I harvested a bunch of fresh nettle and comfrey leaves about a month ago from my friends house. I'd been wanting to try this technique for a while so jumped at the oppurtunity. I chopped up about a body pillow worth of fresh plant matter, probably about 65/35 nettle/comfrey by volume. This i covered with water to fill a 55 gallon barrel. It has sat, covered, in an area that receives partial direct sun for just over a month now and gotten sufficiently stinky. All of the plant matter has sunk to the bottom but there are now these floaties waiting for me. Is this common? Is it a problem?
I ended up straining off the top layer including these two and any other smaller floaties as well as a general slime. Then I drained off some liquid to proceed with my plan to aerate this liquid for several days and use it as a foliar spray to encourage my leafys to leafy.
In the fermenting world that is called the mother. Mother is the actual yeast and bacteria that do the fermenting and it is and should be nurtured and cared for because it will last a very long time and give you many ferments.
Bryant RedHawk wrote:In the fermenting world that is called the mother. Mother is the actual yeast and bacteria that do the fermenting and it is and should be nurtured and cared for because it will last a very long time and give you many ferments.
That makes perfect sense, I can't believe that didn't occur to me. Now I wish that I had set it aside but it's good to know that it's also a healthy ferment. While I've got you here what do you think of the rest of my plan? It is bubbling now and I am planning to add a brew bag with some worm castings and frass tomorrow and then let it bubble for another day or so. Thinking to use my nose as the barometer of readiness. Once it goes from that fairly rancid/sewage aroma to the cleaner sweeter smelling aromas of good tea I will pull the bag out and spray it undiluted (back and forth on whether to dilute it or not) on the young transplants and some perenials that are still vegetative.
I will add that I just poked my head in and the ferment is already smelling good and is full of foam (20~ gallons of liquid in a 32 gallon can, now there is foam pushing up against the top, 2 hours later.)
I use ferments as additives to compost, I don't use them directly on plants, it is a personal preference that is based on removal of ciliates and other parasitic organisms that can be found in anaerobic preparations.
If I was to use a ferment directly on plants I would first aerate it for around 24 hours to limit the numbers of parasitic and detrimental organisms present in the solution.
I would also probably dilute it at least 1:1
Angelika Maier wrote:What is the advantage of fermenting first and then bubble air into it rather than starting to bubble right away?
I have no real idea, this was totally just a sort of whim thing to try something I'd heard of and was somewhat curious about. One thing is that there's some kind of extraction that seems to happen over the month, and it didn't require any power. I think part of the idea is that the ferment creates bioavailable minerals and such? then the aerating reduces the presence of any unfriendly microbes?