Fermented plant juice (FPJ) is a liquid fertilizer made from local plants and brown sugar. If you know how to make any ferment recipe (food recipe), then you’ll pick this fermented liquid recipe right up.
The plants or vegetables used to make FPJ contain chlorophyll, plant tissue, hormones, and beneficial microorganisms from the leaves. The faster growing, the more beneficial hormones it has.
A single square centimeter of a leaf’s surface contains somewhere around 100,000 to 150,000 cells of microorganisms, most of which are lactic acid and yeast producing. (1) The microbes eat up the brown sugar and kick off the fermentation process.
From Korean Natural Farming to Thai Natural Farming, most types of natural farming take advantage of what nature provides, and bioliquid fertilizers like this FPJ are key factors in making natural farming successful. FPJ is the third of three fermented liquid fertilizers we regularly use on our garden.
In this video a Hawaiian farmer explains how he farms using Traditional Korean Natural Farming methods and shares useful information as he makes a fermented plant juice on camera.
Table of contents
Fermented Plant Juice Recipe (Printable PDF)
Here are the written out directions and a printable Fermented Plant Juice PDF recipe card.
When properly made, FPJ contains beneficial plant hormones, primary and secondary plant nutrients, lactic acid microorganisms, and yeast.
You can use any leafy greens, kitchen vegetable scraps or even weeds growing between your driveway cracks for making FPJ. Then for application, you can use it for literally everything; from soaking seeds to preparing soil to supporting budding plants.
Fermented Plant Juice Recipe Card
- 2/3 full plant material fast growing plants before sunrise
- 1/3 weight of plant material brown sugar or molasses
- depends water If needed, just enough to top off the plant material
- Clay jar with cloth napkin
- It’s important to know that this fermented plant juice should be started right away after gathering your plants. Start the ferment while the plants are still fresh or else you will have a low quality, weak fermented juice.FPJ Step-By-Step Directions: First thing in the morning, go out and pick your green plants as they still have their morning dew
- Do not wash these plant leaves, just swipe off or lightly flick off any dirt or debris. If you wash it, you lose many beneficial microorganisms the FPJ needs .
- Weigh your plant material, then mix in with it 1/3 of its weight, brown sugar. (You can use up to 1/2 of the plant material’s weight of brown sugar, depending on the plant’s natural water content)
- Next, stir these together in a container on a wide tray or container. Lay some newspaper on top and let it sit for a couple hours.
- After the initial waiting period, place the mixture in your clay pot. You should have enough to fill the jar up 2/3 full with the plant and sugar mix. Don’t bring the newspaper into it, just the plants and sugar mix. Leave 1/3 free for air circulation.
- It’s recommended to place a rock on top of your plant material mixture to push out extra air before rubber banding a thin cloth or piece of paper on the clay jar as a lid. If your container has it’s own lid, don’t use it. Use paper or thin cloth (we had a million 100% cotton thin sheets we used for our newborn. These are perfect for fermenting clay pot lids. By tying a cloth or paper tight it keeps little critters like fruit flies out.
- After 1 to 2 days of sitting in a dark room, open the jar and remove the rock you have inside to remove extra air. You can use any heavy object for this, but at this step take it out. Will no longer use it.
- Leave the clay jar open for a few minutes up to an hour and then cover it again to let it ferment for a few more days.
- After around 5 days, check the plant material to see if liquid is coming out from the plants yet. The sugar should have broken down the plant cells and started the decomposition process to get it fermenting. If there is no water yet, at this point you want to add clean water to it yourself, just enough to top off the plant material, no more. Cover it again and place it back in your dark room.
- Next, after adding the water or confirming water has been extracted and covering it again, leave it be for 2 to 3 weeks. Do not touch it, mess with it, check on it, or move it to a better location in these 2 to 3 weeks. Leave it alone to let it complete the fermentation.
- After this final waiting period, it should be finished. The fermentation won’t have a very pleasant smell. It will be sour. If you see tiny bubbles, then it’s well made and ready to use.
- Strain and store: Last step is to strain the plant material out. Discard the solids and keep the liquid fermented plant juice in an air tight container. It will last a year in room temp in an airtight container.
- If the plant leaves are large, cut them into around 10 cm pieces in order to increase osmotic pressure (for plant cell breakdown that kicks off the fermentation process) and surface area.
- Make sure to let the FPJ ferment undisturbed. Bubbles start forming after a couple days and this is a clue that all is well. If after a week it’s still not fermenting, your weather may be too cold, or it may be due to disturbing it too much in the first days.
- The finished FPJ will have a very slight alcohol scent. This is normal for ferments and is caused by chlorophyl breaking down.
- Washing the chosen plants or collecting right after a rain will give you plants without enough lactic acid bacteria and yeast. Your ferment will come out thick, dark and sludgy and not be very usable.
- Choose plants that grow fast for your FPJ. Faster growers contain growth hormone that plants really respond positively to when fertilized with it. They’ll in turn grow faster and stronger as well.
What Happens During Fermentation To Make It A Fertilizer:
In order to become fermented plant juice, the green plants produce cell sap and chlorophyll by using sugars that build up the osmotic pressure that breaks down plant cells and starts the process of decomposition by fermentation of the agents’ cell walls by microorganisms. FPJ from green plants is rich in nutrients and growth hormone for plants.
How To Use Fermented Plant Juice Fertilizer
The concentration should never exceed 0.2%.
- Early Stages: Use a 0.1% concentration of FPJ for seed soaking, germinating plants and to fertilize your seedlings.
- Mid Stages: 750:1 Once you see stem growth, increase the concentration to 0.2%.
- Later stages: 500:1 Dilution. Spray onto leaves and fruits. It will take some personal experimentation depending on your local factors and plants used. Potatoes for example, don’t like fermented plant juice fertilizer at all. Most plants do thrive with it though. I find the 500:1 dilution to work better than the stronger 200:1.
KNF Liquid Fertilizer Dilution Guide
Before fertilizing your plants with green plant FPJ, you must dilute it.
- 1 part FPJ to 500 part of water
- 1 part FPJ to 1,000 parts of water (recommended – works best for us at 0.1% concentration)
Let me know if you’d like the printable PDF version of this image, and I’ll get a PDF download version uploaded on here.
0.1% (also commonly known as 1:1000 dilution)
For this dilution, use 3/4 tsp per 1 gallon. This scales up to 1 1/4 tbsp FPJ per 5 gallons of water and 3/4 cup FPJ for 50 gallons of water.
0.12 (slightly stronger than the 1:1000 FPJ Solution)
For this dilution, use 1 tsp per gallon, 5 tsp per 5 gallons, 1/2 cup for 25 gallons and so on.
0.2% (1:500 dilution)
This dilution comes out to 1 1/2 tsp FPJ per 1 gallon of water, 2 1/2 Tbsp per 5 gallons of water, 5 Tbsp FPJ liquid per 10 gallons, and so on.
0.5% (1:200 dilution)
This is the strongest I’ve seen recomme nded, but I have no experience using this strength successfully on our vegetables or herbs. I stick to the 1:1000 and occasionally use the 0.2%.
More FPJ Tips
Here are tips to help you make a perfect green plant FPJ.
- Select the right types of plants! Use plants that are growing in your farm or garden to make the fermented plant juice. These same plants are the best choice for your growing needs because the fertilizer you’ll use is made from the same plant it’s fertilizing. The benefit of this is that you’ll get all the best and vital substances those plants need to grow strong.
- Plants have the most nutrients before sunrise. Early morning fast growers make for the best FPJ plant ingredient. However, you can also use plants on a sunny day.
- The key is to have their moisture levels low. Wait 2 days after a rain to use those leaves for the FPJ. And don’t wash the ones you do collect afterwards before the ferment.
- Choose plants that are growing strong and in season to make your FPJ from.
- Choose plants that have long been established in the local area where the FPJ will be used.
Watch FPJ Being Made
Until I make a video of myself making this, I will just refer to some of the great videos I have bookmarked to help spread good information natural fertilizers and farming.
I found another really good video for learning how to make fermented plant juice. He uses the local weeds growing around the farm.
Worth Repeating: Less Is More With KNF Fertilizers!
See the dilution guide above.
You must dilute the liquid fertilizer with water. 1 part water to 1,000 parts FPJ is a good starting point for the early germination period and on the seedlings. As stems develop you can increase the concentration. You still never want to get to 1% as far as I know. The one time I did that I almost killed my resilient chili pepper plants.
I hope you learned how to make fermented plant juice with our recipe in this post. All the many different types of fermented plant juice can easily be made at home if you have the basic ingredients for it. All you need are plants, brown sugar and water. Add to that a little time to wait and a space you can keep it in that’s not your bedroom, and you’re set to produce a powerful and effective organic fertilizer that goes for a hefty price when buying it instead of making it.
You can even use FPJ with your livestock or any animals. FPJ residue mixed with some feed can increase your animals’ good gut bugs. It’s mixed in floor material as well as sprayed inside pens to neutralize odors.
There are many variations of Fermented Plant Juice, so bookmark this post and come back
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Have you made liquid fertilizer before?
If you have any other interesting FPJ information, or tips to help make it, please let us know in the comments!
UP NEXT: In this post we share more information on organic liquid fertilizers. Liquid Herb Hormone and Fermented Brown Rice Water are the 2 DIY plant fertilizer types shared in this post.
Source: (1) Applied Natural Farming, 2013
Related Read: Here’s a great post on making fermented plant juice with a focus on Korean Natural Farming
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