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EM's for the Garden, Russian style

My last post was an update on our experience with EM's (efficient microbes) on our homestead.

In Russia, the term "EM's" has come into common use to describe homemade brews made to enhance soil fertility. A recipe for such a brew is offered in the book "Growing Vegetables with a Smile:"

50 gal water
lb of any compound fertilizer containing trace elements or, even better, 1/2 gl of dried bird droppings
1/2 bucket of compost
1/2 bucket of rotted straw
Fresh grass and leaves, if desired
1 c ashes or lime
2 lb of sugar
2 buckets of rotting fruit (or some 2 qts of old preserves)
Pinch of any kind of yeast
Ready in about a week (yeast is multiplied but not yet died out). At this point, a liter of curdled milk can be added for extra lactic acid. The resulting concoction is full of nutrients, microbes and stimulators. Watering with this brew invigorates plants and has a long lasting effect.

Want an easier and just as effective method?

1/2 c. of sugar or a c. of old preserves
3 qt water
pinch of baker's yeast

3-4 days, brew is flourishing. One c. of brew to bucket of water, once a week on seedlings and transplants and twice a month on adult plants. In a test, young plants developed nearly 2 times faster than those treated with EM and other store-bought stimulators.

"In general, the more beneficial ingredients are combined, the better. Mix together greens, comp;oat, half a dose of a chelate fertilizer, some form of sugar, lactic acid bacteria, and yeast, and you will get an effective and unequivocally harmless infusion. You could even call it the "drink of the gods" - nectar and ambrosia for plants. But even such "Herbalife" works only when it can penetrate the soil under stable moisture conditions. Otherwise, the microbes will die."

I will add my 2 cents to this method, and suggest that a person may want to consider adding some mycorrhizal fungi to the brew. Mycorrhizal fungi are mushroom species which enhance the growth of plants by helping to deliver nutrients and water to their roots. Fungi, like other beneficial bacteria, get destroyed by any invasive or abrupt action on the soil, such as tilling, chemical fertilizers, flooding, and leaving soil bare.

The spores are present on all parts of a mushroom, and multiply when cultured on sweet, just like yeasts do, so adding pieces of mushrooms or spore powder to your brews will help your gardens grow, and if you want to take the care to learn your mushrooms, you can do this with species that are also edible and enjoy extra fruit from your garden's fertilizer.

You can read more about mycorrhizal fungi and even purchase some spores to add to your brews here.

I will discuss the mycorrzial mushrooms that we cultivate in our garden area in a future post.

Think SPRING! Happy
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