CalPhos

This is an awesome product you can make from ingredients found in your kitchen. It is a nutrient solution for plants just entering the flowering cycle. There is an overlapping activity of Phosporous and Potassium during flowering. In natural farming, we apply calphos before the flower initiation to support the eventual fruit. In simplistic terms, we use Phosphorous to address the root system, which will enable the plant to access better water and nutrients from the soil to support the critical changeover as manifested by flower initiation. We use Calcium to strengthen the plant in preparation for heavy flowers/fruits. Thus, natural farming emphasizes Phosphorus and Calcium during the changeover period from growing to flowering/fruiting, and this provides for that need.


***For an illustrated example of this recipe, check out the farm log here. The flog has all kinds of good stuff, sign up to get the updates via email!***

How to Make

  1. Collect a bunch of eggshells and wash to remove inside filaments. Remember, you can also use bones and other good sources of calcium like seashells, clams and oysters, etc. Likewise, if you only want calcium, even limestone can be used, or simple lime.
  2. Pan fry the eggshells. Fry until some are brown/black, some white. The burnt shells are your Calcium source while the white are the Phosphorus source.
  3. After roasting the eggshells, grind them up. You can do it manually, with a mortar and pestle, throw them in a blender or electric coffee grinder, etc.
  4. Add them to a jar and add 5 parts vinegar by volume. For example, if you have 1 cup ground shells, add 5 cups vinegar.
    • The acid in the vinegar helps digest them. You will notice bubbling as this process converts the ingredients to liquid calcium phosphate.
  5. Wait until tiny bubbles disappear
  6. Seal the jar and ferment for 20 days.
  7. Filter into another jar
  8. Now youโ€™ve made your own Calcium Phosphate


How to Use

Mix 1tbsp per gallon

Plants

  • spray on leaves during transition phase to flower, and when fruits are large and mature
    • Transition Phase: Induces flowering, eases nutrient demands of transition phase, strengthens flowers
    • Mature Fruit: Strengthens plant stems, leaves, fruits, helps fruit mature properly for optimum sweet flavor!

Animals:

  • Feed to animals during breeding time and during pregnancy. Helps breeding efficacy and litter success rates. Woohoo!

  • Adelaide

    Hello there, just became aware of your blog through Google, and found that itโ€™s truly informative. Iโ€™ll be grateful if you continue this in future. A lot of people will be benefited from your writing. Cheers!

  • Matthew E.

    Hi Gil and Patrick…Can I use organic unpasteurized apple cider vinegar at the 1:5 ratio? It has a 5% acid ratio also. Thank you, Matthew.

    • Patrick

      Hi Matthew,

      Great question – yes for sure apple cider vinegar would work. In fact any acid should work as this is an acid-base reaction. The vinegar I use is 4.5% acid ratio, 5% would work great also. I like the idea of ACV since it has lots of other beneficial ingredients in it along with the acidity.

      Cheers,
      Patrick

  • Edward

    hi ,thank you for the great info , in the recipe when we seal the jar and ferment 20 days ,we have to use something else to make the fermentation starts ?
    greetings
    Edward

    • Patrick

      No, I think this is less a microbial fermentation reaction than a chemical reaction, although we use the term “ferment” there. You are allowing it time for the acid to work on the compounds in the roasted shells, extracting your final product, calphos. Shouldn’t require anything to get it started.

  • Jim R.

    Can I use crab meal? Should I use the same method and pan fry the crab meal? I like the idea of using apple cider vinegar also. Thank you, Jim R.

    • Patrick

      Great question Jim…you definitely can use crab meal, it should have a decent amount of calcium in it. Just use it like you would any other calcium source. In fact I have some crab shells from a crab feast the other day that are outside in the roach bin getting ‘cleaned’ now.

      Now, crab shells are full of chitin, which is an awesome compound in its bio available form – chitosan. You know I started writing a whole post on how to make your own chitosan but its a little tricky. Chitin is bonded with an acetyl group which needs to be ripped off by a strong base plus heat to make chitosan. Strong base as in 40% NaOH, pretty hardcore stuff it will burn you on contact. Boiling a 40% NaOH solution for 4-5hrs is a little beyond a simple at-home project, and being in a little apartment I don’t have an outdoor burner to test with.

      Anyway, using crab meal will be great, and whatever chitin makes it into the soil/leaves will eventually break down into bio available forms. As always, using BIM or compost tea will greatly accelerate this process..

      Have fun! Cheers,
      Patrick

      • please link me to this.
        I have NaOH, KOH, etc, as well as safety gear(always wear glo0ves and apron when working with lye, aka NaOH, aka sodium hydroxide) chickens that are beyond organic, bags of crab meal, etc, as well as lab gear(i make cannabis medicines for pain and cancer patients)
        i promise if you link me to it, i will do it and make a photographic essay…and maybee even other things on this site>
        love yall and thanks for your info
        namaste

        • Patrick

          Hey lonely newman!

          Sure, I will send you the recipe. Keep in mind this is our first premium product, which we will be charging for when we release it to the public. For now it still needs some testing. You can be part of that effort, I’ll send you the recipe and then we can discuss via email. I’ll email you in a little bit.

          Cheers,
          Patrick

  • sandy mccormick

    hi, got a question for you…we sprayed a mixture of baking soda,dish detergent and water on our tomato plants…the next day we sprayed them with liquid calcium ( we sprayed in the evening ) the next day the leaves were black and curled up…i think there was a chemical reaction…my husband thinks it was a fungus…what is your opinion( you seem to know a lot about gardening… any info will help..the reason we sprayed baking soda mixture was for fungus and the calcium was for end rot…help sandy

    • Patrick

      Well, too strong a mixture of any of those ingredients is a bad thing, so first make sure they are very diluted. If the liquid calcium is the Calphos recipe from this site, then yes it would probably react with the baking soda, although I don’t know how much reaction there would be if it were properly diluted. Just a few guidelines that might help – make sure you dilute active ingredients a lot, and make sure you hose down the plants between applications so you don’t run the risk of things reacting. So, you might spray with the first treatment, wait a few days and then spray with clean water for a few days. Then after that spray with the second treatment. That should help. You might have trouble saving the tomato plants now but at least there’s some tips for next time.

  • sandy mccormick

    thanks for the info…helped a lot sandy

  • curious

    >>> The burnt shells are your Calcium source while the white are the Phosphorus source. >>>

    Where is the phosphorus coming from? Are there race amounts in the eggshell? I thought eggshells were almost all calcium carbonate.

  • curious

    ^^^ “trace” not “race” amounts

    • Patrick

      There is some phosphorus in egg shells, although they are about 95% calcium carbonate. I should probably amend this recipe since egg shells are much lower in phosphorus than other common sources you’d use, bones for example.

  • For preparing calphos you mentioned to use vinegar. Is it OK if we use Hydrocloric Acid (HCL) instead of vinegar. Please reply.

    • Patrick

      Yep for sure Ashok no problem. You can use any acid. HCl would work great, probably even better than vinegar since it will most likely be (depending on dilution) more acidic.

  • Jay

    Big error here…baking soda will NOT provide calcium…there isn’t any in it. It will dissociate into sodium and bicarbonate in solution, which is not what you want if you want supplemental calcium!

    • Patrick

      Thanks Jay, that’s a good call not sure how that got on there I’ll remove it now.

  • Travis Schulert

    In general, how long does the CalPhos bubble before you can cap it? When I tap on the jar even 24 hours later I still see bubbles coming up to the surface.

    • Patrick

      Hard to say it depends on exactly your solution-substrate ratio, but I think a few days would do it in most cases. I usually cap it the same day then just crack the seal periodically to let the buildup out.

  • Hi Patrick, can white vinegar be used instead of ACV ? Thanks n
    Blessed Christmas

    • Patrick

      Oh yeah for sure – anything acidic will work great!

  • Phil Bradshaw

    Hi Patrick,
    I’ve at last gathered together enough egg-shells, plus a few mussel shells, to make my first batch of calphos. But, instead of using vinegar, as in your recipe, I intend to use a dilute solution of phosphoric acid.
    The acid is very viscous and concentrated, & I have added 20 mils to 1 litre of (rain) water. Do you think this will be strong enough to perform the extraction, & should I dilute the end product more than your recommended 1 tbl spoon per gallon? (4.5 litrs) Given the higher concentration of phosphorous?
    My thinking is, that by using phosphoric acid, which I have had lying around for ages, that this will increase the value of phosphorus in the end solution. Do you think this will have a beneficial effect, or not?

    Phil B.

    • Patrick

      Hi Phil,

      That’s a great idea using phosphoric acid. It should combine with the calcium carbonate to form calcium phosphate, thereby being a secondary source of that molecule.

      But yes, you will have to dilute much more than 1tbsp/gal. I would start with .25tsp or something. That 20ml phosphoric acid solution is maybe around a bit less than 0.2M solution which will be extremely acidic (a 0.1M solution has pH around 1.5). It should be excellent for extraction! The acidity will really bring out the Calcium carbonate. You might test the acidity of the final solution when you’ve added .25tsp of your calphos to a gallon of water, and go from there.

      Hope this helps, sorry I’m a little late getting back to you.

      Cheers,
      Patrick

      • Phil Bradshaw

        Hi Patrick,
        My table-spoon measures 12mls, so that would be 3mls per gallon at your suggested dilution of .25tbls per gallon.(4.5ltrs?)This seems like very little? almost an homeopathic dilution! 1-1500? But, as I’ve never used it before, & have no knowledge of the power of this stuff, I will take your advice.
        Anyway..the calphos will be ready, on the 20th,& I’ll make up a batch to the original recipe, and check both the pH & the cf. Then make a batch to your suggested amendment, and re-check.
        Should I use the end product as a spray, or could the dilution rate suggested, be safe to use in the nutrient tank in a hydroponic situation? Will it be safe to use this way? Or should it just be applied as a foliar feed?
        There’s absolutely no need to apologise over the “late” reply! You must have many inquiries to reply to, & my concoction hasn’t finished it’s extraction time yet anyway. Many thanks for your help Patrick. I’ll post the results of the above tests, as & when.
        Regards.
        Phil B.
        P.S “Happy New Year”!

        • Patrick

          Hi Phil,

          That’s great you’re testing in various quantities! I was hoping you’d try that. If you can test the pH after you add 1/4tbsp vs 1tbsp that would be great. I just wanted to play it safe since I think that stuff will be quite acidic.

          I think it would work fine in the hydro situation as long as 1) the pH isn’t too low and 2) you strain all the solids out so it doesn’t clog anything if ever..

          If you didn’t test it I’d say stick to the foliar feed to be safe, but since you can test it, play around with it and let us know how it goes! Just use this like the first week or two of flower, or when you start seeing buds forming. It’s really for that changeover period (grow-bloom), meant to help the changeover immensely.

          Cheers,
          Patrick

  • Ricardo

    Hi there, I have a doubt. In the recipe Gil says egg shells, but then, when responding to “curious” you said eggshells are no good, using bones would be better, and that the recipe has to be changeg. So, which materials would be the best in order to get the best calphos?
    Thanks a lot!

    • Patrick

      The Phosphorus content of eggshells is still a boon to flowering plants, I decided to leave the recipe as-is. If you want more phosphorus though you can look at other calphos sources like bones.

  • Hi Patrick,

    Would it be a problem to use citric acid (just squeezed out of lemon/orange etc) instead of vinegar? I saw you mentioned that any acid would do, but just wondering if this low acidic extract of lemons works…

    THanks.

    • Patrick

      I don’t think it would be a problem at all. Lemon juice is quite acidic actually (you can test this by biting it – sour much?), so it should work great as a substitute for vinegar. Go for it! If ever you are using weaker acids, like orange juice, just use a little more relative to your calphos source(eggshell, clamshell, etc).

  • Phil Bradshaw

    Hi again Patrick,
    Thank you very much for your advice, and I most certainly will let you know how things work out. I am quite meticulous, and prefer to do things on on a “scientific” basis, so that if something succeeds, then it can be repeated.

    Best Wishes
    Phil Bradshaw.

  • Dan

    Does it matter much with the time of the extraction process? I’ve left mine (did egg shells) in the jar for for way over a month now, maybe two months…also would you spray the plant daily or would this be overkill, and would you stop spraying once flowers/fruits start forming then leave it till the last couple weeks then start spraying them again?

    Sorry if you’ve answered these questions before.

  • Max

    Would it be beneficial to ad the calphos to the fish hydrolysate? How much would you add. Would dilution rates be different for application?

    • Patrick

      Hey Max,

      That’s a little complicated since these two have different application rates.. I guess you could mix calphos 1:2 with fish fertilizer, and then apply those at 2 tbsp per gallon. The calphos is really for the transition to flower though, when you don’t need to add as much nitrogen source like fish fertilizer. But if you’re inclined, go for it! I know plenty of folks who apply light nitrogen fertilizer from start to finish!

      Patrick

  • Marty Baecker

    Thank you so much for all your tips regarding putting to use the natural farming method. All the answered questions are very helpful.

    I do have one question to add to the mix. When dealing with eggshells (above) or bones ,,,,, what is the exact purpose of “charring?” Is it just a method to clean whatever leftover organic material off OR does it do something chemically to the materials? When I add vinegar to clean un-charred eggshells they fize all the same.

    If the charring is necessary for bones,,,,,can you suggest more than one process to do this and to what endpoint? My wife won’t let me stink up the house using the stovetop or oven and do not have a gas grill.

    Thanks or you help in advance!

    • Patrick

      Hi Marty, thanks for joining use here! Charring is needed for proper calphos production – if you want both ingredients. The combustion does modify the substrate (bones/shells) chemically. You know I dug into this early on when Gil taught me the recipe but that was so long ago now I forget even which articles to point you to…I’d stick with charring them though. Just char until brown. More brown actually liberates more calcium, so more charring leads to higher calcium product vs less charring – up to you what you want.

      Especially for bones, charring is great. I’d break them up as much as possible first. Or, make a fire and throw them in whole if you’re doing it outside. Let them char in the fire and use whats left later. Hope this helps!

      Patrick

  • Gaston

    Hi Patrick
    With regards to eggshells containing 5% phosphorus and bones containing more I was wondering if adding a little bit of rock phosphate, in very small quantity, would boost the phosphate levels. Meaning: I wonder if the acetic acid would actually break it down?

    Thanks in advance.

    Gaston

    • Patrick

      I think rock phosphate would be a great addition! But, I’m not sure how acetic acid would interact with it – depends on the rock phosphate type and strength of the acid. Try adding the rock phosphate to the vinegar first or separately. If it doesn’t react much with the vinegar, you can just use that to break down the eggshells. If it does, you’ll likely have to do them separate since there won’t be the acetic acid present to break down the calcium in the eggshells at that point. Try and tell us! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Gaston

    Thanks a lot Patrick.

    Well, I had to try it and when I went to the garage to fetch a little pelletized rock phosphate I was very pleased to learn reading the box that this product contains 6% phosphoric acid and 27% calcium. Interesting I thought. Of course I had to try. I added a 5% acetic acid solution 5:1, to powdered RP and.. I got a reaction. So I suppose I’ll just keep going and, well, I guess I’ll have to wait for some time since I live in Alberta, Canada and it’s sort of -20C outside right now. Now much in the way of transition to flowering happening for some time, but it may work. Would you say?

    Anyhow, loads of fun. Thanks again ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Gaston

      Now that I think of it it’s around the same phosphate ratio as egg shells, except there is more calcium in the shells and the reaction is definitely more violent with egg shells. I am thinking there is a reason Gil uses eggs shells as you can control how many you burn and therefore play with the ratios but oh well, it’s worth trying anyhow ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Patrick

        Hey Gaston,

        Ha, well that is a fun experiment anyway! Yeah, I really like using a whole mix of shells for this application – mussels, clams, eggs, bones, etc. I think it’s the best approach, but mixing in something like rock phosphate should be great as well! Well, stay warm haha and look forward to spring. By the way have you tried indoor growing? Hydroponics? It’s pretty fun stuff! You can always try that during the long cold winter there in Alberta (I’ve experienced it – fort mcmurray, that’s right – COLD)..

        Cheers,
        Patrick

  • Joseph

    Hi Patrick,

    I have done my CalPhos as per your recipe. Would it be ok for me to add some epsom salt (Magnesium sulfate) to CalPhos as to have 3 elements instead of 2 elements. Please advise many tbsp of epsom salt should I mix to 1 liter of CalPhos?

    Thank you.

    Regards,
    Joseph

    • Patrick

      Hi Joseph,

      That is a great idea but I can’t really comment haha…The chemistry there starts to get interesting, and I’m not sure how the ions will interact when they are all mixed up like that. Try adding epsom salt and see if there is a reaction (bubbles, fizzing, heating up, cooling down, etc). Even if you don’t see anything noticeable there could be a reaction so I would be cautious. If you want to try, I would start with a tiny bit, a pinch, and work up from there.

      Thanks,
      Patrick

      • Joseph

        Hi Pat,

        Have tried your suggestion with a pinch of epsom salt to calphos. The calphos became a bit cloudy in color compare to before mixing with epsom salt and seems a bit cooling down.

        Will it affect the effectiveness of the calphos? or is it normal? possible to consult to Gil if it is ok to add epsom salt to caphos. Thank you in advance.

        Regards,
        Joseph

        • Patrick

          Ok I will ask Gil about it. Try looking up the reaction between magnesium sulfate and calcium phosphate, might tell you something about what happened.

          Not sure how it affected the solution but will talk to Gil about it next time I talk to him.

          Cheers,
          Patrick

  • Hi Patrick,
    I am so thrilled to find your website! This week I boiled some bones. Then put them in the oven for several hours and they became dark honey colored. Our wood stove was burning low (it’s cold here in the northeast US), so I then wrapped the bones in aluminum foil and placed them above the coals. Now they are all black. Is this going to give me Calcium but no phosphorus? I had heard that bone char is for phosphorus, but after reading these posts, maybe I’m wrong.

    • Patrick

      Hi Linda,

      That’s great you found our site, glad to have you on board! In regards to your question, it should still give phosphorus, but the charred bits should also yield calcium in the acid bath you’ll do (vinegar or other acid). If you are worried, don’t char it quite as much next time, and then use the solutions together..

      Cheers,
      Patrick

  • Eddie

    I want to thanks you guys for this site. It has inspired me to go 100% organic!

    I was wondering if anyone has tried deer antler for a source of cal/phos. Isn’t antler the fastest growing bone? I would assume it might be a great source.

    • Patrick

      Wow, interesting idea Eddie, do it! try to break it up as much as possible first. Use a hammer or something and crush it up some.

      Thanks for the positive feedback, glad we could help you choose organic.

  • Aljaลพ

    It is known that plants in flowering/fruiting stage need potassium, phosphourous and calcium.
    In your recipe in the intro part it is writen: “There is an overlapping activity of Phosporous and Potassium during flowering.”
    Can you please elaborate on this one, i don’t really understand what it means?
    It get a bit confused, because you forget about Potassium from here on and start talking about Phosporous and Calcium only.
    In the end it’s phospourous turns into phospate… me and chemistry are strangers, i’m a bit mixed up.
    Thanks in advance!!!

    • Patrick

      Hi Aljaz,

      The interaction of Phosphorus and Potassium during flowering is a large topic that’s outside the scope of a comment here. Suffice it to say your plants need both elements during flowering. I didn’t elaborate on that because the recipe is for Calcium and Phosphorus, not Potassium. That’s why I started talking about them exclusively.

      Calcium acetate, produced when adding the vinegar, binds phosphorus which I then refer to as calcium phosphate, although this may be a bit of a misnomer, it works to get the point across – they are bound and transported together to your plants and soil.

      Cheers,
      Patrick

  • arnie

    can I use guano?

    • Patrick

      Hi Arnie,

      I’m not sure how you’d use guano here, I’m not sure the vinegar would have any effect on it, or the desired effect anyway.

      Cheers,
      Patrick

  • anne

    HI sir, your blog is so informative!thanks so much!permission to share it!

    • Patrick

      Thanks Anne!

  • giorgos

    hi i found gils recipe while searching for a good fish hydrolysate and i love them all planing to use most of em i have some questions
    what vinegard is the best, (i can get some homemade red) do the roots cells have problems from alchohol? i think no cos of the concentretion that is to low but i have to ask.
    what Calcium phosphate form is in the product?
    whats the ratio of Calcium phosphate in the product, can you manipulate the outcome when you fry the egg shells? can i use snail shells for diferent form of calcium or for a diferent recipe with vinegard, what can i use to rise the phosphorus content?
    ty keep up the good work

    • Patrick

      Hey Giorgos,
      Sorry for the late reply, glad you’re enjoying our site though! regarding your questions:
      – any vinegar works, hard to say which is “best”, but if you can get good natural vinegar that would be great! Apple cider vinegar is great, in the Phils coconut vinegar works well, you get the idea
      – no worries at this application rate, there shouldn’t be alcohol content in the calphos, and the acid/base reaction creates a fairly neutral solution.
      – If I remember the details correctly, calcium acetate ions bind phosphorus for transport to plants.
      – calcium phosphorus ratios depend on how much you burn the shells. More burning means more calcium. Also depend on ingredients. e.g. bones have much more phosphorus than shells.
      – yep, snail shells would work great.
      – yep, you can add things, like rock phosphate, to help increase P content.

      that should cover it. Thanks for reading!

      Cheers,
      Patrick

  • Big Ray

    Hey Patrick

    I went to your “Farm Log” and read about your clam and shrimp shells the roaches didn’t eat. You mention the benefits of chitin in the shrimp shells. We always have shrimp, crab and crawfish shells readily available here in SE Louisiana. Should I roast the crustacean shells also? I know this recipe is calPHOS. However, does this recipe in fact have a significant amount of potassium? If I were using superphosphate or triple superphosphate, I could easily harm my plants by over-doing it. Is there a possibility that I can over-shrimp my soil so-to-speak?

    • Patrick

      Hey Big Ray!

      Nope, shouldn’t be a problem, it should be pretty tough to overdue it with chitin. You can include those shells in your calphos, I always do. Potassium content depends on your ingredients, not sure though if it’s significant.

      If you have lots of those shells you should make chitosan! I’m still working on the recipe, it’s a little involved and less “natural” since it requires lye…But it’s a great input for the garden so we’ll see.

      cheers,
      Patrick

  • Tom M

    Hello Patrick, I am preparing to make some CalPhos soon and do have a question. You mention “pan fry” then later you mention “roasting”. My question is which do you recommend or did you actually do both? I bake egg shells on a regular basis but never have cooked them til they blackened. I grind them in a blender then feed them back to the chickens with their fermented grains. I greatly appreciate you sharing your knowledge and experiences with us via your website.

    • Patrick

      Hey Tom thanks for coming by, sorry for the late reply. yeah that’s a little misleading, I just pan fry them until they are brown/black, get more calcium out of them that way.

      Grinding and mixing with food is an excellent practice! Nice one..

      • Tom M

        Hey Patrick,

        I made a batch of CalPhos and yesterday was the 20th day so I filtered it off into another jar. About half way through the ferment, a scoby began growing on the surface. Is this good? bad? what to do with it now?

        Regards,
        Tom

        • Patrick

          Wow, cool! Keep the scoby going! should be fun to play with. Plants should love it in any case.. ๐Ÿ™‚

          Patrick

  • Tom M

    disregard my question. I found my answer. ty

  • Big Ray

    Hey Again Patrick

    I’d still like to make some chitosan. Lye is no big concern for me. I worked for over 29 years on a refinery unit that used nearly pure hydrofluoric acid, 24 baume caustic, KOH and some pretty high strength sulfuric acid. In all those years of handling those products, I was never burned once. Because I was fully aware of the potential hazards and took the necessary precautions.

    Here are some confusing procedures I found on e-How;

    Instructions

    1 Extract chitin from your shellfish by diluting your shell in 10 percent sodium hydroxide and heat to 80 to 100 degrees. This will make the shell water-soluble. Chitin is a mineral compound found in the shell. Once it is soaked and heated it will look like fine grains, identifiable under a microscope.

    2 Remove the calcium carbonate by allowing the chitin to soak in a petri dish of 1 percent hydrochloric acid at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes. Calcium carbonate will dissolve completely, leaving behind the chitin.

    HOW DO I SEPARATE THE CALCIUM CARBONATE FROM THE CHITIN? CAN I USE A LARGER CONTAINER THAN A PETRI DISH?

    3 Dissolve your chitin in less than 40 percent sodium hydroxide. Heat to a temperature of 90 to 120 degrees with a bunsun burner. This removes 65 percent of the acetylic groupings to allow them to dissolve during preparation, forming the chitin into chitosan.

    HOW ARE THE ACETYLIC GROUPINGS “REMOVED”? DO THEY VAPORIZE OFF? IF THEY JUST DISSOLVE, ARE THEY NOW PART OF CHITOSAN AND CAN BE ALLOWED TO STAY IN SOLUTION?

    4 Mix chitosan with deionized water, matching the weight to the amount of water required. This will neutralize the chitosan and prepare it for use. When using chitosan for makeup production, do not weaken with sodium hydroxide.

    AFTER STEP 3 I SHOULD HAVE CHITOSAN. WHAT FORM WILL IT BE IN? POWDER? GRAINS? LIQUID?

    IS THIS 1:1 RATIO CHITOSAN-TO-DEIONIZED WATER THE RATIO I WILL ADD TO MY SOIL/CAL PHOS?

    • Patrick

      Hey Big Ray!

      I researched chitosan quite a bit after we talked and made a recipe for it (that’s clearer than that eHow article, haha). I spent a lot of time on it and I was excited to put it out as our newest recipe, but I haven’t posted it on the site. There are a few reasons for this I hope to get your feedback on:

      – It involves treating with chemicals (NaOH), so it’s not really a ‘natural’ recipe, which gets away from our intentions a bit here on TUF..
      – I’m a little worried about getting people into trouble with the harsh chemicals. I’m a full believer in accountability, and that if you’re warned and you still screw up, then you’re accountable for it but you know, I dunno…
      – And the biggest one: While it’s undeniable that Chitosan is an awesome molecule for plants – boosting immunities to disease and pests, increasing growth and vitality, etc – it still hasn’t been researched well and there are a ton of variations whose effects aren’t well understood. “chitosan” as a molecule takes many forms, and it’s various forms can have very different effects. Also, I found an article showing that an infinitesimal amount added to water containing Trout (a species of fish, for those reading) kills them – clogs the gills and basically suffocates them. So what about the runoff water? And what is the effect in the human lung of a foliar spray homemade chitosan solution? Chitosan has a ton of medical applications it’s being used for, but in a very controlled way..

      So, I was thinking about publishing the recipe with a lot of warnings, and prescribing it for use ONLY as a seed treatment – add it to your water you soak seeds in before planting. But even still, I’ve held off publishing it. What do you think? I’d love to get your feedback.

      Regarding your questions, I’ll send you my recipe and some of the documentation that I found helpful and saved. If anyone else reading is interested, you can use the contact form to email me and I’ll send on the info. Just not sure about making it widely available yet.

      Cheers Big Ray! Love the discussion – chitosan is super exciting stuff!
      Patrick

  • Hello again, we have talked before. I have made several of your recipes with good results.

    I have one concern. I have used Bone Char which is 16% Phos, and my understanding was that the burning process makes the phos available. Yet you say that burning it adds more calcium, that the white is phos and black is calcium. I then read through the comments and just a few comments back you mentioned again that the black is the calcium. I was wondering if you could give an explanation to this, because my understanding of it must be off if you have not made a typo.

    • Patrick

      Hi Travis, that confused me too initially. When there is calcium present, the burning makes it bioavailable. If there is not calcium, then it won’t make calcium when you burn. Not sure how the burning affect phosphorus, I just read about how burning eggshells releases the calcium from the shell.

      Cheers,
      Patrick

      • Gaston

        Yeah I was wondering about that too and felt you had made a mistake so I am glad you clarify it. Now, if I follow a logical thread perhaps it’s possible that in fact the phosphorus comes from the intact material, the unburned part, in effect the opposite of what I thought initially? Because the initial recipe from Gil recommended to burn about half the material and I tend to think there is a reason for everything ๐Ÿ™‚

        The other thought I had is that I did a batch with rock phosphate and I do get a strong reaction when I add the vinegar. I did not ‘burn’ the rock phosphate prior mixing in the acetic acid. I guess my question would be: Is the burning part only true in the case of ‘organic’ materials, like bones, shells etc? But in the case of naturally occurring minerals the calcium would become available? Or would it be the case I have made a calphos without cal… ๐Ÿ™
        I just wanted to run it by you in case that rings a bell for you.. By the way I use it not just at the onset- or transition period but throughout the flowering-fruiting period. I have noticed that the plants sprayed in transition really react well, there is a noticeable difference from the ones that haven’t been sprayed. However, while there is no negative impacts whatsoever in keeping spraying weekly it does not seem to make that much difference if I do so or not. It’s definitely spraying at the onset that makes a world of difference. I had to try ๐Ÿ™‚
        Take care Patrick.

        • Patrick

          Hey Gaston thanks for the input. So, to answer inline more or less:

          Yeah, that’s what I was told, the phosphorus comes from the unburned material, that’s how Gil taught me.

          Actually most rock phosphate also has calcium in it, so I think that’s what dissolved in vinegar, and you made calphos from rock phosphate, pretty cool! Now I don’t know about how burning the rock phosphate would affect it. I think burning just makes more calcium available for reaction, whether mineral or organic source.

          Thanks Gaston for the feedback regarding your feed schedule, that’s awesome! Glad to hear it works great for you. It is pretty awesome stuff.

          Cheers,
          Patrick

  • Mandar

    Hi Patrick,
    I am enjoying your site and trying to experiment. I wanted to know if we can take multiple batches of calphos using the same base. for eg. I have 1 part of roasted eggshells, I add 3 parts vinegar. extract the solution after 10 days and add 2 parts vinegar again to the residue for another period of 10 days.

    • Patrick

      Yeah, try doing that Mandar. sorry for the late reply, but yes, if it bubbles, then there is a reaction and you can add more vinegar.. until it stops bubbling. So the second time around i would just add enough vinegar until the reaction stops (no more bubbling).

  • ragremill@netzero.net

    Hey Patrick

    We don’t have fresh water trout here but, I’m sure there are people reading this who have rivers, streams and creeks running very near their gardens.

    And, I am not so much concerned about what the “purists” think about the term “organic”. There are some folks who adhere to that theology to the point of absurdity. The “natural” way just makes sense, is usually much more affordable and, “natures” way is usually much safer. Not to mention, I just get blown away watching the effects of the “natural” process in action! I think chemical-free is great but, would I allow an entire village to starve before I used a product or method that was not embraced by the “disciples” of organic growing? No!

    As I stated before, I worked with dangerous chemicals for many years. However, there are folks out there who need to be made aware of the possible risks. If you clearly listed the possible dangers in the recipe, most “reasonable” folks would follow your directions closely. As you know there are house-cleaning chemicals and combinations of them, that are potentially dangerous. Most folks handle them with no harm to themselves.

    Do the shells in the soil eventually break down into a chitosan type molecule anyway?

    You do a great service here Patrick and, we appreciate the time and effort it must take to provide us with solid “researched” information! There is certainly some accountability involved whenever we expose others to possible risks. It is a testament to your fine character that you care. I will have to defer this back to you in regard to publishing the recipe. I will certainly never question your decision whatever you decide.

    • Patrick

      Hey Big Ray,

      I emailed you awhile ago with the recipe for Chitosan, did you get it? I’d love to get your feedback on it. I emailed it to the email you listed to write the comment. Hope you got it. let me know and I’ll resend if you need.

      I’m not sure how well the shells would degrade into chitosan naturally. Chitin, certainly, but chitosan, not so sure, the aceto bonds are super strong on those molecules..

      Thanks,
      Patrick

  • Tim

    Isn’t calcium carbonate dissolved in acid Calcium Acetate, not Calcium Phosphate?

    • Patrick

      Yeah, calcium carbonate dissolved in acetic acid would yield calcium acetate, but in the presence of free phosphate ions there is a double displacement reaction which yields calcium phosphate.

  • Conor

    Hey Patrick what would happen if you fed your plants with calphos 2-3 weeks after the switch from veg to bloom? Would it still have similar benefits? Thanks

    • Patrick

      Hey Conor,

      You can try, it won’t hurt your plants. It will be useful if your plants are still looking for those nutrients, although 2-3 weeks in, they are probably into the bloom nutes by now. Use a little and see how it goes, like I said it shouldn’t hurt, it’s hard to overdo it with these things..

      Cheers,
      Patrick

  • Patrick,
    Instead of eggshells replace with shrimp shells ?
    Dry fry until crispy, add vinegar to cover all contents……
    Would this give similar properties ?
    Extract and use in similar ratio ie 1 TBS to 1 gallon ?
    Regards
    Elsie

  • jeff

    are you sure that vinegar has enough acid to really extract the calphos?

    • Patrick

      Oh yeah, you should see it bubbling up when you add it. It’s reacting with the calcium carbonate, it works well in our experience, though you can use other acids if you want, would require less quantity of stronger acids..

  • Pier

    Just want to say this is some great info you got here. Really appreciate it.
    I uses to watch ProKoshi videos on YouTube and in one vid he made water soluble calcium and calcium phosphate. Is there a difference between the 2 and how they affect plant growth?

    • Patrick

      Hi Pier,

      I think calphos is a bit complete, per Gil that is the ultimate to use when plants are going into flower..

      Cheers,
      Patrick

  • Pat

    Hi, Can I could use steamed bone meal as an egg substitute?
    Thanks

    • Patrick

      Hi Pat,

      Yeah that should work fine. Bones work, just have a bit different content than egg shells – higher P/Ca ratio..

      Cheers
      Patrick

  • joe

    high patrick
    does the burning not liberate the phosphorous that is otherwise bound up?
    could i get a copy of your formula? i will do it and take photos for you…is it a refluxing reaction? is there an organic alternative to NaOH? possibly hardwood ashes? or water that has leeched the KOH from lots of ashes?
    pls email me a copy f your formula if possible

    • Patrick

      Hi Joe,

      apparently roasting is fine and the phosphorus remains bound.. Regarding the formula, are you referring to the Chitosan formula?

      Thanks,
      Patrick

  • RadarMan

    Hi Patrick! Made this lovely concoction about two months ago, and haven’t had it stored any particular way, what is the shelf life on this?

  • JonathanAsan

    if i choose to use a simple lime, do i still need it to pan fry? before adding 5 part of vinegar? and what kind of vinegar?

  • James H

    Hi Patrick, Maybe I missed it somewhere, but can the CalPhos be used in my soil drench when I fertilize my plants, or should the CalPhos be used only as a/in a foliar spray? I fertilize both ways.
    I’ve been foliar spraying with the CalPhos that I made, along with my other fermented fertilizers….awesome results so far!!!!
    Anyway, got curious so decided to ask. Maybe when you get time you can let me know, or someone else may know.
    Growing, blooming, and “wrap it up” time is around the corner here in the NW. ‘Ol Jack Frost be here soon and I’m still experimenting….haha
    Thanks, James

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