Tag Archives: Neem oil

There is Funk in the Orchard

A few weeks ago i made a post, There is Fungus Among Usin which I outlined my entry into the world of Korean Natural Farming. About a week later my post, IMO aka Indigenous Micro Organismsoutlined the second step in creating microbial rich preparations for application. Today’s post is about the final step of stabilizing the two microbial cultures, Lacto-Baccilus & IMO, that I initially collected/captured then refined.

The Milk/Lacto serum mixture after two weeks in the closet

The Milk/Lacto serum mixture after two weeks in the closet

You can clearly see the separation of the curdled milk solids from the refined Lacto-Bacillus serum. This process grows the Lacto in an environment friendly to them and less friendly to the other microbes that were caught in the initial rice-wash water phase.

Separating out the milk solids

Separating out the milk solids

This stuff STINKS!!!! Bryan McGrath in his YouTube video, Korean Natural Farming-Lacto Bacillusmentions that he once tasted this “cheese” and it wasn’t bad. I’m calling Bullshit on that! My chickens gobbled the stuff up but the reek was/is horrid. The serum got mixed 1 to 1 with unsulphured molasses to create a shelf stable liquid that is supposed to be good for a couple of years.

The inoculated rice mixed with brown sugar after fermenting for 2 weeks

The inoculated rice mixed with brown sugar after fermenting for 2 weeks

The IMO stuff was heaven compared to that stinking Lacto concoction. The above mixture was combined with water at a rate of 10 to 1 then the solids strained out.

10 to 1 mixture

10 to 1 mixture

The solids from the IMO fermenting process

The solids from the IMO fermenting process

Again the chickens gobbled the dregs down, all of this funky stuff the girls are gobbling down should be good for them in that it really is just probiotics for the farm.

The ingredients of my pulsing spray

The ingredients of my pulsing spray

I applied my first full-bore pulsing spray to my orchard, garden beds, and coop area today. The ingredients were 5 ounces of my recently stabilized IMO/Lacto concoction, 2 ounces pure cold pressed Neem oil with a dash of organic dish soap to emulsify it, and 4 ounces cold processed liquid fish.

Sprayer

All of this was mixed with enough chlorine free water to fill my 2 gallon sprayer and applied to my fruit trees thoroughly. After the trees were soaked to the point of runoff the garden beds and coop areas were sprayed with what was left of the second sprayer full.IMO10

One of the Comfrey plants I thought I had lost

One of the Comfrey plants I thought I had lost

IMO13

Look at the worms in the roots of this Comfrey plant I'm relocating

Look at the worms in the roots of this Comfrey plant I’m relocating

All of the microbes in this mixture are going to fed and energized by the fatty acids in both the Neem oil and Liquid Fish and hit the ground running, breaking down organic material into compounds less smelly and more useful to my plants. Additionally these beneficial microbes should colonize the bark, leaves, and mulch crowding out harmful microbes. I’m looking forward to blogging about the results both positive and negative. Initially I have one negative that I will have corrected before my next application, that little 2 gallon sprayer killed my back bending over to pump it up. There is definitely a 4 gallon back pack sprayer coming to my tool shed soon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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There is fungus among us

Organic Gardener, Holistic Orchardist, Sustainable Agriculture, What exactly do these terms mean? Are there rules and regulations that must be adhered to? I don’t really know nor do I really care. The “system” or “method” I practice is the one that my head puts together from resources that make sense to me. My chickens are currently being fed fodder, fermented scratch, weeds, cooked rice gleaned from a local restaurant and leftovers from the weekly cleaning of the fridge. The orchard/garden is watered with grey water from my laundry and mulched with shredded waste from local tree service companies. Why do I employ these “practices”? #1 cause I’m cheap #2 because certain aspects spark interest in my brain and finally #3 because they are effective/efficient. Happy productive chickens, healthy trees, and productive gardens is the goal and at least currently the outcome.

As has been mentioned several times lately on this blog The Holistic Orchard (fruits and berries the biologic way) by Michael Phillips has really captured my attention. Basically Mr. Phillips is advocating and trying to educate about the benefits of treating the whole orchard holistically. Focusing on the overall health of everything from the soil to the foliage in an effort to minimize the susceptibility to both pests and disease. Backyard Orchard Culture as refined and practiced for my area by the UNCE experimental orchard lends itself to embracing these holistic idea(l)s, at least in my little world. One thing that really clicked with me was the idea of “random” mulching, this is using whatever you come up with as you come up with it as mulch. Shredded paper? OK, Shredded/Chipped tree waste? OK, Straw? OK, the idea is to promote a diverse environment for beneficial bacterial and fungal soil cultures to thrive.

That brings the agenda to spring and pulsing sprays. I wish I could do more than regurgitate stuff from The Holistic Orchard but right now that’s where my knowledge is from, maybe this fall I’ll be able to make an informed and insightful blog post about all of this….we’ll see. Pulsing sprays are used to spark a “pulse” of action in the microbial world inhabiting the soil of the orchard and the bark of the trees, encouraging the beneficial ones to thrive and therefore outcompete any bad ones that come along. Ingredients recommended for this witches brew is liquid fish (are you thinking of SNL and the bass-o-matic?), cold pressed Neem oil, and EM-1. Liquid Fish was easily found and reasonably purchased from SF Organics, cold pressed Neem oil is all over E-Bay, but EM-1 proved a little tougher especially for a frugal individual. The stuff is not available locally and both of the proprietary makers apparently think this stuff is very special. I was willing to cough up the $23 SCD Probiotics wanted for a liter of this stuff but when I went to check out at their exclusive online distributor and found that shipping was going to double the price my gag reflex kicked in, likewise at Teraganix.

All of his has been leading up to my initial topic for this post……clandestine culturing of microbes. While I couldn’t find any reliable instructions for knocking off these companies products I did discover that this concept stems from Korean Natural farming techniques in general and specifically to Lacto-Bacillus/IMO culturing. Ironically it was a question asked on one of my favorite blogs, Scratch Cradle, that lead me to the answer I was looking for. Two youtube videos, Korean Natural Farming- Lacto Bacillus, and Korean Natural Farming-IMO part 1 provided me with a wealth of information about creating inoculant cultures for use in the orchard. A less detailed (there actually four parts of the IMO series) but very practical explanation can be found on IMO Farming part 1 . Following the procedures outlined in these highly informative videos has lead me to attempt to start my own cultures.

Rice Wash Water hopefully collecting and culturing Lacto Bacillus

Rice Wash Water hopefully collecting and culturing Lacto Bacillus

 

Funky rice water hopefully stored where Karen won't find it

Funky rice water hopefully stored where Karen won’t find it

1st ingredient of IMO: Forest Litter (actually dirt and mulch from the oldest section of the UNCE orchard)

1st ingredient of IMO: Forest Litter (actually dirt and mulch from the oldest section of the UNCE orchard)

2nd ingredient of IMO: hard cooked rice

2nd ingredient of IMO: hard cooked rice

IMO ingredients together: Top tray has lots of holes drilled in the bottom so that microbes can migrate to rice beneath

IMO ingredients together: Top tray has lots of holes drilled in the bottom so that microbes can migrate to rice beneath

IMO incubator hopefully located where Karen will overlook it

IMO incubator hopefully located where Karen will overlook it

Now all I have to do is let my stuff funk up and culture for a week or so then move onto the second phase of refining and fortifying the captured cultures. That process may take a little more ingenuity to keep beneath my Sweety Karen’s radar but I think I’m up to the challenge.

Oh by the way IMO stands for Indigenous Micro Organisms

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