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Doubling Crop Yields with Indian Homemade Fertilizer

[Editor's N ote: Those who are familiar with the bio-dynamic techniques of  Rudolph Steiner will recognize the similarities in this all-natural method of producing an organic fertilizer that works in HARMONY with Nature. ..Ken]

By Philip N. Ledoux <oldmanfromnh@yahoo.com>
http://educate-yourself.org/pnl/indianfermentedfertilizer11feb08.shtml
February 11, 2008

Doubling Crop Yields with Indian Homemade Fertilizer by Phillip Ledoux (Feb. 11, 2008)

Ken,

I've been in correspondence with friends in India. There is a strong movement in rural India away from commercial fertelizers and costly western farming principles. A local leader, Palekar, has been teaching by example a 10 cent method of doubling crop output to rural Indian farmers. I have tried to adapt Palekar's formula for trial plot size (20 foot square) here in America. Here is the resultant head- scratching work:

Philip N. Ledoux


Adapting the Indian Palekar's fermented soil-organism enhancer formula for American/European usage on a trial plot to cover 1/4 acre (35 ft square):

The original created a slightly over 200 liter batch. This original is then used 5 liters reduced in 100 liters of water and applied to 1 acre of land; this is a 40 fold increased coverage of the original fermentation. If 1/4 acre of land were used to test the formulation it would be applied to a 35 foot square of soil.

Other considerations:

The manure or cow dung in the original is from the Indian hump-backed cow, which is adapted to the Indian landscape and is higher in microbes than the American-European dairy or beef cow. Therefore I would estimate using double the quantity of manure in the original formula for American applications.

The original calls for "Jaggery" which is a very primitive or crude form of cane sugar. From bakery work, I know that you cannot use 100% corn syrup to ferment bread yeast; it requires approximately 2/3 cane sugar. Thusly I am assuming that the crude sugar is needed for the fermentation process to work. Also, crude sugar contains many of the trace elements and enzymes that is not in table sugar which is 99.9% pure carbohydrate. Therefore an addition of black-strap molasses or its equivalent should be added to table sugar.

The original formula calls for gram flour, which is not commonly known in America. From online encyclopedias: Gram flour is a flour made from ground chickpeas. It is also known as chana flour (Indian), besan (Indian), kadale hittu (Kannada), chickpea flour and garbanzo flour (Spanish). Gram flour contains a high proportion of carbohydrates but no gluten. The chickpea, chick pea, garbanzo bean, Indian pea, ceci bean, bengal gram, hummus, kadale kaalu (Kannada), sanaga pappu (Telugu), chana or channa (Cicer arietinum) is an edible legume (English "pulse") of the family Fabaceae, subfamily Faboideae. The garbanzo is often used as a source of protein by vegetarians and vegans since it has one of the highest protein levels of all plants.

I am suspicious that the unusually fertile earth found in the American tropics called Terra Prieta was developed by formulas similar to Palekar's unique microbe enhancer.

Formula:

Water 1 1/2 quarts in a 1 gallon pail
Cow dung 6 ounces (0.4 pound) [Double original quantity]
Cow urine (can substitute human urine) 1/4 cup
Table Sugar 1 ounce (1/16 pound)
Black-strap molasses 1 teaspoon
(mix sugar and molasses in water a day in advance)
Chick-Pea flour 1/2 ounce (Also known as garbanzo flour or besan)
Large pinch of soil from area to be treated

Stir clockwise (Northern hemisphere) twice a day; keep in shade, ferment a minimum of two days before using, use completely within 7 days.

Take this batch of earth elixir, add 1 quart of water, stir well, strain. Apply this to the 35 foot square plot.

Add to irrigation water, spray on earth, or use whisk-bloom dipped in solution and shake or broadcast or use old fashioned watering can with sprinkle head; preferably late in the day. If plowing or tilling soil, apply before tilling. Apply 15 days after planting, and then every 15 days or once a month. A variation in elixir strength: After the first month applications, you may strengthen the fermentation by doubling the amount of ingredients, the next batch triple the ingredients, the next batch x4, the next batch x5 and by the 5th month after planting x6. After the 2nd month, the dilution water is doubled (apparently to prevent burning crop and roots).

The Chick-Pea flour can be made by putting about a cup of peas at a time in a blender (dry) and grinding until it makes a coarse flour. Usually garbanzo beans can be found in the Mexican food section of most American supermarkets, in a packet like dried beans. Do not substitute other types of beans; Chick-peas/Garbanzo-beans have a unique composition.

An old moonshiner gave me the hint that any fermentation loves liquid sugars as opposed to dry sugar, although it works. Mix the sugar and molasses in the water a day or two before using.

In the formula reduction using 1 ounce of Chick-peas would be "close enough." These types of formulas fall into the category of "grandmother's cooking measurements" of a handful of this, a pinch of that; it works because of the crudeness of grind and total grain inclusion (no bran removed, etc.). Likewise "a little more than" 1 ounce of sugar or even "a little less than" 2 ounces of sugar will work.

For those checking quantity reductions, the original was reduced 1/20th and this again reduced by one-fourth to create a fermentation that would be used completely with no left-over. [Adapted by Philip N. Ledoux Feb 2008]

- - - - - - -


Adapting the Indian Palekar's fermented soil-organism enhancer formula for American/European usage to cover one acre:

Original formula for fermentation in a 5 gallon pail:

Water 2 1/2 gallons in a 5 gallon pail
Cow dung 2 1/4 pounds (1 Kilo) [Double original quantity]
Cow urine (can substitute human urine) 1 cup to 2 cups
Table Sugar 8 ounces (3/4 pound) [The original uses Jaggery a crude cane sugar]
Black-strap molasses 2 tablespoons
(mix sugar and molasses in the water, 2 days in advance)
Chick-Pea flour 4 ounces (1/4 pound) (Also known as garbanzo flour or besan)
Small handful of soil from area to be treated

Stir clockwise (Northern hemisphere) twice a day; keep in shade, ferment a minimum of two days before using, use completely within 7 days.

Add this earth-elixir to 50 gallons of water, stir well, strain. Apply to a 1 acre plot. Add to irrigation water, spray on earth, or use old fashioned watering can with sprinkle head; preferably late in the day. If plowing or tilling soil, apply before tilling. Apply 15 days after planting, and then every 15 days or once a month. A variation in elixir strength: After the first month applications, you may strengthen the fermentation by doubling the amount of ingredients, the next batch triple the ingredients, the next batch x4, the next batch x5 and by the 5th month after planting x6. After the 2nd month, the dilution water is doubled (apparently to prevent burning crop and roots).


The Chick-Pea flour can be made by putting about a cup of peas at a time in a blender (dry) and grinding until it makes a coarse flour. Usually garbanzo beans can be found in the Mexican food section of most American supermarkets, in a packet like dried beans. Do not substitute other types of beans; Chick-peas/Garbanzo-beans have a unique composition.

An old moonshiner gave me the hint that any fermentation loves liquid sugars as opposed to dry sugar, although it works. Mix the sugar and molasses in water a day or two before using.

[Adapted by Philip N. Ledoux Feb 2008]


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