It is easy and cheap to make your bloom booster fertilizer at home. There is no need to purchase costly fertilizer products from garden stores because you can make a superior quality fertilizer – fermented fruit juice (FFJ) – for pennies on the dollar.
Fermented fruit juice (FFJ) is an effective homemade bloom booster containing high amounts of phosphorous, potassium, hormones, enzymes, and beneficial micro-organisms. FFJ is made by mixing fruit and sugar, which produces a liquid that is extracted after 5 to 10 days, and applied as a foliar spray.
Making and applying FFJ is easy, but some specific principles and techniques will guarantee success. Here is a quick guide to making your own, high-quality bloom-boosting FFJ.
Fermented Fruit Juice: An Effective Homemade Bloom Booster
Fermented fruit juice (or simply ‘FFJ’) is an effective, cheap, easy-to-make homemade bloom booster. FFJ is made from readily available ingredients – fruit and sugar – and produces a high-quality bloom booster that is as good if not better than most store-bought alternatives.
FFJ makes a great bloom booster because it is high in phosphorous (P) and potassium (K), which play an essential role in the functions that lead to healthy and vigorous flower production.
FFJ also contains nutrients like calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), and iron (Fe), as well as complex carbohydrates, enzymes, and beneficial micro-organisms. These constituents all play a role in the development of radiant and abundant blooms.
To give an idea of the nutritional value of a typical FFJ made from banana, papaya, and cantaloupe, the table below presents the nutrient amount (per 100g) for each of these ingredients.
|Banana||22mg||326mg||28mg||0.3mg||5mg||amylases and glucosidases|
(Source: US Department of Agriculture – Food Data Central)
Once these fruits are combined with sugar, micro-organisms use enzymes to break down or mineralize the complex nutritional components of the fruit. This makes the nutrients water-soluble and thus more easily taken up and utilized by plants.
So, how do we make Fermented Fruit Juice? Let’s get into it.
How To Make Fermented Plant Juice: Ingredients And Tools
You can use whatever fruit is easiest and cheapest to obtain, but try to use fruit known to be rich in phosphorous and potassium. The recipe can also be tailored by using green, unripe fruit for early flowering and well-ripened fruit during later stages of bloom development.
If possible, use fruit from the garden. This saves the gardener from purchasing fruit at the store and is also an efficient way to process excess harvests. Fruit harvested from the garden also tends to be higher in nutrients and beneficial micro-organisms, so it produces a superior quality FFJ when compared with store-bought fruit.
Brown sugar is traditionally recommended because it produces the best quality FFJ, but white sugar and even molasses can also be used if brown sugar isn’t accessible.
To make Fermented Fruit Juice, you will need:
- three different types of fruit,
- an equal amount of sugar by weight (preferably brown sugar),
- a mixing bowl,
- one container for fermentation,
- one container for storage,
- a sieve for extracting the juice.
How To Make Fermented Plant Juice: Procedure
The procedure for making FFJ is as follows.
1. Chop fruit into small cubes (roughly 2cm), and mix or massage thoroughly with equal amounts of brown sugar by weight. Ensure that all the surfaces of the plant material come into contact with the sugar. After a few minutes, the plant material will already begin to release its juices.
2. Pour the fruit-sugar mixture into the container. Press the mixture down firmly to minimize air pockets between the pieces of fruit. Fill the container to two-thirds capacity, leaving the top third of the container empty to ensure proper fermentation.
3. Cover the container with breathable material. Leave the container in a place that is dark and dry. This location should also have relatively mild, stable temperatures.
4. Wait five to ten days for fermentation to occur. The duration of this step is mainly dependent on ambient temperatures (higher temperatures mean faster fermentation).
After a few days, a dark, transparent liquid should start to accumulate at the bottom of the container – this is the FFJ! Depending on the fruits used, the color of the FFJ can range from dark brown to green, red, and amber.
Bubbles will also be visible on the surface of the liquid. When the liquid stops accumulating and the mixture stops producing bubbles, this is a sign that fermentation is complete (though a few small bubbles might still be visible after extraction).
5. Extract the FFJ by pouring the mixture through a sieve into the second container for storage. Make sure to write the date and ingredients on the container (avoid labeling the lid because this can easily be misplaced).
6. The extracted juice can now be stored in the fridge or mixed with equal amounts of brown sugar for long-term storage at room temperature. If extracted properly and stored in ideal conditions, FFJ can last for several years.
How To Use Fermented Fruit Juice
FFJ is usually applied as a foliar spray but can also be applied as a soil drench. Simply mix the FFJ at a ratio of 1:500 with water (for example, 1ml of FFJ to 500ml of water), and apply weekly during the flowering season.
It is difficult to damage plants with FFJ, though it is important to remember that it is a potent fertilizer and can burn leaves and roots if applied in extremely high concentrations. In general, it is thus not advisable or necessary to exceed the 1:500 application rate.
FFJ can be applied successfully in combination with other soluble fertilizers. In these cases, use lower ratios of 1:700 or even 1:1000, which can still be highly effective for bloom-boosting.
A useful tip that can maximize the benefits of FFJ is to add a grain or fruit-based vinegar to the mixture before applying it to plants (or soil). Combining FFJ and vinegar in equal amounts with water helps to reduce the acidity of the FFJ. While being low on the pH scale, vinegar has the somewhat bizarre ability to make acidic substances more alkaline.
When applying as a foliar spray, also make sure to cover the undersides of leaves. The best time to spray FFJ is in the mornings or during cloudy weather. If applying FFJ as a foliar spray in the midday heat, reduce the application rate to 1:1000.
FFJ is one of the simplest, cheapest, and most effective bloom-boosters you can make at home. Using only fruit, sugar, and patience, you can easily create your FFJ fertilizer to enhance the quantity and quality of flowers in your garden.
Following the principles and techniques presented in this quick guide, you will be able to make and apply FFJ successfully. The resulting radiance and abundance of your blooms will, in all likelihood, prompt you to begin preparations to make your next batch of FFJ.
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