How to Make Bloom Fertilizer [Part 2]

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.

Make Fertilizer - Fermented Fruits

These fermented fruits are partly digested already from the first round of fermentation. They are going to be great in this round.

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:

Make Fertilizer - Add Sugar

Add a lot of sugar for this round of fermentation. We want a nice strong ferment.

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:

Make Fertilizer - Mash Thoroughly

Mash up the sugar and fruits very well to enhance fermentation. The fruits are very soft now, even the peels, so they mash very well.

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).

Make Fertilizer - Ferment Round 2

Now the bucket sits for a month while it ferments for the second time. Notice I left it longer this time – that’s so it ferments more completely.

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.

Make Fertilizer - After Fermenting

After this round of fermentation the ingredients look a bit darker and more monochrome – smells like fruit wine or vinegar. Very pleasant aroma.

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.

Make Fertilizer - Store Fertilizer

Now I’m going to strain off the liquid and store it in my glass fertilizer container. It will store nicely since it’s well fermented.

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.

Make Fertilizer - Sqeezing the Juice

You can see I use a mesh to squeeze the juice out of the fermenting materials. The juice is beautiful natural fertilizer.

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:

Make Fertilizer - Leftover Solids

The solids leftover after this round can finally go in the compost pile. I separated out some compost just for this, I’m making “bloom compost”!

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.

Make Fertilizer - Bloom Compost

Here is the mixed up “bloom compost”. It will sit for a month or so and compost down and then I’ll use it.

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! :)

  • jim triplett

    really enjoy your newsletters. here in minnesota i suppose i should use my own vegetables to make the Bloom fertilizer? are you then foliar feeding the Bloom fertilizer on your fruit plants, that the fruit came from? or on vegetable plants also?
    thanks
    jim

    • Patrick

      Hi Jim,

      Great, glad you’re enjoying the newsletters! sorry it’s taken so long to get back regarding this post.. Yeah, using your own veggies is best but you can use store-bought. You can and will use the bloom fertilizer on your veggies, it’s great. However ideally, you would ferment each plant, in the desired life stage, to be used for that species in the future. E.g. you would ferment ripening tomatoes to later foliar feed your tomato plants when they have fruit ripening.

      Cheers,
      Patrick

  • David Harvey

    I really appreciate the informative e-mails that you send me. I am Putting your techniques to good use on my small farm. I believe the greatest benefit I’ve found has been sharing these practices with my children and enjoying quality time with them as their interest in their farm blossoms profoundly. What a treasure you are giving us. Thank You, David Harvey.

    • Patrick

      David,

      I want to post your comment on our Homepage in huge bold capital letters… I have a 1 year old, at the end of the day all this is for them (kids, family). For me gardening has always been about family time first, then healthy living, environmental stewardship, all the other great things that go along with it.

      While I don’t want to alienate those without families (nothing alienates a young 20-something more than talking about your kids, lol), I will be highlighting this aspect of natural farming more.

      I appreciate your feedback, thank you for the kind words and I hope you continue enjoying our site with your family.

      Patrick

  • Henry

    Nice job Patrick. Looks like you have been a busy Beaver lately. Haven’t had a chance to post as much as I will like, been traveling so much I feel that I should rotate my feet. I will get to every dispatch from your site sooner or later.

    Speaking of Bloom, I pulverize the fruit, by adding a little of the water I plan on using for the batch in a food processor to the point where it’s almost liquid. The fermentation after a month or so turns it all to liquid. I guess experimentation got me here.

    Cheers my friend!!

    • Patrick

      Hey Henry good to hear from you – Yeah, super busy lately, as evidenced by how long it’s taken me to reply here!

      Thanks for your input, that’s great methodology for those reading to learn from.

      Cheers,
      Patrick

  • Nebula

    Great stuf!!Me allready made some banana fermentation mash and was wondering is it ok to put the sugar in mix.So me search on the net,and find you!!Wow,this is great,thanks a lot!!Now me have big 5 litre bottle full of this fruit mix,love so much wach it bubble!!This is right way to go,me so happy with you share this knowlege to people :-)

    • Patrick

      Nebula,

      Thanks for the good feedback! Glad you’re enjoying the site! Yep, bananas should work great! Also use carrots if you can, along with more fruits.

      Anyway glad you’re enjoying the site, keep on reading. :)
      Patrick

  • Simple but detailed step by step process with good photos. I will try to do the same to use my own vegetables for making the bloom fertilizer. Thank you!

    • Patrick

      Glad you enjoyed it! I love making the bloom fertilizer, it’s a fun one.

  • Nathan

    Can the fermentation process be sped up by using an aquarium pump?
    Down side being the process will be aerobic shortening its life line, meaning it has to be used or kept bubbling until used?
    These are all assumptions of mine, confirmation would be great,
    Thanks Nathan.

    • Patrick

      Hi Nathan,

      Not really, aerobic and anaerobic are different processes and don’t mix very well in this scenario. You can speed up the fermentation process by heating the ingredients, and by swirling them a bit(as long as you don’t introduce any oxygen! e.g. shake a sealed jug to mix the ingredients or something).

      Cheers,
      Patrick

  • ninnia

    thank you for the very informative page sir Patrick.such a great help for our thesis. am currently a student in a provincial stateU in the philippines. can i adopt some of the details here?thank you po :)

    • Patrick

      Sure, just cite our website as reference. Glad you’re enjoying it!

  • Dan

    Hi Patrick,

    What great info, I’m off to the grocery store to get the needed supplies. I started using worm tea this year, and WOW how that has improved my garden thus far. Hoping this blooming fert will enhance it further!

    Here is my plan

    equal parts banana,squash ( 1 full squash and maybe 3 to 4 bananas)
    1 apple
    Handful of fresh peas in pod
    handful of yellow beans picked fresh from the garden
    2 small carrots

    once all chopped up and mashed, I’ll weigh the veg mix and add 1 third of that weight in brown sugar.

    Sit in air tight container for 10 to 14 days.

    Any feedback on my plan would be greatly appreciated!

    Thanks for sharing and making this available.

    Cheers!
    Dan

    • Dan

      Bummer….I think I messed up….i used tap water….should i start over?

      • Patrick

        Yeah if the tap water was chlorinated it might keep it from starting fermentation correctly.

        Sorry late reply, hope it worked out for you.

        Cheers
        Patrick

    • Patrick

      Hey Dan, sorry for the late reply, thanks for joining us and I’m glad you’re enjoying the stuff!

      Your plan sounds excellent so I hope you carried it out! Let us know how it goes!

      Cheers,
      Patrick

  • Mandar Pradhan

    Hi Patrick,

    Thanks for the wonderful site! I tried the second round of fermentation for about a month and half . The liquid obtain is smelling sweet and alcoholic…However in this liquid no gas is being generated even after 3-4 days.Is it ok or there is something wrong?
    regards,
    Mandar

    • Patrick

      Hi Mandar, great to have you! Nope that is just fine. It means you waited long enough, and fermentation is complete. It won’t ferment more unless you add more sugar+water. You have a nice stable bloom fertilizer for your plants! Just keep it in a sealed container and you should be good to go!

      Cheers,
      Patrick

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