BY VINA MEDENILLA
Due to the pandemic, the public has become more health-conscious, making the naturally-grown products highly in demand over the past year.
For this reason, more growers nowadays have also been looking for natural inputs that are safe for the people and the environment.
One of their go-tos is natural fertilizers like fermented fruit juice and vermitea. These two can be easily processed by gardeners and farmers at home.
If you haven’t made the switch just yet, here’s the procedure to make concoctions using plants and other natural ingredients.
Worm tea, or vermitea, is an organic liquid fertilizer that helps with the growth of beneficial microorganisms in the soil. It is also effective in fending off pests or diseases.
Things you will need to make this fertilizer are eight liters of water, a kilo of vermicast, a kilo of molasses, plastic wrap, scissors, marker, masking tape, and plastic straw rope.
Once everything is all set, begin by mixing the vermicast and molasses in the bucket of water. Mix them thoroughly. Then cover the container with plastic wrap and tie the plastic straw rope around the bucket to ferment it.
Using the marker and masking tape, label the fertilizer and indicate the date of production and the date of opening or harvest.
Store it in a clean, cool, and dark spot for three days. When it’s ready, you can now use the vermitea in the garden. Just mix 125ml of the worm tea into a liter of water, then spray it to the plants twice or thrice a week.
Fermented plant juice (FPJ)
Fermented plant juice (FPJ) is another fertilizer that enhances the condition of the soil, and so are the crops growing in it.
To create FPJ, prepare two kilos of kangkong, a plastic container, a mixing bowl, a kilo of brown sugar, manila paper, scissors, marker, masking tape, and plastic straw rope.
First, chop the spinach or kangkong into pieces that are about one inch in size. Transfer the sliced kangkong leaves to a bowl and add one kilo of brown sugar. Mix them well until evenly distributed. Put the mixture into the plastic container afterward.
Put a net or mesh on top and add rocks or anything that can hold the leaves down. Next, cover the container with clean manila paper and tie it using a plastic straw.
Put a label on the container with the necessary information, including the type of fertilizer, date of production, and date of harvest.
Secure the container and ferment it in a cool, shady area for seven days.
For application, mix two tablespoons of FPJ in every liter of water and spray it on the plants every 10 days for best results.
These two natural fertilizers both promote plant growth. Not only can they deliver good results, but can also help gardeners save up on store-bought, synthetic fertilizer that can harm the garden, the grower, and the consumers.
Watch the videos about fermented plant juice and vermitea on ATI or Agriculture Online’s Facebook page.
The procedures were demonstrated in the AgriTalk’s 2 Easy Learning Video Series that presents instructional guides on organic fertilizers and pesticides, urban agriculture technologies, and the production of fast crops. The video series is held in partnership with the Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Training Center (DA-ATI) and Manila Bulletin’s Agriculture Online.