Homemade Fertilizers

Home Made Fertiliser: Part Two

Author: 

Hugh Lovel

Category: 

BiodynamicsFarmingSoil

Humified Compost and Compost Extract

Misunderstandings about compost abound. Many imagine that composts are simply broken down organic matter that is ready to be taken up by plants. All too often composters seek to simply digest a mix of wood wastes, plant matter, manures and protein rich processing wastes with little or no concern for producing an insoluble but available end product. They may test the end product for soluble N, P and K using the assumption that higher soluble analysis is better. Unfortunately such composts feed rampant bacterial flushes.

 

 

“Prediction is difficult, especially the future.” —Niels Bohr

 

Part One of this two part series examines getting nitrogen in our food so that it not only sustains but elevates our consciousness. Raising consciousness depends on photosynthesis to build high levels of soil carbon that support biological nitrogen fixation and release. On the other hand, industrially produced nitrogen, which is far more wasteful of resources, produces a reckless, selfish consciousness that is alienated from nature.

Well integrated, high energy biological systems draw in nitrogen in forms that support clarity, refinement and integrity of consciousness. This includes supporting the role nitrogen plays in telepathy, clairvoyance and telekinesis. Establishing such systems requires fine tuning fertility, soil balance and cropping to build sufficient carbon into the soil for nitrogen fixation. When the food we grow develops an inspiring savouriness we know we are on the right track.

Artificial fertilisers, synthetic nitrogen and monocropping do the opposite, depleting soil carbon to feed a crude, selfish consciousness that fails to consider the greater good. Food grown with this sort of nitrogen input leaves a lot to be desired in terms of taste and smell. What can we do to improve the food we eat so it contains the forces necessary to bridge the gap from what we think to what we actually do? Using fertilisers we can make at home along with insights into growing quality food, our noses and tongues will tell us when we get nitrogen right.

We cannot rely on the food for sale in supermarkets, hotels and restaurants to get nitrogen in food in forms that facilitate the psychic clarity and integrity of consciousness. For the most part we have to grow our own or find growers who know what they are doing. However, in an uncertain world where food distribution is increasingly subject to interruption, growing our own food may be the cheapest and best nutritional insurance anyway.

In terms of getting nitrogen right we can start with making a liquid fertility booster derived from earthworm compost that feeds the microbial dynamics surrounding plant roots to deliver complex living nitrogen to food plants. From there, we need to understand how plants grow so they slap us in the face with their quality. Not all soils or crops need the same things, and not all home made fertilisers are appropriate across the board.

What Is The Point?

Where materialism assumes that our existence just happened, those who believe in a higher reality seek inspiration, enlightenment and greater realization of who and what we are and will be. Surely there is a path to a more highly informed, integrated and energised existence, but to walk our talk in the world of substance requires high level physical energy. To a significant degree, our force of personality or strength of character must come from the food we eat and the air we breathe, complimented by the guidance of our souls. In fact, from the viewpoint of materialism such force can only come from the things—including warmth and light—that we take in as nourishment to our body.

Let us be mindful of this as we explore the hypothesis that the amino acid chemistry of nitrogen provides the basis for genetic memory, awareness, sensation, desire and intelligence. Building a bridge between thought and action depends on quality nitrogen chemistry, as nitrogen is so versatile in accepting electrons that it reacts with the full spectrum of minerals in our body from silicon to calcium.

Lime and Silica

On the one hand the lime polarity is associated with muscles, bones, cell nuclei and DNA—where DNA’s four amino acids are all ring compounds. On the other hand, the silica polarity is associated with skin, hair, nails, transport vessels and cell walls where the three sulphur containing amino acids are found. Studies using photo multiplier techniques show the amino acids at this silica polarity emit and absorbs photons at the rate of billions per second in a process called biophotonic luminescence. It is thought that this siliceous luminescence is what unites our cells and coordinates their activity as a single organism despite the wide variation in genetic expressions.[1]

Looking at bodily organisation as a dynamic interplay of photons, it seems we are luminous beings holding together our various silica, nitrogen and lime activities via biophotonic luminescence. From another viewpoint we are carbon based life forms filled largely with water which contains a smattering of silica, nitrogen, lime and trace elements.  

The Biochemical Sequence

Studying plants and their life processes reveals there is a hierarchy of what has to function before the next thing and the next thing can work properly. First of all, sulphur is the catalyst for life processes to connect with the chemistry of carbon.[2] Thus it is no surprise that our sulphur containing amino acids are found in our cell walls, connective tissues and transport vessels where amorphous fluid silica works via biophotonic luminescence with nitrogen, carbon and water.

          Once life inspires carbon plants reveal a biochemical sequence which starts with boron. Boron doesn’t rest easy in silica rich cell walls and transport vessels, as all it takes is a trace of boron to create enough sap pressure to transport nutrients—starting with calcium and amino acids—to the sites where cell division and growth occur.

Then, since growth requires energy, magnesium comes into play in the formation of chlorophyll, whereupon phosphorus transfers the energy captured by photosynthesis into making sugars. Sugars are then transported via silicon to wherever potassium, the electrolyte messenger, carries them.[3] By understanding this biochemical sequence we can address deficiencies and imbalances in both soil and plants so we grow refined, complex, value packed food.

Potassium Silicate Watering Solution

Though the biochemical sequence makes their importance clear, boron and silicon have long ranked as the least understood essentials in modern agriculture. In our tertiary schools silicon is not even considered essential, and it has been ignored for more than a century. Boron, though it is known to be essential, is also poorly understood. Yet everything that follows this pair depends on their activity, which makes the following watering solution a key input. Use it with vermiwash as a mainstay in any fertility program whether it be for home gardens, market gardens, orchards, vineyards, flowers or herb production. It would even make lawns more resilient to weather, insects and diseases while smelling cleaner and having more of a shine.

An Australian recipe uses the dried foliage of Australian she oaks[4] or bull oaks[5], while In North America and Europe horsetail[6] is often preferred. In either case one burns a large quantity of high silica plant matter to ash and collects the ash. The ash of any silica rich plant material will do, as for example, rice hulls (not the bran) are brilliant and even bamboo ash will do. Mill ash from burning sugar cane bagasse is available at some sugar mills in vast bulk at industrial prices and is rich in both potassium and silica.

On a home garden scale, simmer 2 or 3 kilos of high silica ash along with half a cup of solubor or boric acid in 15 litres of water while stirring for at least 30 minutes, If high quality ash is hard to obtain it may help to add a kilo of diatomaceous earth. Too much boron can cause burning in plants, so take care with measuring this.

After simmering while stirring for 30 minutes, allow the mixture to cool enough to safely strain and filter the lye-like solution. While still warm, add a heaping tablespoon of biodynamic horn clay and potentize homoeopathically[7] for at least three minutes.

In general potassium silicate/boron solution should be watered in. If it is used as a foliar, keep in mind that boron provides sap pressure, which works from the soil up to get silica and all the other nutrients that follow into the plant. If boron is applied as a foliar it still must get to the roots before it becomes fully effective.

The Importance of Silicon

Ordinarily boron and silica enter plants via their symbiosis with actinomycetes and mycorrhizal fungi. These are silica polarity organisms that are delicate and easily damaged by soluble NPK fertilisers. However, vermiwash and potassium silicate watering solution feed and strengthen these microbial symbiotes. This greatly increases nutrient uptake, especially for boron, silicon, calcium, amino acid nitrogen and zinc.[8]

Since the commonest deficiency seen in both agriculture and human nutrition is silica, this liquid fertiliser is import to ensure strong cell walls and transport vessels so plants are efficient and resilient. Since silica has a lot to do with photosynthesis, this also assures efficient photosynthesis and protoplasmic density while making plants tastier. Taste and the digestive/nutritive processes related to it play a central role in the nitrogen cycle. Using this fertiliser on garden vegetation, which over time gets recycled as compost and vermiwash, can be a big help with engaging nitrogen.

Application Rates

Combine potassium silicate with vermiwash at a rate of 250 mls of potassium silicate per litre of vermiwash. Dilute this concentrate at least half and half with water (more dilute is better) and apply to the soil in garden, orchard or vineyard as needed.

Like everything, this formula can be overdone, so it may be best to limit applications to a litre of dilute solution per fortnight per plant with pumpkins, squash, sweet corn, cukes, zukes, capsicums, okra or anything else with a tendency to get too lush, weak, bug bitten or diseased.[9] For tomatoes if they are especially lush the proportion of potassium silicate to vermiwash can be doubled or quadrupled. If organic certification is a concern keep in mind that these ingredients are all natural materials except solubor or boric acid, which are permissible in most organic certification programs due to widespread boron deficiencies in most cultivated soils.

At the end of the day there will be considerable residual ash which should be recycled as a resource. It can be blended back into compost/vermiwash production or incorporated into solid fertiliser blends such as humified composts and scattered on grain, pasture or hay paddocks.

Sulphur

Some fertilisers apply in nearly all cases, while others should be used only as needed. In working out prescriptions based on soil tests, sulphur comes first as the catalyst for life chemistry. Depending on time and place, sulphur falls freely with the rain, but that does not necessarily mean that soils and plants won’t be hungry for it. Of course, a small amount of sulphur is present in humates and vermiwash, and applying these tends to assure sulphur sticks around and is biologically available. But if soil tests indicate a sulphur deficiency it would be a good idea to apply it.

On the other hand sulphur may be present, at least in total tests, and all that needs boosting is the sulphur process. As this works on the leaf margins of plants, it works more strongly in plants with deeply incised and highly ramified leaves. The herbal biodynamic preparations, particularly the yarrow, emphasize this sulphur process, and homoeopathic application imparts process rather than substance.

Depending on the location and condition of the soil, sulphur applications[10] deserve careful consideration. Herbs with finely cut leaves—such as some lupines, thistles and umbellifers—concentrate and organize sulphur, and these plants can be harvested and composted for a sulphur rich vermiwash which can help to improve the sulphur process where needed. Sulphur, along with potassium, silicon and zinc, prepares the way for life to launch its interplay with substance at the edges and boundaries where organization arises. The more extensive and interactive these boundaries are the more abundantly they give rise to life—which is where syntropy[11] and entropy meet.

Bone Meal or Bone Ash

After sulphur the next thing to look at is phosphorous. As mentioned earlier, phosphorous is important for energy storage and release. Phosphorous is the energy transfer element for both storing energy as sugars in the foliage and releasing energy from sugary root exudates in the soil. Since one of the most energy intensive processes that occur in the soil is nitrogen fixation, it is small wonder that many nitrogen fixing microbes also solubilize phosphorous in order to ensure they have enough available energy to fix nitrogen.

In terms of nitrogen and consciousness, the human brain is rich in phosphorous which is engaged in producing silicic acid in extremely fine dilution so it can flow down nerve fibres to tense muscles. Calcium and magnesium, along with the electrolytes potassium and sodium, are essential for the muscles to relax again, and for this to occur phosphorous once again releases energy in the muscles. Muscle spasms where muscles seize and cannot relax usually is a phosphorous problem, and the same biodynamic preparation herb used for switching on the phosphorous process in the soil—valerian—is noted for its relief of cramps and muscle spasms in herbal medicine.

The occurrence of a red wine colour in petioles and leaf tips is an indication of insufficient available phosphorous, but seeing this symptom does not tell us how much P is actually in the soil or what should happen to make it available if it is present—hence the need for total tests (aka an aqua regia analysis) in soil diagnosis. Particularly on pastures soluble phosphorous may be only a few ppm (parts per million), while an aqua regia (total) digest may reveal a thousand ppm or more. Since it takes life to release insoluble phosphates, plants may need a bit of soluble phosphorous to start releasing the energy bound up in carbon compounds in order to ramp up soil microbial activity that can release more reserve phosphorous.

Of the major nutrients, phosphorous best shows the need for both soluble and total (aqua regia) tests to see what is actually there. If phosphorous is plentiful in soil reserves we only need to prime the pump with a small amount of soluble phosphorous along with a microbial food source—such as vermiwash and/or molasses—in order to start unlocking the reserves. Only when phosphorous is missing should it be added in bulk; and once phosphorous is working biological nitrogen fixation and potassium release tends to function smoothly.

Here is where either bone meal or home made bone ash extract can provide sufficient soluble phosphorous to prime the pump so that phosphorous reserves are released. Bone meal may be available from large animal processors who steam clean bones and grind them up to sell as a dry product. Otherwise fresh bones from local slaughter or road kill can be cleaned up via composting and then burned and crushed as bone ash.

Waste bones, including heads, may be available in quantities from abattoirs or processing facilities, and it may be more economical on a large scale to grind them up with a stump grinder or wood chipper and incorporate them into compost windrows instead of burning them. Sometimes knackers process carcasses by cooking the meat off them and then processing the bones. In whatever the fashion bones are obtained it is a good idea to clean the flesh off them prior to burning to avoid waste and objectionable odours.

Verily, bones should never be wasted, and phosphorous fertiliser production as part of a self-sufficient operation may require burning them. Gardeners may find they can process left over bones through their wood heaters. In general, burned bones may come from almost any source, and some will burn more easily than others. Burnt bones can be crushed into powder and extracted with vinegar or other organic acids using moderate heat to yield soluble phosphates for liquid applications, and if a little elemental sulphur is needed, the vinegar stage is a good place to add it as a small percentage of the total dry matter.

This crude phosphoric extract is useful diluted and combined with the vermiwash and a homeopathic dose of biodynamic valerian preparation to jump start the phosphorous process. Residual bone ash can be added to composts up to about 8 or 10% of the total raw materials, or it can be dried and scattered thinly under fruit trees and flowering shrubs.

Liquid Digest Fish

This deserves mention if fish frames, scales and related wastes are available. Grinding up fish wastes and letting them ferment in water can yield an end product with an excellent balance between lime, silica and phosphorous with enough nitrogen to jump start nitrogen fixation in the soil. However, this tends to be quite smelly, especially in the early stages of digestion.

Humified Compost and Compost Extract

Misunderstandings about compost abound. Many imagine that composts are simply broken down organic matter that is ready to be taken up by plants. All too often composters seek to simply digest a mix of wood wastes, plant matter, manures and protein rich processing wastes with little or no concern for producing an insoluble but available end product. They may test the end product for soluble N, P and K using the assumption that higher soluble analysis is better. Unfortunately such composts feed rampant bacterial flushes that grow better weeds than crops and pollute streams and groundwater with run off and leaching. If soluble N is high these products often reek of ammonia and volatile amines.

In nature composting tends to be is far wiser where materials are more scattered and have good contact with soil. Beneficial soil microbes gather up loose nutrients and tuck them away in high molecular weight clay/humus complexes like bees gather nectar and store honey. Actinomycetes and mycorrhizal fungi in particular store loose nutrients this way so they only become available to newly planted crops when root emergence and root exudation occur.

Often what we think of as weeds are nature’s back-up team to sop up loose nutrients when humification has not occurred. We can observe this loose nutrient condition in the first three or four weeks after ploughing down a green manure crop. Initially the bacterial breakdown of vegetation runs rampant, nutrients are released and if we plant before the humus builders take over we get a field of weeds that overwhelms whatever we planted.

In composting large piles or windrows, the breakdown phase runs rampant at first, producing plenty of simple sugars, amino acids and soluble salts. However, this sets the stage for organisms which clean up this heady brew, toning down the nutrients to non-toxic levels and quelling bacterial activity while storing large organic clay/humus complexes that tie up amino acids and minerals so they are insoluble but available. It is these large, stable compounds—available to crop beneficial microbes—which provide the most beneficial forms of boron, silicon, calcium, nitrogen, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, zinc, etc.

Most soils have remnants of these beneficial microbes that can be awakened using a proper food source—humified compost. It doesn’t take much to nurse theses remnants back, and awakening them primes the pump for further humus formation as root exudates feed the soil. At some point re-enlivened soils can become self-fertile and self sustaining with diversified cropping and abundant carbon capture.

In the near term liquid extracts of humified composts can be of especial benefit to boost this recovery when used as liquid injects on top of seed at planting. Often in broadacre and pasture renovation, liquid inject formulas based on compost extracts can be the most economical way of feeding this all-important microbial population where it does the most good—on new roots as they emerge. In garden and small farm applications this is essentially what is accomplished with vermiwash, and such liquid formulas can be sprayed on stunted areas in pasture and broadacre paddocks.

Large Scale Humic and Fulvic Extracts

Sometimes when we are dealing with grazing or broadacre acreages where the scale is too large to address needs with on-farm composting it can be useful in the short term to buy in humates in the form of activated brown coal solids or humic and fulvic extracts. In general these inputs are excellent in rebuilding soil microbial life so the soils become self-sustaining. While these are a compromise with self-sufficiency they can be especially helpful when they incorporate necessary nutrient deficiencies, which are best determined by testing both soluble and total soil nutrients. In this fashion progress toward self-sufficiency can be made. After all, inputs that get us off the treadmill of future inputs are what we are looking for, no matter the scale of our operations.

Sea Minerals and ORMEs

         Unless one lives on the ocean sea minerals may have to be bought in rather than being produced locally. Sea minerals are a by-product of salt evaporation due to the fact supermarket buyers overwhelmingly prefer free running salt. As a result, most evaporators market the first precipitate, sodium chloride,[12] which leaves a pot liquor that is dense and almost oily. Only fully evaporated (aka macrobiotic) sea salt contains the fully array of minerals in sea water. Sea minerals are a waste product that usually can be obtained in bulk at reasonable prices. At rates from 1 to 5 litres per hectare per year, this bounty of the sea should never be wasted as it contains a well-balanced blend of almost every element in the periodic table. Moreover, it will contain ORMEs.

          Orbitally Rearranged Mono-atomic Elements (ORMEs) occur when large numbers of atoms of various elements align their electron orbitals so they resonate as though they were single atoms, thus becoming superconductors and virtually weightless as well as virtually undetectable. Atomic physics has only begun to shed light on this ancient mystery in the last couple of decades even though allusions to these substances and their seemingly magical properties can be traced back into ancient Egypt and Suma.

It is now evident that many of the puzzling features of plants and animals clearly mimic the quantum behaviours of single atoms even though they are thought to involve huge collections of molecules. For example, how can photons impact a concentration of a billion or more chlorophyll molecules in a leaf and have the photons simultaneously go down all the pathways available to transfer their energy into making sugar, thus achieving virtual 100% efficiency? How can a solution of zinc sulphate be detected at the tip of a very tall tree almost the instant it is poured on the soil at the tree’s roots? Living organisms exhibit on a gross level behaviours once thought to exist only at the level of atomic particles. If large collections of atoms can re-arrange their electrons so they all resonate in perfect alignment—as the evidence suggests—then theoretically they can behave as single atoms no matter how many atoms they once may have been made of individually. We see this sort of behaviour with helium when we chill it close enough to absolute zero that all the electrons simultaneously share the same base state, but recent research indicates a similar phenomenon can occur with elements as complex as gold, platinum and iridium. Furthermore there are indications that sea water is ORME rich and ORME extracts can be obtained by raising the pH of sea water to 10.78 using sodium or potassium hydroxide.[13] This results in a dense, white precipitate which can be separated from the original solution and used in agriculture with results that may seem startling, especially with leguminous crops such as lucerne and soybeans. Small quantities of ORMEs, on the order of 1 gm/hectare, are recommended per application with the understanding that this is something experimental.

Calcium Nitrate and Molasses

Lastly, here is another formula that requires buying ingredients in the short term to achieve long term goals. This is useful when planting in areas where tall, woody annual weeds, such as thistles, amaranths, ambrosias, etc. sprout prolifically. These weeds indicate soil imbalances of too much soluble potassium as compared to the available calcium. Shifting the equilibrium to favour calcium encourages clovers and other calcium/protein rich weeds such as daisies or nettles to take the place of the thistles and amaranths. This can be done when sowing—or even after weed emergence if conditions are dry—by boom spraying 2-5 kg of calcium nitrate along with 10-15 litres of molasses dissolved in 400 litres or more of water per hectare. A hectare is 10,000 square metres, so calculate your area and adjust the recipe accordingly. This amounts to a homeopathic dosage  of approximately 3x potency, as this is barely enough calcium nitrate to flick a stick at. Yet the dynamic tends to shift beautifully and shut down the weeds.

Many organic certification programs do not allow the use of calcium nitrate, and at the conventional rates of 75 to 250 kg/ha this extremely salty fertiliser is far too harsh. However, most organic programs allow a wide variety of trace minerals to be added at considerable dilution in their soluble salt forms as long as soil and leaf tests indicate they are deficient, and it could be argued that this very dilute dosage falls safely within that range. Such light dilution will not harm the soil biology and merely adjusts the calcium/potassium balance so favourable species are encouraged and undesirable ones are discouraged.

Where We Stand

Lest we forget, modern society is fundamentally agrarian. Without agriculture modern society would not exist. Those things that are amiss in our culture, such as crime, disease and environmental destruction, have their roots in agricultural practices that stem from an oppositional rather than a cooperative view of nature—as though we had to wrest a living from the soil in some sort of a war with weather, pests, weeds, diseases and faltering fertility. The kill mentality to solving problems illustrated by the Biblical story of Cain and Abel is just as seductive and unwise today as ever.

          The wisdom of the ages teaches understanding as the path to forgiveness and forgiveness as the path to perfection. The emergence of Chaos Theory and the discovery of the Butterfly Effect in the latter part of the 20th century illustrates that even the tiniest of changes in a dynamic system, such as human society, can have profound consequences downstream. This realization displaced the Kant/La Place cosmology, which assumed that only the evidence of our senses was real and the course of the universe was pre-determined.

As humans we are aware of our own awareness as well as our options, and thus we take a hand in becoming more than what we currently are. In other words, we have free choice and our choices matter—something to keep in mind on the path to being, doing, having and knowing higher consciousness.

 


[1] Epigenetics is the study of the influences of our surroundings on the expression of our genetic code.

[2] Chemists call carbon chemistry ‘organic’ chemistry even when it involves poisons such as dioxins or DDT. Nevertheless, carbon is basic to life chemistry, as we are all carbon based life forms even though not all carbon compounds are alive. For example, heat and pressure are catalysts that cause reactions between carbon, hydrogen and oxygen; but the CH4 and CO2 produced are nevertheless lifeless. It isn’t until sulphur interacts with carbon that life is imparted to carbon chemistry.

[3] This biochemical sequence of sulphur, boron, silicon, calcium, nitrogen, magnesium, phosphorous, carbon and potassium is the basis of plant growth.

[4] (Casuarina equisetifolia, C. cunninghamiana, etc.).

[5] (Allocasuarina luehmannii, A. torulosa, etc.).

[6] (Equisetum arvense, E. hyemale etc.).

[7] This refers to rhythmic shaking (aka succussion) or stirring (potentization) where the creation of a series of alternating left and right vortexes are involved.

[8] Caution: When using this formula in foliar applications, it may be appropriate to dilute the boron tenfold. Used sparingly in foliar and fertigation programs this combination considerably strengthens the silica containment and transport features of everything in the market garden, orchard, vineyard or nursery.

[9] Be careful about overusing this formula. Even on high organic matter soils, which greatly buffer the effects, eight or ten times in a growing season should be ample. A rule of thumb in agriculture is that if a little bit is good a little bit less more frequently is better.

[10] The most common sulphur containing fertiliser is calcium sulphate, otherwise known as gypsum.

[11] Syntropy is where available energy accumulates instead of dispersing as occurs with entropy. For more than a century it was fashionable to believe that all heat driven systems invariably ran down. Entropy was enshrined in what was called ‘The Second Law of Thermodynamics’. However, living organisms quite obviously both accumulate and disperse available energy. Thus they concentrate a stream of order on themselves and grow, even while running down. Only at death does entropy rule.

[12] At 90% evaporation most of the sodium chloride precipitates and the remaining pot liquor contains all the other elements in solution in the sea. Many of the functions of these elements are unknown, even though such elements as fluorine and caesium, which are abundant in sea water, are promising subjects for research. It is this pot liquor that is referred to as sea minerals. Although beneficial results are often easily seen, the mechanisms at work are too complex to be clear.

[13] A large amount of information on this subject can be found by googling ORMEs and Barry Carter.

 

H