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Floyd C. Constable
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Koh Kood, Thailand
Climate Zone:
Wet/Dry Tropical

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Liquid Compost - Make Your Own

Posted by Floyd C. Constable over 12 years ago

How to make your own potent batch of concentrated liquid compost

Howdy all,

Here at Soneva Kiri we have had a batch of liquid compost brewing for about a week. I have just returned from the daily stir and felt inspired enough to share this wonderful process and recipe with you all.

The following is an extract from a wonderful Tropical Permaculture Guide book that is published in East Timor by Permatil, and in Indonesia by IDEP foundation. It was written and compiled by a good friend of mine, and co-teacher Lachlan McKenzie (Darwin based).

The batch I have brewing is in an old small wheelie bin that we have in abundance here. For the green leafy compnonant we used cow pea, grass cuttings and some coffee bush. FOr manure we used a mix of cow manure and bat guano...we have also added a dash of EM's 

How to Make Liquid Fertilizer

Step 1: Prepare a container, for example a drum. Make sure the drum does not leak, cut off the lid by cutting around its edges and then hit down any sharp areas along this edge.

Step 2: Clean the inside of the drum using detergent, lemon, and water, then dry the drum in the sun for 2-3 days. Make sure that all oil, petrol or other poisonous materials are gone, because when the liquid fertilizer is made bacteria will live in it; poisonous materials can kill this bacteria.

Step 3: Fill 1/3 of the drum with green grass (weeds), green leaves (legume cuttings), or seaweed (if you live near the ocean). Using weeds in liquid fertilizer will give multiple benefits, because besides the weeds providing many useful minerals, this also reduces weed problems.

If using legumes, don’t put branches in the liquid fertilizer, because these branches take a long time to rot and make it difficult to stir the fertilizer. Seaweed contains nutrients and minerals that are useful and important for plants. Sometimes these nutrients are lacking from the soil, manure, and plants. Seaweed must be washed first to remove the salt, because salt can have a bad effect on soil quality and plant growth. When collecting seaweed, only collect the fresh seaweed, as dry seaweed contains much more salt.

Step 4: Fill the next 1/3 of the drum with manure. Fresh animal manure contains more nutrients than dry manure.

Combine different types of animal manure (if available) to achieve the best result, as different manures contain different types of nutrients. Bird manure is best, and then pig, goat, cow and horse manure.

The smaller the animal, the stronger the manure (mouse manure is really great, if you can collect it). Therefore, less bird manure is needed than cow or horse manure.

Step 5: Add 2-3 shovels of healthy, living soil. Healthy soil contains many biota, which will speed up the process of turning organic materials into fertilizer and help prepare the nutrients for plant use.

When soil biota / bacteria eats the organic materials in liquid fertilizer, this bacteria will continue to multiply. Putting bacteria into the soil is just as important as providing nutrients for plants.

Step 6: Fill the container with water.

Step 7: Other materials that can be added include: 1?2–1 shovel of kitchen cooking ash, to add minerals and potassium, and 1 shovel of fishpond soil.

Step 8: If easily available, animal carcasses are also useful, like: Rat carcass, fish heads and bones, chicken carcasses, and smaller animal innards can all be added to the liquid fertilizer. This will add nutrients and minerals to the fertilizer. Remember, the most important thing is to provide more bacteria which will speed up the rotting of organic materials in the fertilizer.

Step 9: Cover the drum to prevent animals, like mosquitoes and flies, from entering, to avoid direct sunlight which could kill bacteria, and to avoid rain entering the drum.

Step 10: Stir the liquid fertilizer using a long stick for 5-10 minutes every day, for 2 weeks. This must be done to add oxygen to the fertilizer. In this fertilizer there are two types of bacteria, aerobic and non-aerobic. Aerobic bacteria needs oxygen, while non-aerobic bacteria does not need oxygen. Both bacteria work in the same way, but aerobic bacteria works better to create quality fertilizer, because its decomposing process is even and it reduces bad smells. So, the more often you stir, the faster the decomposing process and better the fertilizer quality.


Using Liquid Fertilizer

To use liquid fertilizer, it must first be mixed with water. Combine 1 part liquid fertilizer with 20 parts water (1 : 20). If this fertilizer is not first diluted with water, and directly applied to plants, especially in large amount, it will burn the plants leaves and roots because the fertilizer concentration is still too strong. Young plants are generally more sensitive than older plants.

Use liquid fertilizer once or twice a week for vegetables and small trees, on other days it is enough to just give water. For fruit trees that are already established, use liquid fertilizer once or twice a month. When watering, you can use a container, like a can, with holes punched into the bottom.

For vegetables, first apply mulch around the plant, and then spray with fertilizer. If possible, avoid spraying the leaves directly, don’t let the still concentrated liquid fertilizer burn the plant. This is also important with trees.

If the liquid fertilizer is almost finished, you can add more organic materials. Don’t forget to continue stirring this liquid fertilizer, and wait two weeks before use. Don’t wait until the fertilizer is completely finished, because then you will have to repeat the entire process from the beginning.


Floyd img 7217 Floyd img 7220 Floyd img 7221

Comments (2)

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Jay Jackson
Jay Jackson : cheers Floyd, will make sure to add manure next time =)
Posted over 12 years ago

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Verifying teacher: Geoff Lawton
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