March 16, 2021
Hey, farmer/gardener/soil curator! Been looking for an inexpensive way to increase the level of beneficial microbes, slow release nitrogen and minerals? Have you heard of mesophyllic fertilizer? No? Neither had we, until we stumbled across this recipe from @rodaleinstitute (link below)! We have put a little twist on it. It’s our new favorite cocktail for use at our flower farm.
You’ll start out with a few key ingredients: alfalfa pellets (we use organic to decrease the chance of herbicide buildup in soil), a handful of compost, mycorrhizae, water, and sugar. Alfalfa contains about 3-5% nitrogen in addition to key trace minerals and also contains triacontanol, a naturally occurring plant growth promoter.
This recipe and the benefits in increased yields that resulted led to a couple theories for the @rodaleinstitute team...
1) nitrogen is not a soil REQUIREMENT, but rather, a result of high levels of microbial activity.
2) in adding water to your dry alfalfa pellets, you’re increasing your total quantity of fertilizer and amount of microbes throughout your fertilizer
Article linked below for even more great info. As always, remember to get a soils test before adding amendments.
🌱DIY ALFALFA FERTILIZER🌱
(Covers approx. 200 sq. Ft.)
25 lbs alfalfa pellets
4.5 gallons warm water
.25 cup sugar (served as quick food for the microbes)
Handful of active compost and/or mycorrhizae
Combine the warm water with the sugar and stir to dissolve. In a plastic bin (you can also double up the bins to help boost the temperature; we make ours in our greenhouse where it stays fairly warm), combine 25 lbs of alfalfa pellets, a handful of good quality compost, and 1/4 cup of starter fertilizer. Stir well to combine before adding all of the water to the bin. Stir, cover with lid, and wrap with blankets to keep warm. Open the lid and give it a stir every 6-8 hours. Depending on the temperature, you will want to stop the process and apply the mixture to your soil once it starts to smell a little stinky (according to Rodale, you'll want to do it while it still smells slightly sweet). Apply by scattering over the top layer of your planting area and lightly turning into the soil.
January 25, 2022
January 25, 2022
March 15, 2021