When you learn how to make organic liquid fertilizer, you discover a goldmine for your garden.
One of the best ways to continuously feed nutrients to your plants is to use an organic compost. But compost takes some time to make, and sometimes you can’t or don’t want to make it or buy it.
So if you’re in this circumstance, the next best thing to organic compost that can sometimes almost complete replace it is organic liquid fertilizer.
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How To Make Organic Liquid Fertilizer
The overall process of making all fermented bio liquids is this:
- Take plants, herbs, fruits, manures, etc
- Put them in a big jar or dig a hole and line it (manures)
- Add water and sugar
- Cover with a cloth
- Let it ferment
Each will have its own spin on these steps, but this is the general idea for these biofertilizer liquids.
Organic liquid fertilizer is also referred to as “fermented bio liquid.”
Making organic liquid fertilizers is not hard. And if you’ve ever brewed your own beer, then you’re already an expert.
Our Fermented Plant Juice Recipe shares How To make One step-by-step In Detail.
It takes some fine tuning, like finding the proper waiting area, storage container and ingredient/water amounts, but that’s as hard as it gets.
The hardest part is finding where to put the container. I like to use garlic for my herb hormones. Its powerful smell lingers wherever you have it, so I leave it far from the house in a shaded area.
Make sure any organic liquid fertilizer you make gets ZERO direct sunshine. Indirect sunshine is also best avoided.
Applying Organic Liquid Fertilizer Combinations
Combinations are KEY to using these KNF liquid fertilizers for natural farming.
After placing seeds in the dirt where I’m growing red leaf lettuce, for example, I am using a 1:1 part fermented brown rice water and liquid herb hormone. This is then diluted with water.
Ideally, FPJ would also be in this combo.
The way I learned this is to combine all 3, the brown rice water, the LHH, and the FPJ. You combine all these evenly and then dilute them according to the application.
So it would be 1:1:1 part fermented brown rice water, liquid herb hormone, and fermented plant juice.
For seedlings, dilute with a lot of water, such as 1:500. Once the plant is fully grown and producing you can make it stronger, i.e. 1:100 or 1:50 (3-part ferment combo + water).
For soaking seeds, dilute the most heavily, so the mixture is less concentrated.
In order to get maximum effectiveness from your liquid fermented fertilizer, it’s recommended to make several types of liquid fertilisers and then evenly mix/dilute them for use on your natural farm.
Diluting Liquid Fertilizer
Using wrong concentrations is the biggest mistake that can be made when natural farming with fermented bio liquids
Undiluted, any organic liquid fertiliser is too strong for direct application on the plants or when nourish your gardening soil. Even for soil it should be diluted.
Diluting extends the usage of your batch and helps you see all you need to nourish your gardening soil.
The main one we’ve been using is a mixture of brown rice water and liquid herb hormone. The two alone have worked well, but adding FPJ is best, at 1:1:1.
Storage And Fermenting Containers
We use a clay pot most the time, but the glass pots I’ve made them with were always successful as well. Clay pot with a cloth on top tied off is the best way. This means there is some oxygen inside, but we try to get most of it out before capping it off.
Suggested pH Levels
The pH level of most fermented bio liquids is acidic. It’s usually around 4. The acid comes from the fermentation, as microorganisms produce lactic acid among other end products.
A pH level of 3.0 to 4.0 signals that your fermented bio liquid is ready.
*FYI: Fermented bio liquid from snail shells won’t be acidic because calcium from shells make it alkaline.
Benefits Of Using KNF Liquid Fertilizers
What the fermentation does is it extracts the liquid from plants or animal cells (or whatever organic matter you’re using), and helps break down the material and eventually creates wonderful plant food nutrients like amino acids or humid acid for example.
- Prevents crop diseases
- Prevents bacterial attacks
- Prevents insect invaders
- Helps your plants produce more
- Helps make your plants stronger (stems, leaves, roots)
Are there downsides of using these KNF organic liquid fertilizers?
Natural Farming Liquid Fertilizers Simply Work
Fermented liquid fertilizers (like FPJ) work because of the process of organic materials breaking down into various nutrients.
Brown sugar is the key ingredient that makes this happen.
In nature, a type of fructose is released from the roots of plants. This is nature’s way of providing microorganism’s food.
This is why sugar is necessary. It causes the fermenting liquid’s osmotic pressure. This extracts the liquid from your ingredients.
Is Brown Sugar Mandatory For Making Liquid Fertilizers?
Brown sugar is not mandatory. There are better options. Raw sugar is what you want and what these forms of permaculture truly ask for.
“Brown” sugar in Natural Farming literature has been mistranslated.
“Raw” sugar is what we should be using.
True raw sugars like turbinado, demerara, muscovado, or jaggery sugar.
These also come from sugar cane, but are unrefined unlike white and brown sugar. These raw sugars don’t go through the centrifuge process that separates out the molasses.
These are what KNF and natural farming ask for.. not brown sugar.
However, brown sugar works because that molasses is added back in.
White refined sugar will work too, but it is the worst choice.
White sugar won’t give your ferment’s microorganisms enough to feed on.
Another issue is osmotic pressure, which it may not have enough of for proper nutrient extraction. You’d get materials to ferment, but your fertilizers would be weaker than they should be.
Large natural farms use molasses because it’s more economical than brown sugar.
Molasses is just as effective as brown sugar because it provides all the essential nutrients that the microorganisms need to go to work in breaking down the organic matters chosen to ferment.
Various Types You Can Make At Home
You can make many different types of organic liquid fertilizers.
Each will vary in quality and effectiveness depending on what you use to make them.
The following ingredients make up most forms of fermented liquid fertilizers:
- green leafy plants
- aquatic plants (seaweed)
- food scraps (organic)
- medicinal herbs
- animals (fish, meat scraps, etc.)
- human waste
And of the main categories of fertilizer ingredients above and their endless types, each will create a different result.
I could use any number of medicinal herbs on a liquid herb hormone batch, for example. But there are also recommended combinations, like garlic and ginger.
I learned this homemade liquid fertilizer bio liquid combination from my mother-in-law who’s been using these KNF principles alongside her Thai farming wisdom.
Can Liquid Fertilizers Replace Composting?
If you can’t get enough organic compost for your garden, a fermented bio liquid is part of the answer.
Organic liquid fertilizers offer an effective way to successfully grow a no till or no dig organic garden without regular use of quality compost.
They’re not a complete replacement, but there are ways to using other plants which are chopped down to feed the soil, or rice bran, plus several of these organic liquid fertilizers to nourish and feed the soil below without having to use a truckload of compost that took 8 months to make.
The downside to not making your own organic liquid fertilizer:
- The price
- The fact that you wouldn’t be using local microorganisms
Fermented bio liquid fertilizers are full of natural microorganisms that help nourish your plants.
They’re most effective when made with local plants from your area.
Mulching with grass or other plants plus one or two of these free fertilizers should definitely be able to replace compost when all combined. Fertilizers can even be made from weeds growing between driveway cracks!
A Fermented Bio Liquid Recipe: Liquid Herb Hormone (OHN)
Below is the liquid herb hormone recipe for Orient Herbal Nutrient (OHN).
How To Make Liquid Herb Hormone
For this OHN recipe I used garlic and ginger.
You can use any combination of medicinal herbs.
- Alcohol: the extractor does not need to be alcohol. You can use straight water (takes much longer) or wood vinegar
How To Make It:
Step 1. Prepare Medicinal Herbs
- Chop up the medicinal herbs, then smash it in a mortar and pestle.
- After smashing the herbs, put them in your ceramic pot and fill it 1/3 full with the smashed medicinal herbs.
Step 2. Top Off With Extractor
- Top the smashed herbs off with any form of alcohol (beer, moonshine, rice whiskey, tequila, etc.)
- After you do this, let it sit for a few days UNCOVERED.
Step 3. Add Sugar
- After the initial 3-day waiting period, fill up the ceramic up with water to make the whole contents amount filled up to 2/3.
- Mix well so that the sugar dissolves
- Cover with a breathable cloth or paper and tie it tight with a rubber band or string to prevent the fruit flies.
Step 4. Storage
- Keep it in an airtight container.
It should not smell sweet.
It should not smell sour.
It should smell nice, in a way. It will be strong, but it won’t smell soured and bad.
How To Use Liquid Herb Hormone (LHH)
Dilute it with water times 500 to 1,000.
Mix it in a spray bottle and spritz your plants every week or a few times per month to keep them strong and help them fight off potential diseases and invader insects.
More bio liquid fertilizers you can make:
- Fermented Fruit Juice (FFJ)
- Fermented Liquid Animal Protein
- Fermented Liquid Lactic Acid
- Fermented Liquid Calcium (Water Soluble Calcium)
- Fermented Liquid Calcium Phosphate
- Fermented Liquid Potassium
- Fermented Liquid Magnesium
- Fermented Liquid Boron
- Liquid Natural Minerals (Bacterial Mineral Water or BMW)
- Liquid Compost From Human Waste
Update: Here’s our updated Fermented Plant Juice (FPJ) recipe.
In time I will have made each organic liquid fertilizer above and hope to make a recipe blog post here on SproutingFam (once perfected). Until then, we have plenty of good information online to learn from! Chris Trump and another couple called Natural Farming Hawaii both share how to make a lot of these.
Natural farming in Thailand is derived from various methods learned from surrounding countries and decades of experience.
Korean Natural Farming has a strong influence in natural farming in Thailand. Along with Korean farming methods are Japanese natural farming methods. KNF and all its organic liquid fertilizers are a part of permaculture and can be utilized in Thailand’s subtropical weather or in temperate climates throughout the United States. These can be utilized in any region around the world.
Growing plants with organic liquid fertilizers is an effective and fun way to farm.
Learning how to make them is also a nice skill to have. You can literally make these natural liquid fertilizers for free.
You can use scraps, plants around the house, or other herbs you grow in your garden to make this fermented bio liquid. The only things you really need outside of the plants, herbs or fruit are the sugar and water.
Here’s a good video on Youtube about how to make organic liquid fertilisers.
Thanks for coming by the Sprouting Fam blog.
Are you making KNF liquid fertilizers?