermentation. The alcohol should be at least 40% proof. The active ingredients of the ginger and garlic is extracted in finale with the use of alcohol similar to herbal tincture we are familiar with in homeopathy. Remember that ginger and garlic are highly medicinal and highly nutritious. We have used them as natural antibiotics and in preventive medicine. We have used this concoction on chicks and chickens and have made them healthy throughout. Of course, we also use them when we see animal weakening and when they are sick. We have used them on fungal problems of plants. We have used them for rheumatism. The uses are enormous both for plants and animals. The potency of your plant extracts are relative to active ingredients that are available from the plants you are extracting. Most importantly, the part of the plants. For example, the energy on the plant part is most concentrated on the seed, fruit, leaf and other parts of the plants, to that general order. Seed is where the plant procreate itself. By simply adding moisture and heat, seed will germinate and will derive its nutrient for growth from its own seed. What natural farmers are saying is that the energy or nutrition is more potent on the seed, fruit will be second and on the leaf third. That’s the reason why when we ferment seeds like grain, our dilution for use is 1:1000 instead of 1:500. This is just a guideline.
Sometimes, you can use more diluted form but with more frequent applications. There is really no clear cut rule. Things have to be based on experimentations, experiences and observations.
Joined: Apr 12, 2013
Right on Matt. Are you cultivating your own EM and LAB? I cultivate LAB and mix it 50/50 with kombucha which is kinda like EM minus the photosynthisizing bacteria. I call it K-LAB
The method I use for making FPJ's is basicly Master Cho's method, but I've altered it a bit. Sometimes Ill add the K-LAB mix to it depending on how dry.
The method is to harvest the plant matter to be used, chop as finely as possable then mix with about 1/2 to 1/3 the weight of the plant matter with unrefined sugar.
The ammount of sugar varies based on the water content of the plant matter. More water content equals more sugar.
Once the sugar is mixed with the plant matter, the mix is then packed down and a weight is placed on top for about 24 hours. I use a trashbag full of water as a weight. When you but the bag of water in the bucket with the mix, the water will evenly distribute the weight across the surface of the plant/sugar mix and ensure that there is no air space.
When the mix is packed, the concentration gradient from the plant matter to sugar creates ozmotic pressure which extracts the plant juice into the sugar. The result is a syrup containing all the phytochemicals, nutrients and hormones contained in the plant fluid. Clorophyll and thylikoid molecules as well.
The key is to make sure the plant you use has been watered well and that it has not had its leaves watered or rained on for at least two days. If the leaves have not had running water on them then they should be covered in micro-organisms, mainly LAB and yeast who will ferment the extract.
After at least a couple of weeks, but up to a year is ideal, the syrup is filtered out from the plant materiel and bottled.
It is best to pick the plants when they have dew on them. Some times its dry, in the case of dry materiel, (not "dry", but low moisture content), I will add the K-LAB.
I also use some of the stuff you listed, like fish amino acids. I just made some and I made another out of waiste from the sea urchin industry here in my region. Ive made an N fert similar to the FAA except using garden snails. I gathered as many snails from my yard as possable and bashed em up in a stainless steel dairy pail, mixed with sugar and stained a month later. All the blood and guts frpom those destructive snails went right back into the plants they were parasityzing.
I also use the eggshell calcium, but that is NOT calciumm phosphate. If its made with vinegar, its calcium acetate. The same method can be used to make a liquid calcium input by using oyster shell flour or abalone, or any kinda shell powderr really.
Soak shell in vinegar. A reaction takes place, the solution foams, pieces float up and sink down. The reaction ends and the calcium solution is filtered from the shell powder.
I've since altered this by using kombucha in place of vinegar. I brew a batch of Kombucha, let it ferment for several weeks till its so acidic that it burns your nose when you get the slightest wiff. Then I add 1 part abalone shell powder to 9 parts highly acidic kombucha. Poor of the komboucha then add fresh kombucha. Repeat til no more reaction takes place.
For calcium phosphate the same procedure is followed, but instead of using shell powder, I use charred and powdered bone meal.
OK, this is a totally new topic to me, and my eyes just are not what they used to be. This phrase had me going for a minute...
Erich Sysak wrote:
I often ferment butterfly pea
I look forward to learning more, including how to catheterize butterflies, I guess... lol!
LEAD only by example, FOLLOW only when lost, fOR you only "GET OUT OF THE WAY" once per lifetime.
Joined: Jan 10, 2013
Location: Zone 4b
Love that K-LAB idea! Thats just brilliant! Who woulda thunk!? And to answer your question, when I am storing these things for several months on end, yes, I cultivate and introduce LAB to my FPE's. When I first started all of this FPE/bokashi stuff, I was introduced to a bottle of EM-1. I had great success, and actually still have it kicking around because a little goes so far. But it still has a cost with many facets, and so I have been primarily using the LAB (soon to be K-LAB if you don't mind me heisting your idea
Recently, I have been completely omitting the molasses and the microorganisms, and simply soaking plant material in water. I have been using those synergy kombucha bottles (which themselves are great for anything FPE/FPJ, as they are designed to contain this sort of pressure) for my fermentations/soaks. Even though they don't hold a ton of matter, the soil/plants make good use of very little.. I basically stuff the container half- full of plant material and fill in the rest with water. I let this sit for at least 1-2 weeks, dilute and apply as a soil drench and/or foliar spray. The longer it sits, the more I dilute.. I don't store this for more than a month or two, but don't see a problem in doing so, granted you can deal with the smell!!
Another really cool way of simplifying this concept is to even skip the water part....
Take a plastic bottle, poke one or two small holes in the cap, and a couple in the bottom, stuff as much comfrey leaf in there as possible. Place it "cap side-down" in a slightly larger bottle/container, and just let it sit there until a thick blackish liquid oozes out. This is the comfrey goop you are looking for!! Once this (super stinky) material has oozed out of the bottle, dilute and apply as a soil drench and/or foliar spray. Use immediately/do not store.
My experience is with comfrey bocking 14 as it breaks down very quickly, but I suspect many other dynamic accumulators would have equally successful results... If only spring would show it's beautiful face..
*May the flow be with you*
Joined: Jan 10, 2013
Location: Zone 4b
And my bad for the phosphate/acetate confusion. It was an article I posted, and that slipped through the cracks! But I have a limited scientific background, and my research came up empty handed... so let me ask you, Ross, if the use of vinegar (acetic acid) in dissolving shells (calcium carbonate) results in calcium acetate (no opposition here), how then does dissolving bones in vinegar result in calcium phosphate. I honestly can't get my head around this, so any insight would be greatly appreciated...
Joined: Apr 12, 2013
Feel free to go with the K-LAB, Id be honored. Go ahead and modify it to your liking. I thinking of experimenting with the ratio of K to LAB and adding kefir to see what works best.
About the calcium and calcium P- There might be trace ammounts of CaP in the eggshell extract, but eggshells are about 95% calcium carbonate, then there is magnesium and protien along with calcium phosphate. So when you mix vinegar (acetic acid)with eggshells (calcium carbonate, you get a solution thick with calcium acetate.
Bone is mostly calcium phosphate, I think about 70%. So if you do the charred bone extract youll have a CaP rich solution but there will be trace ammounts of calcium acetate from the trace ammount of calcium carbanate in the bones.