By Zac B. Sarian

A chemical engineer who calls himself an innovator has come up with a cocktail of plant growth stimulants that has been proven to produce high yields in various crops. The fellow is Caysing Tan, 76, who has been doing his own research and experiments in his four-hectare farm in Cavite.

He used to be in the electronics business, but the financial crisis in 1997 forced him to shift business. He then went into the distribution of farm machinery and equipment, addressing the needs of smallholder farmers. He also conducted research on how to lower the cost of fertilizing different crops, including vegetables, fruit trees, rice, corn, and many more.

Today, he is ready to share to the farming community a cocktail of three concoctions of plant growth stimulants that he started using in his farm as early as ten years ago. His BioNature Cocktail consists of SW++, BM10, and Wood Vinegar.

SW++ is a special formulation of seaweed extract specially obtained to maximize its beneficial properties that contain several natural plant growth hormones, enriched with beneficial microbes, and special micronutrients. BM10, on the other hand, is composed of special types of beneficial microbes that produce a “nitrogen-fixing bacteria” effect. It breaks down the nutrients in the soil for easy absorption by the plants, enabling the farmer to save on fertilizers. In addition, it makes compacted soils softer so that oxygen becomes more available to the roots. This makes the plants more resistant to drought.

Wood Vinegar, the third component of the cocktail, is an old technology widely used in agriculture in Japan and in a limited way in the Philippines. It is an organic substance that contains natural plant growth hormones and serves as natural repellent of pests and disease organisms.

Each of the formulations can be applied to the plants singly or not in combination with the two others. This will result in good crop stand and good yield. However, the result is much better if the three are applied as a cocktail, sprayed on the leaves and in the soil.

The use of the cocktail is economical. In a knapsack sprayer containing 16 liters, only 50 ml of each formulation is mixed with the water. A syringe may be used to make an accurate amount added to the water in the sprayer. For a home gardener who just needs one liter to spray his plants, only 3.2 ml of each formulation is added to the water.

Some of his observations: Caysing has been growing sweet corn for several years now using his BioNature cocktail without applying any chemical fertilizer and insecticides. His sweet corn ears grow big and undamaged by pests.

Young eggplants that were dying due to pest and disease were supposed to be uprooted. However, when they were sprayed with the cocktail, they were revived and eventually bore a lot of fruits. Eggplants that were infested with stemborer were likewise revived and became productive after they were sprayed with BioNature cocktail.

Sitao or string beans sprayed with BioNature cocktail were so productive, they had to be harvested every day instead of every two days. The fruits were big and plump.

French beans produced bigger pods and the harvest period was extended. The harvest was doubled.

In lettuce, the result was dramatic. When sprayed with the cocktail, seven plants weighed one kilo. On the other hand, 12 to 13 plants were needed to make a kilo in the case of the unsprayed lettuce. During the hot summer, it is difficult to produce lettuce in the lowland. But when sprayed with BioNature, the plants grow well, although slower than during the cool months.

In Pechay and Bok Choi, the plants were bigger, more succulent and were harvested earlier.

Dying tomatoes nearing the end of their productive life were sprayed with BioNature. Guess what? New shoots developed and the plants became fruitful again.

Old upo plants were dying after reaching the end of their usual productive life. When sprayed with BioNature, the plants produced new growth and bore even bigger fruits. In the case of hot chili, the plants continuously produced new flowers and bore bigger fruits.

Orchids like cattleya and other species that were not flowering began to bloom after being sprayed with BioNature in one to three weeks.

BioNature also works wonders in rice. The plants sprayed became more robust and were harvested earlier by one to two weeks. Rice bugs, golden snail infestations were minimized and presence of rat was not observed. The yield, especially in compacted and acidic soils, were more than doubled. The farmers saved at least 50% in the use of chemical fertilizer. The harvested grains were fully filled and were heavier. Milling recovery was also higher at 32 kilos of rice per 50 kilos of palay. With the unsprayed rice, the usual recovery was only 27 to 28 kilos per 50 kilos of palay.