This week in the Flog:
- Part 2 of my 3-part bloom recipe series
- Showing what we do with the leftovers
- Photos to go with the recipe!
This week we’re covering the second part of the bloom fermentation recipe that I started last week. In case you missed it, you can catch up very quickly, it’s called How to Make Bloom Fertilizer. It’s really fun to make your own fertilizer, and even more fun when you understand the principles and can improvise on the classic recipe. That is what this week is about. Once again in case you missed last week’s you can catch up here.
After fermenting last week, we have solid fruit bits that are left over. They are super soft, and super infected with all kinds of great microbes. This would be ideal to go into the compost pile. But you know what, I think there are some great nutrients left in them, the solids still look pretty intact. They’re just ready to be super mashed at this point, after 14 days of fermentation. I want to really get everything out of these – let’s ferment again! This is a very simple way to modify your recipes to greater effect – multiple rounds of fermentation. Just keep the principles in mind – read on.
So we’re going to ferment again, round 2, to extract the most possible nutrients for our bloom fertilizer. Good enzymes, hormones, nutrients, the whole package. But the microbes have consumed much if not all the sugar in the first round of fermentation. So we need to add more sugar!
How much sugar should we add this round of fermentation? The answer is: more than last time, relative to the base materials to be fermented. For several reasons. In fermentation, sugar is converted to gas and acidic compounds that act on substrates to liberate compounds that were otherwise locked up. If you add more sugar, you should get more acidity and more compounds liberated. Basically a “stronger” brew. Also, since the first round already extracted nutrients, we’re trying to get the stuff we didn’t get in the first round. Lastly, since the materials have been softened already, they can really be mashed up now. We’re going to mash the solids up really well – all that surface area means the microbes and byproducts of fermentation have access to more substrate on which to act – we’ll make a strong brew to take advantage of that. Let’s get started.
First, picking up where we left off, we have the solids left over from fermentation round 1. You can see they are pretty intact still. They are very recognizable. However the picture is deceptive, they are extremely soft, even the peels.
Time to add the sugar. I’m using 800gm of sugar – almost the same amount I used the first round of fermentation, even though there is quite a bit less solid material. You could add even more sugar to this second round of fermentation, but I had about 800gm handy so that’s what I used. Here the sugar is added to the bucket:
Time to mash everything up! I’m not adding water this time, since I want to make a stronger brew. There is still quite a bit of moisture in the substrate and that works just fine. Mashing at this point, after 14 days of fermentation, is incredibly effective. Look at the results of a few minutes mashing with a pvc pipe:
Once again, the plastic bag goes on top of the fermenting mixture, and the bucket is closed. In this pic you can see the fermenting mixture is much less than it was the first round of fermentation (you can see the shadow on the inside of the bucket where the mixture is settled on bottom).
Fast forward 1 month. I left it longer, because I wanted to give it ample time to ferment thoroughly. I could have left it even longer, there’s no limit on that really. But for a round 2 fermentation, at the very least leave it 1 month to allow it to ferment well.
Time to check out how the fermentation went. Here is the bucket after removing the lid and lifting the plastic. You can see it looks similar to a month ago, but a bit darker and more monochrome. It doesn’t look like much but the smell is awesome – like fruit wine or vinegar.
I’m using a funnel, and a glass collection bottle for this fermentation. Coincidentally it’s an old BSP bottle that’s now empty; don’t even have to re-label it, haha.
Using the same technique I used before, I used the mesh netting to hold the solids and squeeze all the juice out of this fermentation.
It just so happens I got the perfect amount of fluid out to fill the 500ml bottle. So I have a nice 500ml bottle of excellent bloom and fruiting fertilizer. It smells amazing and will be great for helping the plants bloom and fruit. I can’t wait to use it on the garden!
But there are still leftover solids! Once again these would be perfect for the compost pile. I could also add sugar and ferment them again. But they’re really well mashed and fermented, I’ll just use them in the compost pile.
Here’s another twist though. Instead of just adding this leftover to my main compost pile, I want to make some separate “bloom compost”. Some compost with a heavy amount of fruit parts in it that will be really good for my blooming plants. The solids from this Part 2 fermentation will be great for that.
I got some compost out of my main pile and added it to the bucket. Next the solids remaining from fermentation go into the bucket:
This gets mixed really well. At this point, it should be dumped somewhere and let sit for a month or so to compost down. I don’t really have space for that so it’ll have to sit in the bucket. Less than ideal but it’ll work.
Stay tuned for Part 3 of this series – using the liquid bloom fertilizer and bloom compost! That is going to be awesome!
See how you can use the techniques we cover on the site and modify the recipes to suit your needs? It is so much fun once you have the principles down, to play around with our recipes and make your own types of fertilizer. It’s also liberating to get away from costly, environmentally UNfriendly, toxic chemical-based store bought fertilizers. Grow your own vegetables sustainably, responsibly, and safely using these great techniques.
Keep on growing!