Late spring and early summer is an important time for gardeners when plants grow intensively. Accumulate dieback and future crops while consuming large amounts of water and nutrients.
So what do they need? They need help! Especially in areas with poor, heavily sandy soils, where nutrients are scarce and water flows like sand through the fingers. Plants in this period need regular watering and feeding, otherwise, good crops cannot grow.
Regarding green manure for plants, it can actually “roll around” underfoot (I don’t want to do that). We’ll talk about it in this article.
WHAT FERTILIZER CAN I APPLY TO MY PLANTS AT THE BEGINNING OF SUMMER?
In general: There are basic dates for fertilizing, usually in the fall or early spring, which will give plants a good start to the new season. There is also some base fertilizer (a slight “bite”) to give the growing organism an even supply of nutrients until mid-summer.
Why by mid-summer, you may ask. Because all nutrients contain a lot of nitrogen, necessary for growth, in one way or another. But long periods of growth are fraught with inadequate preparation for winter and frost for young plant shoots. Therefore, all fertilizers are used only until midsummer, and not later.
Of course, you need to understand that this rule works for perennial crops, which winter in the open ground, while annual crops (flowers and vegetables) live only until the cold winter, and you can help all seasons.
The fastest option is to make a liquid feed, then all the useful substances easily reach the roots and are quickly absorbed by them. You can notice the effect after a few days.
You can go to a gardening store and buy “Nitrifying bacteria“, or better a more modern fertilizer with trace elements, dilute it with water, and water the flower beds and rhizosphere. Chemical? Yes, but that’s not the issue right now.
If you advocate “proper” farming, you can use a water-diluted solution of chicken manure or feces. Do you have a farm with livestock? Then this is the route for you. However, for most gardeners and barnyard owners, these options are unacceptable given the labor costs of buying, transporting, and refining a bunch of bought manure.
But there is one material that is abundant on any plot, and it is well suited to make an effective organic fertilizer – a so-called forage ferment. I don’t know about you, but I like the name, somehow optimistic.
The basis of herb ferment is weeds, and many people struggle with their plots, usually without success. Once you start making and using weed fermenters, you will find yourself with far fewer weeds and need to ask your neighbors for “help”.
Admittedly, not all weeds are OK. Shepherd’s purse, for example, is useless with thin, hard stems, and it is better to use something meaty and juicy. Nettle is considered to be the best choice.
I’m not going to compare the effects of nettle leaves, that’s for the experts. My opinion: green weed! It is the accumulated nutrients taken from the ground, which are abundant in any weed. Our task: to return this material to the ground – the roots of cultivated plants.
HOW TO MAKE A WEED FERMENTER FROM WEED?
But let’s move on to the recipe itself. So, you’ve picked a mountain of weeds (or cut them). It’s best to chop it up a bit so the process goes faster, but if you’re not a picky gardener, you can leave it unchopped.
All this mass is placed in a large, spacious container. The most popular among gardeners is the used enamel tub, although it can compete with the buckets of fuel and lubricants.
But do not try to fill the tank completely, leave some room for the edges, about 1/3. Now add water so that it completely covers the “green”. Stir and put the lid on.
It does not need to be airtight, the mass will gradually begin to ferment, releasing gas, and he needs an outlet. So a piece of plastic wrap tightly around the edges and some slats will do the trick.
How long do we have to wait? Depends on the ambient temperature, but about 2 weeks. What’s worth noting? Fermentation creates foam, and if you don’t leave slits from the top, valuable liquid can “run-off”.
The jar containing the herbal fermenter is best kept in the shade so that the hot summer sun does not overheat it, there too, as, with any brew, it has its optimum temperature and most importantly its uniformity. You can add emu preparations, a shovel of manure to speed up the process, some people add baker’s yeast, some people add beer.
In my opinion, this is overkill, we need free fertilizer, don’t we? Adding a little soil microorganism to the soil, which is all present on the stumps of ruthlessly uprooted weeds, works quite well. You can occasionally stir the fermenter with a spatula.
After about two weeks, when the foam has settled, your free, and most importantly, organic fertilizer is ready. But do not use the concentrate directly, dilute it with water, about 1:2 to 1:4.
The semi-decomposed material in the container can be dumped into the compost pile or used as a mulch. But do not take it all out. Leave some at the bottom, which will serve as a good starter for subsequent herbal fermentation batches (e.g. in making homemade yogurt). You like it, don’t you? Will you be making more?
There is an opinion that there is a phosphorus deficiency in the fermenter and it is recommended that additional ash or superphosphate be added. There is a protracted debate around the chemistry of this mixture.
In my opinion, you need the best (correct) combination of organic and mineral fertilizers that will help avoid nutrient imbalances. After all, we don’t have our own lab on-site where we can determine exactly what is present in one or the other substance in the fertilizer mixture. So, I combined again. Fertilizer is applied with fermenters, and a week later I spread ash. I don’t think you can go wrong with that.
APPLICATION RATES OF GREEN MANURE FOR DIFFERENT CROPS
How to use the grass ferment and what is the application rate:
- For young saplings and mature bushes of berry crops, approximately: 5-10 liters of working solution per plant.
- For vegetable crops and strawberries in the garden: 10 liters per 1 square meter of bed.
- Adult fruit trees: 50-100 liters of fertilizer.
As you can see here, there is no strict amount of fertilizer to be applied, and the fertilizer is soft. However, with regular application, good results can be achieved. What is the regular application?
The solution is fermented, I use it, immediately fill the new part, and wait 2 weeks before applying fertilizer. So, once every two weeks is how it works.
As with any fertilizer application, plants should be watered well the day before.
Foliar feeding can also be done with herbal fermentation. However, since this fertilizer is homemade, the ratio is not exactly recommended. Suffice it to say that, like all foliar fertilizers, herbal ferments should be diluted heavily with water and tested on a small area of the canopy before use.
This is the only way to achieve the right concentration and feel the effects without burning the leaves, especially in the spring when they are still very tender.
This is how to make “something from nothing” fertilizer. Of course, it is not a complete substitute for fertile soil in the bed, but it can help your pet establish the necessary fruit mass and crown size.
Have a great summer and lots of weeds!