Fermentation isn’t just for foodies looking to make sauerkraut or kombucha. Garden enthusiasts can also get in on the action! By fermenting plant matter, you can create a nutrient-rich homemade plant food that’ll make your plants thrive. And here’s the bonus: it’s an excellent way to reduce waste and reuse leftover fruits, veggies, and other plant-based materials. Ready to get started? Let’s dive in!
Before we hop into the list and steps, let’s quickly brush over what we’re about to do:
- What: We’re fermenting plant materials to create liquid nutrients.
- Why: This method harnesses nutrients, enzymes, amino acids, and organic acids that boost plant health, yield, and flavor.
- How: Through fermentation, with the help of the homemade lactic acid bacteria serum.
For a detailed guide on how to prepare the lactic acid bacteria serum, check out our dedicated page [here].
What You’ll Need for the Fermentation
- Plant Material: Any fallen fruits, unused vegetables, weeds, insects, roots, or seeds.
- Molasses: Non-sulfured variety.
- Lactic Acid Bacteria Serum: From your previous creation or our guide.
- 50-gallon Barrel: For fermentation.
- Fermenting Airlock: To allow gases to escape.
- Non-chlorinated Water: Chlorine can kill beneficial microbes.
- Optional: Paint strainer bag or cheesecloth for straining.
Steps to Create Your Homemade Plant Food
- Prepare Your Plant Material: Gather and chop your plant materials into small bits. The smaller, the better for fermentation. This could include anything from pumpkins and fruits to weeds and bugs.
- Barrel Setup: Fill your 50-gallon barrel half full with the prepared plant material.
- Molasses Mix: Combine equal parts of non-sulfured molasses and lactic acid bacteria serum. For this recipe, you’ll need about 2 gallons of each. Mix them thoroughly.
- Filling the Barrel: Pour your molasses and serum mixture into the barrel. Then, fill the rest of the barrel with non-chlorinated water.
- Note on Fruit: Stay away from fruits high in citric acid, like pineapples and papayas. They contain enzymes that can harm essential microorganisms in your ferment.
- Setting Up the Airlock: Make a small hole in your barrel’s lid to fit the fermenting airlock. This lets carbon dioxide escape while keeping oxygen out. Fill the airlock to its line with water.
- Wait and Watch: Allow your mixture to ferment for about three weeks.
- Usage: Once ready, use the liquid at a ratio of 15-30 milliliters per gallon of water for feeding plants.
- Storing: Always remember that this fermentation process is anaerobic. If you see a white film (pellicle) forming on the surface, it indicates oxygen exposure. To prevent this, transfer the ferment into smaller containers or top up with water and molasses after each use.
Tailoring Your Nutrient Mix
The nutrient profile of your homemade fermented plant food will depend on the plant material you’ve used:
- Green Matter: Provides more nitrogen and amino acids.
- Fruits: More phosphorus and potassium.
To tailor your plant food, research the phytochemical profiles of plants here. You can create separate solutions for various growth stages, from vegetative to flowering.
Why Fermenting Rocks
This isn’t just a fun science experiment; it’s a game-changer for gardeners:
- Recycling: Convert waste into something valuable for your garden.
- Cost-Efficient: Save money on commercial plant food.
- Plant Health: Provide a range of nutrients, enzymes, and amino acids to boost plant vitality.
Stay curious, stay green, and keep exploring the exciting world of gardening. We’ve got tons more to share with you, so stick around!
About the Author: This comprehensive guide on fermented plant food is attributed to the vast knowledge of Luna Whitcomb. Luna has spent over a decade mastering organic cultivation techniques, particularly in the realm of cannabis. Her in-depth understanding of living soils and the symbiotic relationships within them has set her apart as a true connoisseur of organic cultivation. Luna’s dedication to sustainability, quality, and organic methodologies shines through in her teachings, and we are honored to present her work on our platform.