BioFertilizer Recipe #1

| Biofertilizer, Permaculture Techniques | comments | Author :
BioFertilizer all sealed up and ready to go...

We’ve brewed up our very first batch of BioFertilizer at Milkwood! Our carefully collected, simple ingredients are all in a big vat next to the woolshed, fermenting merrily. In two months time, we should have 200 liters of concentrated fertility, ready to dilute and spread across Milkwood’s creekflat and ridge. Fingers crossed.

BioFertilizer is really a catch-all term for any liquid fertilizer that is good for your soil and which isn’t manufactured by a chemical company. We’re already working with compost tea at Milkwood to heal and build our fragile soils, and now we’re on to BioFertilizer recipes – another tool in our amoury to regenerate this landscape of ours.

Nick and our interns discussing the beauty of BioFert

This particular recipe was passed on to us by Eugenio Gras of COAS in Mexico. Eugenio specializes in campesina agriculture – ie simple, effective, regenerative techniques that create good soil, healthy land, and good, clean food. The ingredients for this BioFertilizer were super simple, completely non-toxic and readily available. The result, we’re told, is a super-fertile brew which we can then dilute and spray across various plantings on Milkwood.

Eugenio and his crew have developed many different recipes for BioFertilizer ranging from simple to complex, all with different applications – we decided to start simple. This recipe is about as simple as it gets, was fun to make and will yield a great brew. This particular recipe is a foliar fermented fertilizer, rich in enzymes and minerals (read: intended to be sprayed onto leaf growth, very good for plants).

adding the molasses

The ingredients and the equipment are all readily available, and as long as you understand the point of the ingredients’ inclusion, you can potentially substitute where necessary if needs be. This is campesina technology at its best…

drilling a hole for the airlock reservoir
airlock ready to go on the barrel
Andrew + Adam add the fresh manure!
adding the yeasty mix to the main drum
Air lock screwed tight to the drum (note bottle wired to wall upright and contains water)
The Secret ingredient! Adam's sourdough culture
and so we wait...

So now our brew is fermenting quietly, in readiness for Eugenio’s visit to our farm at the end of this month. It won’t quite be ready by the time he gets here but it will be an example of happily farting biofetilizer-in-the-making. Stay tuned for our next biofert making foray which involves cow bones, rice husks and a very hot fire.

If you’re interested for seeing Eugenio’s processes in action (along with him giving his apparently gob-smacking lectures on campesina technology and regenerative agriculture), feel free to join us at our farm at the end of this month at the Compost Tea and BioFertilizer course we’re running: details here.


And other resources:

Lastly, we’ll have to wait till Eugenio gets here before we can ask him, and therefore share with you, the particulars of what this brew creates in terms of nutrients, minerals and enzymes… I’ll add a note to this post once we get those answers.

In the meantime, I’m off to source the ingredients for the next brew. And have a rocket powered shower so i don’t smell quite so much like BioFertiliser.

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See the comments

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22 responses to “BioFertilizer Recipe #1

  1. Excellent info.

    I have been doing compost teas.

    As a home beer brewer I am very excited to start a batch for my plants too.

  2. I have been compost tea brewing after Paul’s workshop last in Mudgee year. I would be interested on thoughts of spreading biofert and tea at same time – ie putting in a couple of litres of biefert with the tea brew for pasture spraying.
    I would think they should compliment one another – but keen on others thoughts

  3. Hi,

    We did a biofertilser brew recently..the result after 2 months smelt like cow manure and was green and not clear…wonder what went wrong? Any thoughts? Maybe not brewed long enough..its been warm up here in north queensland..above 30C days…

    1. HI Trevor, The same applies to this as to brewing cider, there is a temp range that the yeast likes. Maybe try to make a sour dough yeast that is local for you and it willhandle the higher temps better. Cheers Iestyn

  4. Dear sir..

    I did a biofertilser formular 01..the result after 2 months smelt like cow manure and was dark green and not clear…
    Please guide how to fix it and add more components to be correct fertilizer formula 01.

    Sincerely, looking forward to guide

    Hung_VietNam! ([email protected])

  5. im sure that there would be no issue using the tea as part of the liquid used to dilute the biofert, maybe 3:1 or 4:1 parts water to compost tea to dilute the biofert to 20:1 as compost teas are generally very mild and difficult to harm plants on their own in my experience, of course that depends on whether or not they have a high nutrient uptake.

  6. yeah sorry i didnt finish reading your comment. i agree, i dont see how it could hurt, but work the biofert in slowly till you know how much they can take.

  7. used horse manure soaked with urine, i read that the ammonia from the urea will ferment to a higher nitrogen content, but its been a month so far and its a nice golden colour with a layer of greyish/white mold ontop, but it just stinks like horsepiss, any thoughts?

  8. I am a little concerned that nobody seems to be addressing just what those ‘farts” are. If they are methane which seems highly likely, then I am very disappointed that there isn’t any attempt to capture the gas instead of just voiding it into the air. Methane is highly problematical to simply exhaust if you are trying to promote healthy air AND it is very useful.

    Why not capture it in an inner tube or some such as did Jean Pain with his compost heaps years ago? Or Alan Bates with his chicken manure methane run car back in the 60’s.?

    Milkwood seems to be doing some very good things..but I think everyone seems to be missing the boat here or is there something I don’t know?

  9. A couple of questions???
    How long is it good for providing you do not allow air in to the barrel?
    Is there a special tap that you can use to drain the liquid without allowing air back in?

    If not how long will it last once air in allowed inside?


    P.S Sorry I couldn’t make the spring PDC lots of things happened all at once making it impossible. I am going to PRI in January.

  10. I have found that mixing 200 lts of soil pro-biotic (specialist compost tea) with 50 lts of bio fert and 850 lts of water in the spray tank is an exceptional way to apply the system, it all starts with very good compost (bio-vital) and ends in very good results…thanks Milkwood…

  11. I just checked out the mix and noted that it says 50 litres of water in the milk/yeast mix…it’s obviously not 50litres so my guess is that it’s 5?

  12. Hi there, I am wondering if the bio-fert once applied by foliar feed spray attracts or deters rabbits? sheep? cows? or even deer?

  13. Can you make a 100 litre batch by simply halving all the inputs or is the 200 litre mass important for the brewing process?

    1. yeah sorry about that – we actually were asked to remove those details from this post by the Mas Humus crew, as they prefer that info to be given from person to person, rather than via the internet!

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