Do It Yourself Plant Fertilizers

J. James

In Bloom
Fresh Botanical Teas:
Utilizing The Water Soluble Constituents of Dynamic Accumulators When you want the secondary metabolites, plant growth hormones, and nutrients of Dynamic Accumulators this is the way to go. When you know that your soil is already full of all the Major nutrients. These teas will supplement your grow and act as a booster to plant health and vigor without being overpowering. These typically use dried plant meals or fresh plants as the main source and will have small particles of the meal present in the water when used. Once the Botanical tea is drenched into the soil, the microbes will go to work on the particles and left over material from your fresh botanical tea, unlocking even more material. This method is often used because top dressing with straight plant material will often cause burning of the plant and unwanted problems, but a quick soak in water and you can now drench the soil with the strained water that is now full of the water soluble parts of the plant we were soaking. By doing this we can access living nutrients that aren’t available in any bottled product.

Making a botanical tea typically involves using dried plant meal, but can also utilize fresh growing tips of plants. The desired plant material is then soaked for 24-72 hours and then used right away. Use of an airstone to bubble the water is preferred but not necessary. It’s mainly to keep the plant material in motion, so you could always just stir it every once in awhile.

Fermented Plant Extracts:
Most of the so called “organic” liquid fertilizers on the market are simply a fermented plant extract done on a commercial level. There are several reasons why making your own is better than buying the stuff on the
Hydro-Shop Shelves.

1. You will have a better product for pennies on the dollar.

2. You can hand select the plants being used. In that way you can make a special FPE for almost any situation, from Veg to Flower, and inbetween.

3. You can do this all cold without adding any high heat like most of the fertilizer companies do. Think of it like getting premium first cold pressed Olive Oil compared to cheap chemically extracted stuff.

4. You won’t have to add any preservatives whether natural or not, these preservatives harm the overall final product and you won’t have to add any!

Your home made FPE can sit on the shelf for up to 1 year and sometimes longer all on its own. “FPE” or Fermented Plant Extracts are one of the stronger forms of organic fertilizer available to any gardener. The final product should be used a dilution rates of 1:500 or 1:1000 and will be very strong.
Which Plants To Use? (This information applies to both methods) Now that you understand the difference between Botanical Teas and Fermented Plant extracts better I want to share some information about the types of plant material you will want to use for your nutrients.

Most of the plants that I prefer to use fall under the category of Dynamic Accumulators. Dynamic Accumulators are the heavy hitting plants that contain all of the major nutrients in them as extracted from the soil they grew in and the air that surrounds them. Some plants are even called “Hyper Accumulators.” Many of these plants grow fast and when they die, they release nutrients and nitrogen back into the soil to help continue the cycle.

How to make a Botanical Tea:
Items Needed:

5 Gallon Bucket with Lid
Fresh Pure Water
Plant Material to Soak

Optional Items:
1 or 2 Aquarium Air stones
Cheap Aquarium Pump

How to make: Fill the bucket with 4 -5 gallons of water and toss in some plant material. Bubble the water or stir occasionally for 3 days. You can use botanical tea after 24 hours if you require it. But it will only get stronger up until around 3 days. I typically don’t want to go longer than 3 days because without fermentation it won’t get any stronger and if fermentation is happening, I would rather use the Fermented Plant Extract Methods.

Here is an example of a recipe that I use all the time Alfalfa Kelp Tea:
4 Gallon of Water
1 Cup Alfalfa Meal
½ Cup Kelp Meal

Soak for 3 days in your bucket of water and use right away at full strength on full size plants and at ½ or ¼ strength on smaller plants. I notice an impressive boost of growth after applying this tea even 1 time. Strain before using and toss the left over alfalfa and kelp into your worm bin or compost pile!

How To Make Fermented Plant Extracts:
1) We harvest the fast-growing leaves of plants such as comfrey, stinging nettle, mugwort, or vegetables just before dawn, when the growing tips are believed to have the highest concentrations of growth hormones. That is why I also recommend using Home Grown Sprouts.

2) Dirt, insects, and other contaminants are removed by shaking or brushing. NO WASHING. Washing will remove many of the beneficial bacteria that we will require to get fermentation. (Use Lactobacillus Serum if you are using sprouts or meals etc.)

3) The harvested vegetation is weighed and set aside.

4) An equal amount, or up to 2/3 more, of high quality brown sugar is weighed out. Some will use Molasses.

5) The vegetation is finely chopped and layered with the sugar in a clean crock or bucket.

6) The material is then weighted down with a weight or “press.” Some use a brick, some use a black bag of water for a weight. (I don’t do this in small fermentation batches)

7) We remove the press after 24 hours and cover the container with a breathable, natural fabric, securing it with a large elastic band. If you don’t have a breathable fabric then poke holes in your lid or don’t screw the lid on all the way.

8) It is placed in a dark location. Ideal ambient temperature should be 65°–70° F.

9) After about one week, the brown, syrupy liquid that accumulates is drained off and stored in a glass container in the refrigerator. (We understand it can be stored this way indefinitely but choose to keep it for 1 year at the longest)

10) Fermented Plant Juice can be used as a foliar spray, diluted at about 1:500 (about one ounce to four gallons) with water and other spray nutrients.

11) Apply foliar sprays only in the coolest parts of the day to be effective. In the past, we’ve felt that the early hours of the morning were best.
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