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Fertilizer Application Rate Calculator

I occasionally get emails from people who need some help figuring out how much of each organic fertilizer and microbial inoculant to use.

So - I've made you this fertilizer application rate calculator!

Choose your products, area and application frequency below and click 'Submit'. Cool right?

Feel free to ask questions down below...




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Choose Your Area

100 square feet (10 square meters)
250 square feet (25 square meters)
500 square feet (50 square meters)
1000 square feet (100 square meters)
2500 square feet (250 square meters)
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1 acre
Plants in pots

Choose Your Application Frequency

Twice A Week
Once A Week
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4 Times A Year



I'm sure there are some things this calculator won't answer, so feel free to ask any questions down below.

Molasses For Plants – How To Use It In Your Garden

Molasses For Plants

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It sounds crazy, but a can of Coke is actually really beneficial for the garden.

In fact, various forms of sugar are very useful to use in your foliar sprays.

If you’re applying any kind of microbial inoculant such as effective microorganisms or compost tea, the right sugar will give the microbes some food to eat right when they get out there, to wake them up and get them working away on all the amazing things they do for us.

Along the same lines, if you’re applying any kind of organic fertilizer, sugar will give your existing microbes the food they need to get them all excited so that they’ll start breaking down that new fertilizer, making it available for plants.

That’s especially helpful when applying a source of nitrogen such as liquid fish, because the carbon in the sugar balances out the nitrogen, much like we try to do when building a compost pile.

So yes, I apply some form of sugar every time I spray anything. It’s not expensive either.

I’d use Coca-Cola in a pinch, but really, there are 2 types that are ideal…

Molasses For Plants

The first is unsulfured blackstrap molasses.

The ‘unsulfured’ part is important because sulfur is used in some products as a preservative, to kill microbes, and we obviously don’t want to do that, as we’re trying to encourage microbes.

The ‘blackstrap’ is important because it’s the most nutritious of all types of molasses.

I use blackstrap molasses for plants whenever I’m ‘activating’ effective microorganisms and sometimes again when I’m spraying it, about equal amounts of EM to molasses for each process.

So if you’re buying the ProBio Balance mother culture, pick up 1 or maybe 2 times as much molasses. If you’re buying the Bio Ag ‘activated’ culture, just pick up the same amount of molasses to apply along with it.

The benefits of molasses as fertilizer, in addition to the sugar, are that it actually contains a nice array of minerals for the garden, and it’s also very sticky, so it helps your microbes and fertilizers stick to plant leaves during application.

Who Needs This The Most?

If you’re just picking up 1 organic fertilizer, I definitely recommend liquid seaweed or sea minerals or even liquid fish before getting a sugar source.

But the professionals really do use a sugar in every application, and I do too, and since it’s so inexpensive, I say go for it.

How To Use It

If applying it with EM, I use it at the same rate as my EM – 1/2 cup per 1000 square feet or whatever I’m using.

So for me 1 quart will do about 1000 square feet for a whole year (8 applications * 1/2 cup), and 1 gallon will do 4000 square feet.

Additionally, if you’re getting some EM/ProBio Balance mother culture and planning to activate it, you need almost as much molasses as mother culture for that process, too.

I dissolve the molasses in a small amount of warm water first, right in the sprayer, to make sure it doesn’t block the sprayer.

Important Info

I go into more detail about ordering on the main page, but here are a few quick things I’d like to mention:

  • If you have a question about this product, leave it in the comment section at the bottom of of this page and I'll try to respond within a few hours.
  • Shipping is $10 if your order is $25 or less, $15 if your order is $25-$50, $20 if your order is $50-$100, and $25 if your order is more than $100 (AK and HI add $10)
  • Dry fertilizers and compost tea brewers ship for free, separately with USPS instead of UPS, so they will arrive on their own maybe a day or 2 apart from my other products.
  • I ship in the U.S. only. Products ordered by 2pm will ship same day. After that they ship next day. Weekend orders ship Monday.
  • All of my products have a 1 year 100% money-back guarantee.
  • With every order, I send $1 to Organics 4 Orphans and other similar organizations. O4O is working with the world’s poor to help them grow organic, highly nutritious, highly medicinal food for themselves, and then use the surplus food to generate income for themselves as well as feeding the orphans in their communities. My hope this year is to again send $1500US, which is enough to start projects in 25 new communities!

Order Now!

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  • Blackstrap molasses is a great companion to microbial inoculants and organic fertilizers.
  • It helps plants more effectively uptake organic fertilizers, and helps microbial inoculants more effectively do everything they do

Just choose from the drop-down menu and click ‘Add To Cart’ up above!

Note: I used to sell dextrose as an alternative to molasses, and it’s a good one, but people weren’t buying it much, so I’ve discontinued it.

Best Hose End Sprayer For Organic Gardeners

You’ll definitely want a quality hose end sprayer if you’re going to be applying liquid organic fertilizers and inoculants. Hudson Hose End Sprayer Professional

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This is the metal trigger Hudson hose end sprayer, probably the best hose end sprayer on the market for home gardeners as long as your garden isn’t too big.

I used to carry the Gilmour hose end sprayer 362, but Gilmour has now stopped making hose end sprayers.

Luckily, I found this Hudson sprayer that as far as I can tell is exactly the same as the Gilmour – perhaps even made by the same manufacturer, but I’m not sure about that.

This is a professional hose end sprayer.

It’s very sturdy, made with brass fittings, a comfy metal handle and a quality 1/2 quart plastic container, so it will last a long time.

If you have enough water pressure, this hose end sprayer does a great job reaching up into trees and out into the middle of your garden.

The dial is physically a bit difficult to turn, so you’ll need a strong hand, but it does produce an accurate dilution ratio.

How To Use It

Setting
(Tbsp/Gallon)
Dilution
Ratio
Products
1 1:252 EM or SCD
2 1:126
3 1:84
4 1:63
5 1:50 My organic fertilizers
6 1:42
7 1:36
10 1:25

My goal is to spray both the top and bottom of the leaves of my plants with spray that isn’t too coarse and isn’t too fine.

Too fine and I know I’d be harming some beneficial microbes in the spray. Too coarse and the spray doesn’t stick as well to the leaves. This sprayer creates the right water drop size.

If you’re combining products that all have different dilution rates, just use the highest dilution rate.

For example, if you’re combining EM (1:250 dilution) with seaweed (1:50) and molasses, make sure you get your 1:250 ratio for your EM (which is to set the sprayer dial to 1 Tbsp) and the others will be fine even if they’re more diluted, i.e. it’s always okay to dilute more with water, just not less.

So if I was going to spray a 1000 square foot garden, I’d add 1/2 cup of seaweed, 1/2 cup of sugar or molasses and 1/2 cup EM, then set the dial to 1 (a 1:250 dilution) and spray the whole thing.

Actually, I’d dissolve the sugar or molasses in 1/2 cup of warm water first and add that to the bottle. That changes my dilution rate, which means I can set my dial to 2, which means the sprayer will have better luck pulling up the solution.

I often fill the container up with water, especially if I’m spraying a solution with molasses or fish, as they’re a bit thicker and the sprayers can sometimes have a bit of difficulty sucking them up, especially if water pressure is low.

The one downside of the sprayer is that the bottle is a little bit small. If it were bigger, I’d use 1 cup of liquid fish in there, too.

That’s the one thing – if you have a big garden, you may need to fill the sprayer up a couple of times in order to get everything covered.

If you’re using these sprayers to apply mycorrhizal fungi powder, dissolve the fungi in some warm (not too hot) water first and then fill up the sprayer with that.

The last part is cleaning. With any sprayer, always clean it right after use. It just takes a minute.

I rinse out the container, fill it with water and then spray some of that water to get all of the gunk out of the internal parts. Do that and these things will last a lot longer!

Important Info

I go into more detail about ordering on the main page, but here are a few quick things I’d like to mention:

  • If you have a question about this product, leave it in the comment section at the bottom of of this page and I'll try to respond within a few hours.
  • Shipping is $10 if your order is $25 or less, $15 if your order is $25-$50, $20 if your order is $50-$100, and $25 if your order is more than $100 (AK and HI add $10)
  • Dry fertilizers and compost tea brewers ship for free, separately with USPS instead of UPS, so they will arrive on their own maybe a day or 2 apart from my other products.
  • I ship in the U.S. only. Products ordered by 2pm will ship same day. After that they ship next day. Weekend orders ship Monday.
  • All of my products have a 1 year 100% money-back guarantee.
  • With every order, I send $1 to Organics 4 Orphans and other similar organizations. O4O is working with the world’s poor to help them grow organic, highly nutritious, highly medicinal food for themselves, and then use the surplus food to generate income for themselves as well as feeding the orphans in their communities. My hope this year is to again send $1500US, which is enough to start projects in 25 new communities!

Order Now!

Choose Quantity View Cart
Business Seals In summary, this Hudson sprayer is a high-quality sprayer, with the only downside being that the dial is a bit hard to turn, but I believe it’s the best hose and sprayer for organic gardeners – let’s start spraying!

Liquid Fish Fertilizer – For Whole Food Nutrition

Liquid Fish Fertilizer

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Canadians buy here

Along with seaweed, fish has been used as a fertilizer for centuries.

But where using fish as fertilizer has liquid seaweed beat is in the nutrients it contains, especially nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P).

N and P are two important elements that are often deficient when our gardens aren’t yet up to a point of cycling nutrients optimally (which is most of the time).

Here’s why we need them:

  • Nitrogen. Is the building block of proteins in plants, and so ultimately proteins in our body. We don’t need all that much nitrogen in the garden, but we do need a quality source, and that’s where liquid fish fertilizer comes in.
  • Phosphorus. This element is important not just for root growth (as is the common myth), but it’s central to photosynthesis and building carbohydrates, and it’s involved with transporting almost every other mineral throughout the plant. Without phosphorus, our plants just aren’t going to be very healthy.

Seaweed has nutrients, too, but we especially use it for the natural plant growth regulators, whereas with fish fertilizer, it’s more about the nutrients.

Plus, if you get a quality fish product, you’ll be getting oils and proteins that feed microbes – that’s why I think of it as true whole food nutrition.

As with seaweed, I generally prefer a liquid fish fertilizer as being the most economical when compared to a fish meal.

How To Make Fish Fertilizer

Fish And Seaweed
Fish and seaweed work really well when combined together in a fertilizer application.

This is some smelly good fun!

Get some fish (ocean fish is much preferred, but any fish will bring in at least some benefits) and grind it up in a blender or food processor. You’ll need a solid machine to break through the bones.

Add water to cover the mixture and then process some more until it’s all blended up nicely.

There you go – you have a basic liquid fish fertilizer.

Now, you could use it right away by mixing it with 10 parts water and watering plants.

But to get much more benefit, you should ferment it further so the nutrients will be more available for plants.

For that, I use 1 teaspoon of SCD/EM per cup of fish/water mixture, but if you don’t have that around and you’re a real do-it-yourselfer, other kinds of probiotics will offer at least some help.

Yogurt or kefir or some other lactic acid culture are good choices – use the same ratio as for the EM above. Or if you have a probiotic supplement, that will offer something too.

Then add 1 teaspoon of sugar or dextrose per cup of fish/water to give the microbes an energy source.

Put the whole mixture into a container with a lid or towel over the top, but don’t tighten the lid because there will be gases produced that would cause the container to explode. So just leave the lid slightly off, or use a carboy that allows gases to escape without oxygen getting in.

After a month or two, the horrible smell will be gone, which means the fish has been consumed by the microbes and your fish fertilizer is extra special and ready to go.

It will be much more beneficial than the fresh fish fertilizer at this point because the microbes have made the nutrients more available to the plants.

Finding A Quality Liquid Fish Fertilizer

By quality, I generally mean a fish hydrolysate fertilizer instead of a fish emulsion fertilizer:

  • A liquid fish emulsion has had most of the fats and proteins removed for use in other products (like fish oil supplements and pet food) and also denatured because of the high-temperature cooking process used. That high temperature destroys a lot of the beneficial components of the fish. Also, chlorinated city water is generally used, so the end product is often very high in chlorine – not good for plants and microbes. An example is the (unfortunately popular) ‘Alaska Fish Fertilizer’ made by chemical company Lilly Miller.
  • A hydrolyzed fish fertilizer is going to retain all that good stuff because it’s done at cooler temperatures, using enzymes, so it retains its vitamins, amino acids and enzymes. A good hydrolysate will have this done before all of the bones, oils, etc. have been removed, when the fish are still fresh – that also means it doesn’t smell bad, or at least not as bad as an emulsion that uses rotting fish.

Note that some companies will create a liquid fish emulsion fertilizer and then add enzymes back in after so they can call the product ‘hydrolyzed,’ but still, many of the beneficial components of the fish will have been destroyed or denatured during the processing.

Now, you won’t see anyone else who sells a hydrolysate saying this, but I actually don’t want to imply that a fish emulsion is useless – it generally has a higher nitrogen number and can be beneficial for soil applications.

But a fish hydrolysate is more of a whole food and is definitely better for encouraging beneficial microbes and for foliar feeding.

I should also mention fish meal fertilizer. It’s a great soil additive, but it’s really expensive, especially when shipping is factored in. Any kind of liquid fish fertilizer is going to be much more cost effective than a fish meal fertilizer.

The Hydrolyzed Fish Fertilizer I Use

Big Pumpkin With Liquid FishThis world record pumpkin was grown with my liquid fish and seaweed.

I’ve experimented with several of the best liquid fish hydrolysates on the market and I’ve been happy with most of them.

I settled on the organic fish fertilizer I use now called Neptune’s Harvest because even though it’s a little more expensive, it’s much more nutrient dense so the application rate is much lower, making it a better deal in the end.

Plus they do a great job of properly processing the fish to retain all the beneficial components. The fish come from the deep, cold waters of the North Atlantic ocean, not near the polluted shore.

There are freshwater fish liquid fertilizers available, but that misses the point because it’s ocean fish that are full of micronutrients, due to the fact that they live in the nutrient-dense ocean.

With this product, once the fillets are removed for human consumption, the rest is made into the fish fertilizer.

It used to be dumped back out in the ocean and was actually creating a dead zone, but they’ve found a way to make good use of it.

I’m very concerned about the overfishing of the oceans, but the way they’re taking this byproduct of fishing that was causing environmental problems solves a lot of the problem for me.

But it certainly could be argued that it’s creating yet another reason to continue fishing the oceans, which is a valid point. The reason I haven’t stopped using it is that it’s just so beneficial for the garden, and if a little bit of ocean fish helps my organic garden produce more food – and much more nutritious food – I think it makes a lot of sense.

As with almost all organic liquid fish fertilizers, they’re using a touch of acid to drop the pH because otherwise the microbes in the product would get so active that the container might explode.

In this case it’s phosphoric acid, the same stuff they use in soda like Coca-Cola that is really not good for us to be consuming, but in the garden, it is VERY useful.

This little amount is allowed in organics (indeed this product is OMRI-Listed), and I would strongly prefer to have it in there than not.

How To Use Fish Fertilizer

Shake the container well before using because sometimes there’s a thick part that separates out.

Use 1 quart per 1000 square feet annually.

I use 1/2 cup of liquid fish fertilizer per 1000 square feet every month, or if I’m also using sea minerals fertilizer, I alternate them every other month (eg. fish in March, sea minerals in April, fish in May, etc.).

Mix it with at least 50 times as much water, which is 1/3 cup (5 Tbsp) per gallon of water, or 3 gallons of water for each 1 cup of fertilizer.

If using a hose-end sprayer, it helps to mix it with some water in the sprayer to make sure it gets through the sprayer okay.

Important Info

I go into more detail about ordering on the main page, but here are a few quick things I’d like to mention:

  • If you have a question about this product, leave it in the comment section at the bottom of of this page and I'll try to respond within a few hours.
  • Shipping is $10 if your order is $25 or less, $15 if your order is $25-$50, $20 if your order is $50-$100, and $25 if your order is more than $100 (AK and HI add $10)
  • Dry fertilizers and compost tea brewers ship for free, separately with USPS instead of UPS, so they will arrive on their own maybe a day or 2 apart from my other products.
  • I ship in the U.S. only. Products ordered by 2pm will ship same day. After that they ship next day. Weekend orders ship Monday.
  • All of my products have a 1 year 100% money-back guarantee.
  • With every order, I send $1 to Organics 4 Orphans and other similar organizations. O4O is working with the world’s poor to help them grow organic, highly nutritious, highly medicinal food for themselves, and then use the surplus food to generate income for themselves as well as feeding the orphans in their communities. My hope this year is to again send $1500US, which is enough to start projects in 25 new communities!

Order Now!

Choose Quantity View Cart
Business Seals In summary, this liquid fish fertilizer:

  • Provides many benefits, but is especially known for providing nitrogen and phosphorus that promote rapid plant growth, as well as the complete fats and proteins that microorganisms need.
  • Is a hydrolysate, processed with enzymes at cool temperatures in order to retain all of the beneficial components.
  • Is organic, OMRI-Listed, and not even too smelly.

As a free bonus when you order today, I’ll also enroll you in my online Biostimulants course.

Just choose your container size and click ‘Add To Cart’ up above!

N-P-K Fertilizer – Overused, Yes, But Still Important

N-P-K Fertilizer

Important: I NO LONGER SELL THIS PRODUCT. It’s an excellent fertilizer, but people weren’t buying it much. I’m keeping this page here for historical purposes.

Conventional gardening uses too much N-P-K fertilizer.

And it does so at the expense of dozens of other nutrients that are really important.

Plus, the forms of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium in N-P-K fertilizers are often harmful to the soil food web, especially triple superphosphate and potassium chloride.

BUT – that’s not to say that N-P-K isn’t important – it’s just that:

  • We don’t want to apply too much, and
  • We want to use forms that don’t harm soil and plants, and
  • We don’t want to forget the other nutrients, and
  • In the organic/biological farming movements, our focus is just as much on CALCIUM as it is on N-P-K fertilizer.

That calcium focus started with the research of Dr. William Albrecht and Dr. Carey Reams and continues to this day among many organic soil consultants and ecological soil labs, as well as many of the incredible people who publish books through Acres U.S.A.

Of course all of the essential minerals are important – it’s just that calcium is very often the main one that’s deficient, and then phosphorus is next on the list.

Calcium And Phosphorus

Sometimes you may have enough calcium and phosphorus on a strong acid or base saturation soil test (i.e. where you’re testing for the total amount of nutrients in the soil).

But they’re often not available on a weak acid or Lamotte/Reams/Saturated Paste soil test (where you’re testing for how much of those nutrients are actually available to plants).

I’ve seen a lot of soil tests over the years, and when you look at the weak acid part of the test to see which nutrients are the least available, it’s often calcium and phosphorus, and fairly regularly nitrogen, too.

So we find it very useful to bring some in.

We bring in dry mineral fertilizers to bring up the soil levels, and liquid fertilizers to bring up the availability.

For the most part, the dry fertilizers are used based on a soil test, but when it comes to calcium and phosphorous, using just tiny amounts of the liquids is almost always a good idea.

Why I Use An N-P-K Fertilizer

I mainly focus on broad spectrum organic fertilizers for my liquid foliar feeding.

That means liquid seaweed, sea minerals and liquid fish. You can certainly create a healthy garden just using these products.

But when I’m in a garden where highly nutrient-dense food is the main goal, sometimes I want a little more of the calcium, phosphorus and nitrogen.

I don’t just want N-P-K alone – I very much prefer to include calcium in there.

In fact, when I found this product, I was really looking for a liquid calcium and phosphorus product. The nitrogen was just a bonus.

Calcium does a lot of things in the plant, but from a food perspective, two of the main end benefits are dramatically improved flavor and shelf life, i.e. increased nutrition and higher brix.

Phosphorus also does a lot of things in a plant, but one thing that isn’t talked about very much in conventional gardening and farming texts is that the phosphate form of phosphorus moves all other minerals through the plant.

In fact, both calcium and phosphate are important for making sure the plant gets all the other minerals.

So if you don’t have enough of those two, your minerals aren’t able to get to where they’re needed.

That’s why it’s nice to have some phosphate when we’re applying foliar fertilizers, especially with calcium because calcium is well known for not moving very far into a plant on its own.

Finding A Quality N-P-K Fertilizer

Liquid calcium is one of the more popular products in organic agriculture, and for good reason, but if you don’t apply it with phosphate, it’s not going to be nearly as effective.

That’s why I spent so much time looking for a calcium and phosphate product.

But a difficulty is that it’s tough to combine calcium and phosphate in the same solution because a reaction occurs that creates a kind of gel.

With this product, they’ve managed to combine the calcium and phosphate (not phosphite or some other much less useful form) into one solution so that calcium can actually be used by the plant.

Plus this product contains the nitrogen that’s often lacking, plus many trace minerals as well, so it really is a fairly complete solution.

There are a few factors that really make an N-P-K fertilizer work well. This is what to look for:

  • An acidic spray is helpful to temporarily soften the wax of the leaf surface in order for the solution to be able to move into the leaf.
  • Including calcium in the mix will help ensure the rest of the nutrients can be properly utilized.
  • Then, we want to have more negative charges in a spray than positive charges, which is where the phosphate and nitrate come in – they’re both negatively charged and so they pull the positively charged calcium and many other nutrients into the leaf.
  • Last, once inside the leaf, calcium and certain other nutrients don’t move through the plant on their own, so the importance of that phosphate is to bind with that calcium and pull it through the plant. That’s what phosphate does.

Organic Vs. Biological

I often call myself an organic gardener, but I would more accurately be called a biological gardener, which is not a legally defined term, but I’ll explain it here:

  • In organic gardening and farming the focus is on avoiding the use of all synthetic products.
  • In biological gardening and farming the focus is on growing the most nutrient-dense food possible, using whichever products would help with that, as long as those products aren’t harming the environment.

Now that’s not to say that there aren’t people in the organic group who are trying to grow nutrient-dense food.

It’s just that the legal regulations around organic farming and gardening are usually about what you can’t use rather than what the outcome should be – nutritious, non-toxic food.

Some have started using this word ‘biological’ to focus more on that outcome. They may use some synthetics to get the job done.

It’s not as though they’re spraying 20-20-20 all over the place or something like that, but there are a few specialty synthetic fertilizers that are very helpful for plant health, and not harmful to soil and environmental health, and so have been deemed worthwhile using in small amounts.

This product would fit into that group.

The Ingredients

The analysis is N-P-K of 5-16-4 – plus 5% calcium.

Those seem like high numbers when compared to organic fertilizers, but we only use 3 Tbsp per 1000 square feet!

So it actually ends up being much less overall fertilizer than a liquid fish fertilizer, but it’s in a form that more easily gets into the leaf and gets immediately used by the plant. It contains:

  • Urea. Urea is the one ingredient I’ve traditionally not been a huge fan of because it’s often in the form of urea formaldehyde, and formaldehyde is not good for any living thing. But a tiny bit of just straight urea is actually a big help in a foliar feed. It has the nitrate form of nitrogen, and it also has carbon to balance it out. It’s probably about 1 of the 5% nitrogen content here.
  • Phosphoric acid. I’ve been a fan of phosphoric acid for a long time, not for human consumption, but for use in the garden in small amounts. That’s one reason why I like using organic liquid fish fertilizer, because it often contains about 2% phosphoric acid. The reason there’s so much phosphate in this mix is because it’s what pulls many other nutrients into the leaf.
  • Potassium phosphate. Potassium phosphate is another quality fertilizer. I think it’s main use here is to allow the phosphoric acid and calcium nitrate to coexist in the same formula. It supplies a bit of potassium, too, which is no doubt useful at this small of a dose.
  • Calcium nitrate. Another excellent fertilizer – a great source of calcium and nitrogen. It’s probably about 4 of the 5% nitrogen content here.

At the incredibly low application rates, I believe this product is one of the few synthetics that should be used in a garden where the goal is optimal health.

But Should You Use It?

I’m actually not going to spend much time convincing anyone to use it. I know some people have it in their head that all synthetic products are bad, and I can certainly understand that.

It definitely won’t be one of my biggest sellers – but those who are growing food and decide to give it a try are going to be very happy.

I mainly wanted to make it available to people who already know the benefits of getting just a small amount of N-P-K fertilizer with calcium directly into the plant.

If that’s you, I imagine this product might become the foundation of your foliar program along with seaweed, fish and/or sea minerals.

One last thing about the fact that this product isn’t organic. Just so you know, I don’t use Miracle Gro or 10-10-10 or almost any other synthetic fertilizer because they’re harmful to the environment and the soil food web, but this product does not fit with those other ones – this product is high quality all the way.

How To Use It

Use just 3 Tbsp per 1000 square feet, at least monthly and as often as 4 times per month. No benefit to using any more than that per application.

I use it every 2 weeks during my main growing months in the spring and early summer, about 8 times per year total.

So for me 1/3 quart will do 1000 square feet for a year.

Mix it with at least 50 times as much water, which is just over 1 Tbsp per quart of water, or a little more than 1/2 gallon of water for each 3 Tbsp of fertilizer.

You also want to mix it with dextrose at 3 Tbsp per 1000 square feet in order to make the product much more effective.

And if possible, mix it with liquid seaweed fertilizer for even more benefit. It’s also often combined with liquid fish.

It shouldn’t be mixed with microbial inoculants, as it will be too acidic for them. It’s the acidity that helps it penetrate the leaf surface. What I like to do is come through the garden a day or two later with effective microorganisms or compost tea to inoculate the leaf surface with beneficial microbes.

Free $25 Bonus When You Buy Today

When you buy this n-p-k fertilizer with calcium, you get enrolled into my online Chemical Fertilizers course where I talk about the problems with using most chemicals, and the benefits of using just a small selection of them.

The course includes 10 videos totaling about 60 minutes where I chat about those problems and benefits, calcium, phosphorus and nitrogen, micronutrients, how to choose them and how to use them.

Important Info

I go into more detail about ordering on the main page, but here are a few quick things I’d like to mention:

  • If you have a question about this product, leave it in the comment section at the bottom of of this page and I'll try to respond within a few hours.
  • Shipping is $10 if your order is $25 or less, $15 if your order is $25-$50, $20 if your order is $50-$100, and $25 if your order is more than $100 (AK and HI add $10)
  • Dry fertilizers and compost tea brewers ship for free, separately with USPS instead of UPS, so they will arrive on their own maybe a day or 2 apart from my other products.
  • I ship in the U.S. only. Products ordered by 2pm will ship same day. After that they ship next day. Weekend orders ship Monday.
  • All of my products have a 1 year 100% money-back guarantee.
  • With every order, I send $1 to Organics 4 Orphans and other similar organizations. O4O is working with the world’s poor to help them grow organic, highly nutritious, highly medicinal food for themselves, and then use the surplus food to generate income for themselves as well as feeding the orphans in their communities. My hope this year is to again send $1500US, which is enough to start projects in 25 new communities!

Order Now!

In summary, this N-P-K Fertilizer:

  • Includes calcium and phosphorus, undoubtedly the most important part of the fertilizer.
  • Helps plants do everything better, because when plants have sufficient calcium and phosphorus, a whole host of other processes can happen properly.
  • Is the only non-organic product I carry, just because I believe in it so much.

As a free bonus when you order today, I’ll also enroll you in my online course on Chemical Fertilizers.

Important: Be sure to pick up 2 pounds of dextrose for each quart of n-p-k fertilizer, which is really important for helping the fertilizer penetrate into the leaf.

Just choose your container size and click ‘Add To Cart’ up above!

Pure Neem Oil For Plants – The ‘Healthy’ Pesticide

Pure Neem Oil Bottle

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If you tend to buy healthy/organic/non-toxic versions of many household products, you may have seen ‘neem oil’ listed in the ingredients.

It’s used in formulations such as toothpaste and shampoo, or you may use a neem oil soap.

As a natural insecticide, fungicide and bactericide, people have been using neem for thousands of years.

And many of the benefits we get from using it ourselves translate to the garden, too.

To get those benefits, you want to find a pure neem oil that’s a cold pressed neem oil, organically produced.

So what is neem oil? It comes from the seeds of the neem tree, Azadirachta indica, now grown in over 70 countries all around the world.

For many years I avoided using neem oil for plants because I tend to stay away from anything that might be considered a pesticide, but I’ve been reading more about it over the past couple of years and my opinion has changed.

I started experimenting with it on my fruit trees last year, and now believe it’s one of those rare phenomenons that repels pests without causing too much trouble for the beneficial organisms in our organic gardens.

I successfully controlled aphids and mildew, and the really cool part is that the leaves I sprayed were noticeably healthier than the ones I didn’t, which proved to me that this is not like most pesticides that harm plants.

There’s even anecdotal evidence, mostly coming from organic orchardists who swear by a whole list of neem oil uses, that it’s actually helpful for the soil and arboreal food web.

That’s why I called it the ‘healthy’ pesticide.

I still wouldn’t spray it haphazardly around the garden, but if you experienced some pest damage last year, I believe cold pressed, pure neem oil is potentially one of the best options to improve your situation this year. Read on below to see why…

First, Does Pure Neem Oil Cause Any Problems?

Neem Tree
The neem tree, Azadirachta indica, is native to the Indian subcontinent including Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Nepal.

The great thing about neem seed oil is that it mainly affects plant-feeding insects that suck or chew on leaves, so beneficial insects including bees, butterflies and other pollinators that feed on nectar aren’t much affected.

Other beneficials such as ladybugs, earthworms and spiders aren’t affected either unless they’re sprayed directly with a fairly heavy dose.

Research shows that only repeated applications of very high concentrations of neem – far exceeding those you’ll be using – had a small impact on some bee populations.

Personally, I still wouldn’t advocate blanketing the whole garden with neem oil like I do with microbial inoculants and liquid fertilizers, but some advocates including well-known orchardist and author Michael Phillips do use it as part of a regular spray program, mixed with liquid fish and other biostimulants.

As for human safety, pure neem oil is not only natural, but is actually used in many applications for our health – neem oil for skin, neem oil for hair, neem oil for dogs, and so on.

The residue from spraying your vegetables is non-toxic, but you don’t want to ingest it. Neem oil can be irritating to eyes, skin and stomach, and negatively impact fertility, so as with most things we spray in our garden, don’t drink it or go splashing it all over your face.

WebMD says, among other things, “Taking neem seeds or oil by mouth is LIKELY UNSAFE for children. Serious side effects in infants and small children can happen within hours after taking neem oil. These serious side effects include vomiting, diarrhea, drowsiness, blood disorders, seizures, loss of consciousness, coma, brain disorders, and death.” and “Neem oil and neem bark are LIKELY UNSAFE when taken by mouth during pregnancy. They can cause a miscarriage. Not enough is known about the safety of need during breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.”

Neem breaks down quickly without a lasting residue and has a low environmental impact. You can spray neem pretty much up to the day of harvest as it breaks down quickly.

The only thing to be careful of is not to spray too close to waterways because neem oil has been shown to be mildly toxic to aquatic organisms.

Neem Oil Pesticide – How It Works

Neem Seeds
Neem seeds.

Neem oil insecticide uses. Pure neem oil can kill soft-bodied insects and mites on contact, which is one reason why you want to spray it in the early morning or evening when the pollinators aren’t out as much, to avoid spraying them.

But that’s not the main method of action of how it controls pests.

First, neem oil repels insects and other animals directly when they encounter it on the leaves.

And when you spray it on the soil, the plant will take it up systemically, which will deter insects from feeding even more.

But for those insects who do still feed, the oil contains many different components that are not going to bode well for them, the most active and well-researched being a metabolite called azadirachtin.

When a plant-feeding insect feeds on a leaf that has been sprayed with pure neem oil, the azadirachtin interferes with the insect’s hormonal system, which inhibits their eating, mating and egg laying patterns. It also inhibits growth which prevents larvae from moulting and eggs from hatching.

Because azadirachtin acts on the hormonal system, insects don’t develop resistance in future generations, thereby making it a sustainable solution.

While azadirachtin is the most researched metabolite, I expect there are many others that are involved.

Neem oil fungicide uses. Organic compounds in the oil spark an immune response to prevent fungal diseases such as mildew, black spot, rust, rot, scab, leaf spot and blights.

And a quality, cold pressed neem oil will occasionally control some of these diseases when they’re already present.

It’s also been used as a seed treatment to successfully prevent phytopathogenic fungal diseases, but I’ve not used it for that myself.

A Brief Word On “Pests”

I’m using the word pest a lot in this article and I’d like to speak to that.

We call something a pest because it’s doing something we don’t like, but really, it’s just an animal or microorganism doing its job.

I may think about the tomato hornworm as a pest when it chows down on my tomato plants, but in reality, the reason it’s doing that is because my tomato plants aren’t optimally healthy.

As I’ve talked about before, insects and diseases don’t cause much problem when our plants are healthy, so when we see that they are causing problems, our first plan of action should be to improve plant health, not to reach for the pesticide, because that won’t solve the root cause of the problem.

The first thing I reach for is my favorite microbial inoculant and one of my favorite liquid organic fertilizers.

Both of these help boost plant health, sometimes enough to make the “pests” go away entirely, sometime just enough so they don’t cause as much of a problem, and sometimes it doesn’t seem to help much at all, because it may be that something else is going on.

So the other thing I do is think about what else could be contributing to the problem – improper watering, airflow, sun exposure, soil imbalances, etc. There’s always a reason, whether or not I can figure it out.

Traditionally, an organic pesticide is the last thing I reach for. Now, the cool thing about pure neem oil is that it actually seems to boost plant health too, whereas most pesticides harm plants, so I do reach for it sooner than I would with other pesticides.

But I still want to remember to also bring in some foliar nutrition and some beneficial microorganisms, to take more of a holistic approach to addressing the root cause of the problem.

So yes, I use the word “pests” because then we can all understand what I’m talking about, but really, they’re just insects and fungi that are trying to remove the unhealthy plants from my food supply.

I suppose we should be saying thanks to the pests, but we do love our tomatoes don’t we?

Okay, back to neem oil…

Other Pure Neem Oil Benefits

Neem oil is nutritious, so it actually acts as a foliar fertilizer.

But perhaps more important, the fatty acids are especially good for plants and some fungi.

A lot of research I’ve come across states that neem is good for soils, too, but they don’t usually say much more than that, so I can’t speak to it much. I think because most research is focused on using neem oil for plants as a pesticide that the soil benefits are considered secondary.

But I do know that a ‘neem cake’ is made from the organic residue after pure neem oil is pressed from the seeds, and that cake is used as a soil conditioner.

Do You Need Neem Oil For Plants?

Neem Oil Seeds

If your plants are generally healthy and you don’t have much in the way of insect or disease problems, I wouldn’t suggest neem oil.

Some proponents recommend it be used regularly, almost like a broad spectrum fertilizer, and maybe there’s something to that, but personally, I don’t want to kill insects unnecessarily, so I save this for plants that really need some extra help.

In that case, it’s my number one choice. It helps control nearly 200 species of insects, 15 of fungi and allegedly some bacteria and viruses.

It’s most effective for either eradicating or at least deterring insects feeding on leaves. Here is a list of some of the main insects it can help control:

ants
aphids
armyworms
bagworms
bed bugs
beetles
billbugs
black headed caterpillars
blister beetles
boll worms
boring insects (many types)
cabbage worms
cankerworms
caterpillars
Colorado potato beetles
corn ear worms
cotton stainers
cutworms
eriophyid mites
flea beetles
fruit flies
fruit sucking moths
fungus gnats
gall
gypsy moths
houseflies
Japanese beetles
lace bugs
leaf hoppers
leaf miners
leaf webbers
locusts
mealy bugs
Mexican bean beetles
midges
mites (not an insect)
moths and moth larvae
mushroom flies
mosquitoes
pod bug
pulse beetle
red palm weevil
root grubs
root weevil adults
sand flies
sawflies
scale
semi loopers
spider mites
spindle bugs
spotted beetles
squash bugs
tea mosquito
termites
thrips
white grubs
whiteflies

 

Some people have also had success controlling snails and slugs, but not always.

Finding A Quality Neem Oil

In terms of where to buy neem oil, be sure to seek out a product that is a cold pressed, 100% pure neem oil, preferably organic.

Pure neem oil for sale that was cold pressed contains much higher levels of active ingredients, which makes it more effective.

If possible, try to find the percentage of azadirachtin. This particular product varies between 1800-2200ppm. A higher ppm is achievable, but often by way of chemical extraction.

Commercial neem sprays often have chemicals added to them and often only include a neem oil extract with just the azadirachtin which greatly limits the effectiveness.

The Garden Safe neem oil and Bonide neem oil brands both have 30% “Other” ingredients and they don’t disclose what those are.

What you want is a pure, cold pressed neem oil, not an extraction, and free of additional harmful ingredients.

How Much Neem Oil Do You Need?

I just keep a 16oz size around my house because that’s plenty for my home garden.

That size will do about 1000 square feet of orchard for a whole growing season, and several times that size for a vegetable garden.

Store your neem oil in a cool, dark place. Room temperature is okay, or the refrigerator is a good place for it, too. It will last about two years if you do this.

How To Use Neem Oil For Plants

Pure Neem Oil Seeds

You can use neem oil throughout the growing season on all types of plants. Just be careful with seedlings and young plants in general, as they tend to be more vulnerable to any type of spray.

It’s best to start early in the season to prevent the main infection period of fungi, disrupt egg hatch of soft-bodied insects and target overwintering moths in the trunk and soil.

On plants that you know will have pest problems, you can spray for prevention every 1-2 weeks starting in late winter, and especially when the problem season approaches for that plant, and then for maintenance every 2-4 weeks after that.

If you have a specific pest to control, you can spray every 3 days for at least 2 weeks. This is approximately the length of one life cycle for many insects.

Here’s what orchardist Michael Phillips says about when to use neem oil: “I apply pure neem oil along with liquid fish at the week of quarter-inch green, pink, petal fall, and 7 to 10 days after that. This early season program addresses many orchard health fronts including the primary infection period of fungal diseases like scab and rust. I continue to use neem through the summer on a 10 to 14 day schedule, again coinciding with any other specific spray needs. A late August spray on the later varieties finishes up the use of neem oil for the season here in northern New Hampshire.”

If you want to know what he means by “quarter-inch green” and so on, here’s an example for an apple tree.

Like unrefined coconut oil, pure neem oil becomes solid and thick at cooler temperatures, so if necessary, you can warm up the whole bottle by placing it in a pot of warm water, or you can just mix the neem directly with warm water before spraying. Don’t use hot water as heat destroys azadirachtin.

The oil and water will separate, so you’ll want to use an emulsifier to stabilize the mixture. Generally what’s used is liquid soap, which also has insecticidal properties. Unfortunately, dish detergents are quite hard on plants, so I use a non-toxic Castile soap such as Dr Bronner’s.

Total application rate of neem oil is 1-2 cups per 1000 square feet per year, which could be divided into small-dose, weekly sprayings or larger-dose, monthly sprayings. For example, if you spray 6 times this year, that’s about 3-6 Tbsp of neem oil per 1000 square feet each time. Lean to the lower end if your plants are small, like vegetables in spring.

To apply, mix 1.5 Tbsp of neem oil with 1/2 teaspoon of non-toxic liquid soap per gallon of water and shake like crazy before and during application. This makes for a 1:170 ratio of neem oil to water (1:150 to 1:200 seems to be the norm). That amount will do about 250-500 square feet, but don’t spray too much on young seedlings – it’s better to wait until plants are bigger for most types of foliar spraying, as tiny plants can be quite vulnerable to overapplication.

If you’re using a standalone sprayer and plan to spray, for example, 3 gallons of water, that’s about 4.5 Tbsp of neem oil (1.5*3). For soil and trunk applications in early spring and late fall when there are no leaves on your trees and shrubs, you can double the dilution to 3 Tbsp of neem oil per gallon of water, but let’s stick with 1.5 for this example.

If you’re using a hose-end sprayer, here’s how I do it. First, mix the neem oil in a jar with warm water and soap. Fill a jar with about 7 times (I’ll explain why 7 in a minute) as much warm water as the neem oil (nearly 2 cups of warm water for our 1.5 Tbsp of neem in this example) and add 1/2 teaspoon of non-toxic liquid soap for each 1.5 Tbsp of neem oil (1.5 teaspoons of soap in this example).

Then slowly pour in the neem oil while vigorously mixing the liquid. This is similar to how a good salad dressing is made – the oil needs to be added slowly and mixed really well in order to emulsify it. Alternatively, using a blender to mix this all together can work, but then your blender smells like neem, which isn’t very nice.

The reason I use this seemingly random number of 7 times as much warm water as neem oil with a hose-end sprayer is because if I set that sprayer to spray 10 Tbsp of neem oil per gallon of water, and I’ve already mixed that neem oil with 7 parts water, that brings the actual ratio back down to about 1.5 Tbsp per gallon of water (if that gets used up too fast for you, bring it down to 5 Tbsp per gallon of water).

Even better, use less water and instead add some liquid fish and/or liquid seaweed fertilizer and spray them at the same time. I always try to combine products when possible since I’m out there spraying anyway, and fish and seaweed are the best matches for pure neem oil.

For those of you using my hose end sprayer or another pint-capacity sprayer, I add 4 Tbsp of neem oil to the sprayer along with 1/2 Tbsp of non-toxic liquid soap, and then fill it up the rest of the way with warm water (and perhaps 1/2 cup of fish or seaweed). Shake very well. Set to setting 10 and spray.

Another way to do the math is to make a 25% ratio of neem oil to water (1 Tbsp of neem oil for every 3 Tbsp of water). Then set the sprayer to setting 5, which is a 2% ratio (5 Tbsp per gallon of water). That 25% ratio with that 2% ratio gives a 0.5% ratio (1:200).

I don’t mix this with microbial inoculants because I don’t think the microbes would like the oil, so I come through with my EM or compost tea a few days later or whenever I get to it.

Use your neem and water mixture within 8 hours because it will break down afterward. Then clean your sprayer immediately to keep it from clogging up with oil.

When you spray the leaves, make sure that you also spray the undersides because insects like to hide there.

It’s always useful to spray the soil too because insects lay their eggs in the ground, and because the fatty acids in the oil are beneficial for the soil food web.

Don’t be discouraged if you don’t see immediate effects. Remember that neem oil concentrate primarily works not by contact, but by disturbing the hormonal systems of insects, so it can take some time.

If you have any questions about neem oil, let me know down below.

Important Info

I go into more detail about ordering on the main page, but here are a few quick things I’d like to mention:

  • If you have a question about this product, leave it in the comment section at the bottom of of this page and I'll try to respond within a few hours.
  • Shipping is $10 if your order is $25 or less, $15 if your order is $25-$50, $20 if your order is $50-$100, and $25 if your order is more than $100 (AK and HI add $10)
  • Dry fertilizers and compost tea brewers ship for free, separately with USPS instead of UPS, so they will arrive on their own maybe a day or 2 apart from my other products.
  • I ship in the U.S. only. Products ordered by 2pm will ship same day. After that they ship next day. Weekend orders ship Monday.
  • All of my products have a 1 year 100% money-back guarantee.
  • With every order, I send $1 to Organics 4 Orphans and other similar organizations. O4O is working with the world’s poor to help them grow organic, highly nutritious, highly medicinal food for themselves, and then use the surplus food to generate income for themselves as well as feeding the orphans in their communities. My hope this year is to again send $1500US, which is enough to start projects in 25 new communities!

Neem Oil For Sale – Order Now!

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Business Seals In summary, this neem oil:

  • Helps control nearly 200 species of insects and 15 of fungi, without causing much harm to beneficials such as bees, butterflies and earthworms, but I still suggest it be used sensibly only on plants that need it.
  • Also seems to act as a biostimulant, encouraging a healthier soil food web. It is especially advocated by organic orchardists such as Michael Phillips as part of a regular spray program.
  • Is 100% pure and cold pressed, which makes it much more effective than the cheaper products that are just extracts of neem.

As a free bonus when you order today, I’ll also enrol you in my online course on controlling plant predators.

Just click ‘Add To Cart’ up above!

Liquid Seaweed Fertilizer – Most Popular Organic Fertilizer

Liquid Seaweed Fertilizer

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Canadians buy here

Plants have to deal with a lot of environmental stressors.

These include heat, cold, wind, drought and disease.

That’s where liquid seaweed fertilizer comes in.

Seaweed for plants has been used by gardeners and farmers for thousands of years.

People collected it off the beach and put it right on their gardens as a seaweed fertilizer diy and mulch that quickly broke down, releasing dozens of minerals and vitamins and other beneficial components.

When I lived near the ocean in Victoria, B.C., I would drive to a nearby beach to do the same.

But nowadays I use liquid seaweed fertilizers instead, made from one of the most common seaweeds: kelp.

Kelp for plants: from the beach, it’s a wonderful soil amendment, but when we don’t have it around, a seaweed liquid fertilizer still brings many of the same benefits.

And a big advantage of these liquids over the solids is that we can spray them directly onto plant leaves for direct leaf uptake.

When you do that, the plants still get that nice shot of dozens and dozens of different minerals and vitamins.

But the main benefit of liquid seaweed is the natural plant growth regulators and hormones it contains that help plants grow faster, healthier and stronger.

And one of the main things they do is help plants deal with those environmental stressors.

Benefits Of Liquid Seaweed Fertilizer

Big Watermelon With Liquid Kelp Fertilizer
These record-breaking watermelon were grown with my liquid seaweed fertiliser and liquid fish.

Probably the most important of seaweed fertilizer benefits is that it’s the best when it comes to boosting plant health and helping plants deal with environmental stressors such as heat, cold, wind, drought and disease.

Like all of my organic fertilizers, it can have a big impact on boosting plant growth, but I often think of it as really excelling at promoting healthier plants.

Using seaweed as fertilizer also increases overall nutrition, including protein content (we’ve lost a lot of protein in our crops in the last 50 years).

Seaweed feed has been well studied and has become a mainstay of organic farming and gardening. T. L. Senn did a lot of research on using seaweed as a fertilizer back in the day. He eventually wrote a great little book called ‘Seaweed and Plant Growth.’

His research showed not only the kelp fertilizer benefits for plant health and growth, but also that a quality liquid seaweed can help control insect pests such as spider mites.

Who Needs This The Most?

The reason I recommend this to everyone is because it really is helpful in most gardens.

It doesn’t necessarily give the big boost in plant growth that some products give, but it really boosts plant health, which helps discourage pests.

It’s just a nice piece of preventative health care to bring into the mix, and at times can be a quick cure for various ailments a plant may face.

That’s why organic farming consultants often recommend it be included in any spray application regardless of what else is being used.

Seaweed Fertilizer Make Your Own

How to make seaweed fertilizer: if you live near a beach with some seaweed on it, you can just take that and use it directly as a seaweed garden mulch, provided it’s legal in your area to remove it.

Be sure to leave some for the beach, though, as it has a big role to play there as food and habitat for many different species.

Or if you want to make a basic liquid seaweed fertilizer, pack the seaweed into an airtight container and fill it with water. You don’t have to rinse off the salt first.

Let it sit for at least a couple of weeks (or more like a couple of months in cold weather).

It smells quite bad because it’s an anaerobic fermentation, but that’s okay. Adding a bit of SCD/EM into the water can cut down on that.

When you’re ready, mix it with 10 parts water and spray it directly onto your plants. It’s not nearly as concentrated as a professionally manufactured kelp fertiliser, but will still have many benefits.

If you let it sit long enough, the seaweed will probably decompose and dissolve, but if there’s any left, you can still throw it onto your garden as a mulch.

Finding A Quality Liquid Kelp Fertilizer

Seaweed Fertilizer From The Ocean
Some seaweeds can grow over 2 feet per day.

There are several species of seaweed that are commonly used for fertilizer.

There are debates as to which one is best, but the similarities are far more important than the differences, so when you’re looking for a seaweed garden fertilizer, my view is to not worry too much about the species.

What’s more important is that the kelp plant food be processed without heat and high pressure, so as to keep as many of the beneficial components in tact, and also without toxic chemicals like potassium hydroxide and sodium hydroxide.

Most seaweed fertilizers use one of these caustic chemicals along with high heat and pressure, but we want an organic seaweed fertilizer that’s processed at cooler temperatures without chemicals.

Even some of the organic products, like the popular Maxicrop liquid seaweed, are processed in such a way that they don’t retain near as many of the natural growth regulators and even the beneficial microbes. That’s not to say products like that wouldn’t have any benefit, but they’re definitely not the same quality.

The other thing to think about is whether the manufacturer is sustainably harvesting the seaweed, because overharvesting is becoming an issue. That can be more difficult to figure out.

What I do is contact the manufacturer to ask what they’re doing to make sure their process is sustainable. If they have a good answer instead of brushing me off, that’s a good start. Then I go to the internet to see if anyone else has any more info on the company.

I would like more solid info that that, but seaweed harvesting is not an issue under public scrutiny at this point, even by environmental organizations, so I kind of have to go with word of mouth.

The liquid seaweed fertilizer I use is from Neptune’s Harvest, cold processed and organic. I did some digging and found that it’s made by Thorvin, one of the best seaweed manufacturers in the world when it comes to quality and sustainability.

In terms of quality, they dry the seaweed at low temperatures using geothermal energy in order to retain the nutrients and preserve bioavailability.

In terms of sustainability, they harvest in a geographically remote location in very clean water, away from agricultural run-off and commercial shipping. They also rotate harvests to allow for sufficient regenerative growth.

How To Use Seaweed Fertilizer

Use 1 quart per 1000 square feet annually.

So I use 1/2 cup of liquid seaweed fertilizer per 1000 square feet every month for 8 months.

Mix it with at least 50 times as much water, which is 1/3 cup (5 Tbsp) per gallon of water, or 1.5 gallons of water for each 1/2 cup of fertilizer.

It goes great with any other liquid product, which is why it ends up in my mix every month.

Liquid seaweed is great mixed with liquid fish and molasses/dextrose. It also goes well with EM, compost tea and mycorrhizal fungi.

You can soak/spray your seeds and root balls to improve germination and early root growth, and decrease transplant shock. Do that at the same ratio above. I often soak seeds overnight before planting.

Free $25 Bonus When You Buy Today

When you buy this liquid seaweed fertilizer, you get enrolled into my online Biostimulants course.

The course includes 10 videos totaling about 75 minutes where I chat about seaweed, fish, sea minerals, molasses/dextrose, rock dust, and how to use them all.

Important Info

I go into more detail about ordering on the main page, but here are a few quick things I’d like to mention:

  • If you have a question about this product, leave it in the comment section at the bottom of of this page and I'll try to respond within a few hours.
  • Shipping is $10 if your order is $25 or less, $15 if your order is $25-$50, $20 if your order is $50-$100, and $25 if your order is more than $100 (AK and HI add $10)
  • Dry fertilizers and compost tea brewers ship for free, separately with USPS instead of UPS, so they will arrive on their own maybe a day or 2 apart from my other products.
  • I ship in the U.S. only. Products ordered by 2pm will ship same day. After that they ship next day. Weekend orders ship Monday.
  • All of my products have a 1 year 100% money-back guarantee.
  • With every order, I send $1 to Organics 4 Orphans and other similar organizations. O4O is working with the world’s poor to help them grow organic, highly nutritious, highly medicinal food for themselves, and then use the surplus food to generate income for themselves as well as feeding the orphans in their communities. My hope this year is to again send $1500US, which is enough to start projects in 25 new communities!

Order Now!

Choose Quantity View Cart
Business Seals In summary, this liquid seaweed fertilizer:

  • Provides many benefits, but is especially known for improving plant health and helping plants deal with heat, cold, wind, drought and disease.
  • Is manufactured sustainably, without heat and pressure and caustic chemicals, therefore providing much more benefit than other brands.
  • Is organic (not OMRI-Listed but meets requirements for NOP), and undoubtedly one of the most popular organic fertilizers available.

As a free bonus when you order today, I’ll also enroll you in my online Biostimulants course.

Just choose your container size and click ‘Add To Cart’ up above!

Sea Minerals Fertilizer – My Favorite Fertilizer

Sea Minerals Fertilizer

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Canadians buy here

If you’re lucky enough to live right beside the ocean, I’m envious of not only your view of the surf, but the incredible fertilizer you have at your doorstep.

Sea minerals fertilizer is definitely my favorite organic fertilizer. It has very noticeably improved the health and increased the growth and yield of many of my plants.

Rivers and volcanoes have been adding minerals to the sea for hundreds of millions of years, which is why it is so nutrient dense in there.

That’s what we need to emulate in our gardens.

Fortunately these days, we all have access to it, even if we live far away from the sea…

Benefits Of Sea Minerals Fertilizer

Sea Minerals Fertilizer On Raspberries

Yes, the ocean has salt, but it also has over over 80 other minerals that are immediately available to plants upon application.

On the other hand, seaweed fertilizer and fish fertilizer and most organic fertilizers need to be worked on by microorganisms first – not a problem if you’re ensuring these microorganisms are there, but just an extra step in the process.

Dr. Maynard Murray was one of the early pioneers of using sea minerals for fertilizer. He purchased a farm and started bringing railroad cars of ocean water in to fertilize it. Sea Minerals Fertilizer On Carrots

He got bigger yields, tastier and more nutritious food, far fewer pests and just healthier plants in general.

How To Use Straight Ocean Water In The Garden

If you’re lucky enough to live near the ocean, you don’t need to go through the process of concentrating the sea water down and removing the sodium chloride.

Certainly there are benefits to that, but there’s also something to be said for walking out your door and getting some free fertilizer.

Of course you don’t want to use ocean water from a polluted bay, but if your little piece of sea is relatively clean, go for it.

As for application rate, early experiments showed that various plants would take anywhere from 1200-3000ml of sea water per square foot of soil. That’s a lot! Apparently 1 application would last for 5 years.

If I’m doing it, based on what I’ve learned, I apply more like 1 teaspoon diluted in 3 Tablespoons of water (1:10 ratio) per square foot (5000ml of ocean water per 1000 square feet), 4 times per year every year, for both foliar and soil applications.

But most of us don’t live by the ocean. Fortunately, there are a couple of companies doing a really good job of concentrating that sea water down into a liquid fertilizer while still retaining the important constituents of the water.

Finding A Quality Sea Mineral Fertilizer

Sea Minerals Fertilizer On Apples

The product I use is called Sea-Crop and I’ve been using it for many years. Thirty gallons of seawater are used to make 1 gallon of this concentrate.

There are a couple of reasons I like it more than the other ocean fertilizers I’ve tried:

  • The first is that 95% of the sodium chloride is removed. Now in my view, this isn’t as big of a deal as the manufacturer contends, as I believe the sodium and chlorine are just part of the natural balance of sea minerals, but what I do like is that have less sodium allows for a higher application rate than could otherwise be used.
  • But the bigger reason I like this product is because they do a great job of retaining the microscopic organic component of the water – the dead (and perhaps some living) microbes and plant matter. I’ve done a lot of research into the various methods of processing ocean water and usually this component is substantially decreased, especially in sea solids fertilizer such as ‘Sea Minerals FA’ and ‘Sea 90 Fertilizer’, therefore so is the effect on plants (these are still fine products and certainly useful in some cases, but I prefer the much more alive Sea-Crop).

And here’s an email from a biology student who took it upon himself to test the product:

“My name is Josh, I bought 1 gallon of Seacrop at the 2015 Tilth and promised a subjective microscopic analysis. For the procedure, I filled mason jars 3/4 with deionized water and added the exact same weight of inoculant (containing bacteria and fungi) to each container. Subsequent additions of kelp extract and fish emulsion were identical between samples, as were temperature and oxygen components. The only perceivable discrepancy amongst samples was addition of Seacrop to only one sample. The difference in bacterial population was astounding, where the non-Seacrop sample had no bacteria and the sample with Seacrop was exploding with a diverse range of beneficial bacteria. Good job on a great product that works better than I could have imagined!”
– Joshua Peterson, Entomological Aide and Biocontrol Technician, Wenatchee Valley College

How To Use Sea Crop In The Garden

It’s more expensive than liquid kelp and fish, but the application rate is only 1/3 quart per 1000 square feet annually (up to 2/3 quart for orchards), so it doesn’t end up costing much more.

I use 1/3 cup of sea minerals fertilizer per 1000 square feet (or 2/3 cup for orchards), every other month, alternating with liquid fish fertilizer (eg. fish in March, sea minerals in April, fish in May, etc.).

So for me 1 quart will do 1000 square feet for 3 years, and 1 gallon will do 4000 square feet for 3 years.

Mix it with at least 50 times as much water, which is 1/3 cup (5 Tbsp) per gallon of water.

Sea minerals is great mixed with liquid seaweed and molasses/dextrose. It also goes well with EM, compost tea and mycorrhizal fungi. The manufacturer of this sea minerals says it’s best not to apply it in the same spray as liquid fish in order to keep its effectiveness optimal – I’m not sure how big of an issue that is, but it’s one reason I started alternating them every other month.

To soak your seeds for 4-12 hours before planting, you can mix it with 100 times as much water, which is 1/2 teaspoon per cup of water. I also often mix with liquid seaweed when I do this.

Free $25 Bonus When You Buy Today

When you buy this sea minerals fertilizer, you get enrolled into my online Biostimulants course.

The course includes 10 videos totaling about 75 minutes where I chat about seaweed, fish, sea minerals, molasses/dextrose, rock dust, and how to use them all.

Important Info

I go into more detail about ordering on the main page, but here are a few quick things I’d like to mention:

  • If you have a question about this product, leave it in the comment section at the bottom of of this page and I'll try to respond within a few hours.
  • Shipping is $10 if your order is $25 or less, $15 if your order is $25-$50, $20 if your order is $50-$100, and $25 if your order is more than $100 (AK and HI add $10)
  • Dry fertilizers and compost tea brewers ship for free, separately with USPS instead of UPS, so they will arrive on their own maybe a day or 2 apart from my other products.
  • I ship in the U.S. only. Products ordered by 2pm will ship same day. After that they ship next day. Weekend orders ship Monday.
  • All of my products have a 1 year 100% money-back guarantee.
  • With every order, I send $1 to Organics 4 Orphans and other similar organizations. O4O is working with the world’s poor to help them grow organic, highly nutritious, highly medicinal food for themselves, and then use the surplus food to generate income for themselves as well as feeding the orphans in their communities. My hope this year is to again send $1500US, which is enough to start projects in 25 new communities!

Order Now!

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Business Seals In summary, this sea minerals fertilizer:

  • Is my favorite fertilizer, often producing very impressive increases in growth and yield, not to mention plant health.
  • Is made by concentrating clean ocean water 30 times, removing most of the sodium chloride, keeping the other remaining 80+ elements along with the beneficial organic component.
  • Is organic, OMRI-Listed and the most sustainable fertilizer I know of.

As a free bonus when you order today, I’ll also enroll you in my online Biostimulants course.

Just choose your container size and click ‘Add To Cart’ up above!

The Best Compost Tea Brewer On The Market

Compost Tea Brewer Bucket

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Canadians buy here

There are tens of thousands of different species of microorganisms that have a huge part to play in the health of your garden.

They kill diseases, feed and protect plants, improve the soil, and perform a long list of other jobs.

In 2006, I was running my organic gardening business and learning that my clients’ gardens were deficient in proper biology.

And luckily I had just finished reading ‘The Compost Tea Brewing Manual’ and studying compost tea in general, and discovered the importance of bringing these important microorganisms back into the garden.

So I decided to try it. I started with the highly recommended KIS compost tea brewer – one of the first and still best tea brewers on the market (based on independent lab testing) – and I never looked back.

Even compost tea guru Elaine Ingham of Soil FoodWeb Inc. recommends the KIS brewer as being one of the best brewers.

“The KIS brewers are extremely easy to set up and use, very easy to clean, and make great teas by extracting all the species of bacteria, fungi, protists, and nematodes present in the compost into the tea. Using the right resources, the KIS brewer can get fantastic fungal biomass growing in their tea maker.

Using the KIS starter foods and compost, we have never seen the KIS brewer have a problem maintaining aeration. Even if “poor compost” has been used, where E.coli and other pathogens were in high numbers, these problem organisms have been dropped to less than detectable levels by the proper use of this machine.”

Dr. Elaine Ingham, Soil Microbiologist

“From the instant I got my KIS brewer, I knew it was going to be fun. The instructions were so simple that I set it up in about three minutes and turned it on before I went to bed. I used the tea in our greenhouse the very next morning (14 hours later instead of 12, but that was only because I slept in!). It was a fine looking brew with a great smell, good feel, and excellent color.

I was quite sure my plants would appreciate it and I couldn’t wait until the snow melted and I could get out and use the KIS-made compost tea on our gardens and lawns. Am I pleased with my KIS? Just try and take it away from me. Thanks for this important machine. It will change the world. I know it has changed the way we garden here in Alaska.”

Jeff Lowenfels, author of ‘Teaming With Microbes’

What Is Compost Tea?

Compost Tea Cherry Tree

The right side of this tree was sprayed only one time with compost tea from a KIS compost tea brewer, along with liquid fish fertilizer.

The leaves are so much more abundant, bigger and healthier on that side, actually hiding the cherries from view.

The purpose of compost tea is to reintroduce beneficial microorganisms into our gardens that ideally would be there in the first place, but often aren’t any more for many reasons.

As with mycorrhizal fungi, that includes past tilling, topsoil removal during construction, environmental pollution, pesticide/chemical fertilizer use, and so on.

Those microorganisms are largely responsible for the health of our plants. They help:

  • Increase plant nutrient uptake, making your plants bigger and healthier
  • Not only prevent plant disease but can even get rid of existing disease
  • Increase water and nutrient retention in the soil, so your plants get more of both
  • Breakdown toxins in the soil and on plant leaves

I mainly think about it as boosting plant health, which ultimately means more nutritious food and fewer pests.

Unlike SCD/EM, the tea is also a broad spectrum organic fertilizer of soluble nutrients that can be immediately used by both microorganisms and plants.

By the way, be sure to read the comparison to both SCD/EM and mycorrhizal fungi on the right side of the page.

How To Make Compost Tea

Compost Tea Brewer

Back to what compost tea is. To be clear, when I say compost tea, I mean the modern version, which is ‘aerated’ compost tea.

Some people even say ‘actively aerated’ compost tea, which means we use an air pump to aerate, not just a stick to stir the tea once in a while.

Compost tea traditionally meant compost that was left in a bucket for a few days and perhaps stirred a few times, and it can have some benefits, but a quality aerated compost tea with an air pump is going to be much more useful.

In case you don’t know, here’s how to make compost tea. Air is bubbled through a bucket of water that contains a bit of quality compost and other ingredients.

The bubbles pull the microorganisms off the compost (as otherwise they’re kind of glued on there) and also give air for the microorganisms to breathe.

That’s important because we want to create a compost tea of mostly air-breathing (aerobic) microorganisms, as they tend to be the beneficial ones for our organic gardens. Of course, there are some not-so-good aerobic microbes, too, but many more are good guys.

Then the other ingredients are foods like liquid kelp and liquid fish and molasses that feed the microorganisms and cause them to multiply like crazy.

When it’s done, we have a solution with trillions of beneficial mostly aerobic microorganisms that we can spray into the garden (maybe even quadrillions if you did a good job).

One reason this is useful is because while there’s often not enough compost to adequately cover the garden, compost tea goes a lot further.

So if you haven’t been using compost, compost tea is going to bring many of the same benefits, other than the organic matter.

But even more interesting is that we can spray compost tea right onto plant leaves where the microbes will feed them nutrients and protect them from disease – in fact, if you make a good tea and get your leaves covered fully, it will be very difficult for diseases to live there.

It can’t be marketed as controlling disease because it’s not a pesticide, but we have clear research showing that the microorganisms in good compost tea keep disease populations in check.

DIY Compost Tea Brewer

A lot of people want to make a diy compost tea brewer, and it’s certainly possible.

There are a lot of factors that affect tea quality, though, so if you want to make a good tea that brings in the big benefits, be prepared to do some lab testing and tweaking of your brewer to get it right.

But if you really enjoy tinkering and you have a bit of money to spend on lab testing, I could see that being fun even though you’ll end up paying more.

Most homemade compost tea brewers don’t cut it, so the most important advice I can give is to make sure you get a good air pump that pushes a lot of air – not a little aquarium pump like a lot of people on the internet suggest – that won’t make a tea that does much of anything.

The EcoPlus Commercial Air 5 is a great one, or even the Commercial Air 3 would be better than a little aquarium pump.

I figured out that it would actually be much more affordable to use a tea brewer that’s already been thoroughly tested, so that’s what I’ve always done.

So while I’ve played around with making my own brewer, I never did any testing because I already had a KIS brewer that was working great.

The KIS Compost Tea Brewer

These brewers are easy to clean, which is really important because we want to work with a clean brewer every time we’re making compost tea.

And they make exceptionally high-quality compost tea (well tested and documented), with a very reliable air pump.

Compost Tea Brewer 5 Gallon Extended KIS Brewer – The Original.

It takes 24 hours to make a tea, and the pump will last you for at least a few hundred brews (basically forever).

It’s a good choice if you plan to brew more often, like monthly.

It’s kind of like a small commercial compost tea brewer. $300.

Compost Tea Brewer Mini-Microbulator Mini-Microbulator – The New.

It takes 36 hours to make a tea. The pump is louder and it doesn’t come with the 3 food kits or a bucket, but it still makes a great tea.

This is more for do-it-yourselfers who already have a bucket (or will get one at a hardware store) and already have compost to make the tea (although you could buy the kits separately if you prefer). $130.

What Comes With The Compost Tea Brewers

The KIS Brewer comes with 3 separate brewing kits that each include a small amount of compost and a mixture of foods to feed the microbes in that compost. That’s all you need.

The Mini-Microbulator doesn’t come with the kits, although you could buy them separately.

Then you can buy additional kits when you’re ready, or you can also use your own compost and microbes foods.

But the nice thing about the kits is that the quality of the compost is excellent. It’s actually a mix of Alaska humus and worm compost (vermicompost) and fungal compost.

Then, the mixture of foods has been thoroughly tested with these brewers.

What that means is the compost tea produced from these brewers has been tested in a lab with this specific compost and this specific food mix under the recommended brewing conditions, and it makes a great tea, so all you need to do is follow a few simple rules you will have a great compost tea.

FYI, the kits are derived from sulfate of potash magnesia (aka sul-po-mag or k-mag), feather meal, soymeal, cottonseed meal, mycorrhizal fungi, kelp, and alfalfa meal. It’s registered organic, so all non-GMO.

How To Use Compost Tea

A decent 5-gallon brew will cover an acre of garden, but even if you only have a tiny garden, you can spray the whole batch of compost tea and that will be even better – it’s impossible to over apply it.

You don’t want to use a hose end sprayer for compost tea because the container is far too small, and also because we mostly want to use it undiluted (i.e. not mixed with more water) in order to get the maximum concentration of beneficial microorganisms on the leaf surfaces.

That’s where a different kind of sprayer comes in – either a backpack sprayer or one that sits on the ground. Here are links to 2 of my favorites, sold by a company called Rittenhouse:

1. Rittenhouse – $150. This sprayer is made for compost tea. It can handle the bits of solids that are often in the tea. It’s exactly what you’re looking for, for a good price.

It sits on the ground instead of on your back, which is good if you don’t want to lift up too much weight onto your shoulders. I recommend home users get this one rather than the one below, whereas commercial users should go for the next one.

2. Birchmeier – $250. This brand of sprayers can get very expensive, but it’s one of the best on the market, so they don’t leak and break down as much as most other sprayers.

While Solo sprayers are popular among compost tea users, they have a lot of problems when compared to the sprayers from Birchmeier.

But all backpack sprayers including the Birchmeiers aren’t designed for compost tea, so you’re going to want to do a good job straining the tea first to get rid of any solids. And then it’s a good idea to go so far as to buy some 400-micron screens from a hardware store to replace the screens in the sprayer (by following the parts diagram) in order to make sure more of the beneficial microorganisms can get through the sprayer.

One other method that some people use successfully is to drop a sump pump – wrapped in a mesh bag – down into the tea after it’s done, attach a hose to it, and spray from there.

I think this is a great idea for a small garden, but haven’t tried it. Sump pumps work pretty fast, so you’d need to be ready to shoot the tea quickly, and then ready to turn the pump off so it doesn’t burn out.

For application, the rule of thumb is 5 gallons per acre for each 6 feet in plant height. So if you have an acre of plants that are 12 feet tall, you would need 10 gallons of tea.

But most of us are just doing our backyards, so 5 gallons will be plenty. It’s impossible to over apply it, so even if you only have 500 square feet, feel free to spray the whole thing out there.

I recommend using compost tea at least two times per year. I tend to go with three times, but you might make this your main thing and apply it monthly, and that would certainly be wonderful.

Free $25 Bonus When You Buy Today

When you buy one of these brewers, you get enrolled in my online Compost Tea course.

It’s an introductory course, a nice little bit of info on compost tea and how to get the most out of the 5 gallon KIS compost tea brewers.

My main goal is to show you how to make good tea and how to apply it.

The course includes 11 videos totaling about 50 minutes.

Important Info

I go into more detail about ordering on the main page, but here are a few quick things I’d like to mention:

  • If you have a question about this product, leave it in the comment section at the bottom of of this page and I'll try to respond within a few hours.
  • Shipping is $10 if your order is $25 or less, $15 if your order is $25-$50, $20 if your order is $50-$100, and $25 if your order is more than $100 (AK and HI add $10)
  • Dry fertilizers and compost tea brewers ship for free, separately with USPS instead of UPS, so they will arrive on their own maybe a day or 2 apart from my other products.
  • I ship in the U.S. only. Products ordered by 2pm will ship same day. After that they ship next day. Weekend orders ship Monday.
  • All of my products have a 1 year 100% money-back guarantee.
  • With every order, I send $1 to Organics 4 Orphans and other similar organizations. O4O is working with the world’s poor to help them grow organic, highly nutritious, highly medicinal food for themselves, and then use the surplus food to generate income for themselves as well as feeding the orphans in their communities. My hope this year is to again send $1500US, which is enough to start projects in 25 new communities!

Order Now

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Business Seals

In summary, the tea from this compost tea brewer:

  • Provides these main benefits: improved plant growth and nutrition, better soil structure/water-holding capacity/nutrient retention, decreased disease.
  • Increases the diversity and number of highly beneficial microorganisms in your soil and on your plants.
  • Is proven to be a high quality actively aerated tea, verified by Soil Food Web lab testing.

Each brewer comes with 3 complete brew kits, and you can optionally pick up more kits if you plan to do a lot of brewing.

As a free bonus when you order today, I’ll also enroll you in my online Compost Tea course.

Just choose your brewer and click ‘Add To Cart’ up above!

Mycorrhizae For Sale – The Most Helpful Soil Inoculant

Mycorrhizae For Sale

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Canadians buy here

A common problem in many gardens is that plants have a difficult time:

  • Getting certain nutrients out of the soil
  • Finding enough water
  • Protecting themselves from soil-borne predators

That’s why they started partnering – 100s of millions of years ago – with very special fungi called mycorrhizal fungi.

If I had to narrow it down to the single most important microorganism species for your garden, it would be a mycorrhizal fungus called Glomus intraradices.

That’s because it partners up with over 90% of plant species and plays a huge role in the health of our plants and soil.

There is no other microorganism that works so closely with plants to bring them nutrients and water and to protect them from root feeding diseases.

I have mycorrhizae for sale. Actually, to be more accurate, ‘mycorrhizae’ actually refers to the relationship between the fungi and the root (‘myco’ means fungi and ‘rhiza’ means root).

So you can’t buy mycorrhizae, but you can buy mycorrhizal fungi, and it’s often very useful to do so.

What Mycorrhizal Fungi Do

Yellowfoot Mycorrhizal Fungi
Some mycorrhizal fungi are edible like this Yellowfoot.

Mycorrhizal fungi wrap around the roots (and often go inside the roots) of the plants in your garden and then grow out through the soil in every direction, effectively extending the root system of those plants by hundreds of times.

They get nutrients out of the soil that plants have a hard time getting themselves, especially phosphorus (which is good because deficient phosphorus is a common reason why our plants aren’t optimally healthy) and also many others.

They also hold calcium in the soil – you can go apply a whole bunch of lime, but if you don’t have fungi in the soil, a lot of that lime can leach out very quickly.

Mycorrhizal fungi also bring water to plants and protect plant roots from predators, and even invite other beneficial microbes into the root area by feeding them directly.

They even connect most of your plants together, giving those plants the ability to share nutrients and other compounds with each other!

The reason they do all this is because the plants give them food in return.

Some plants will give over 50% of the carbohydrates (which they produce through photosynthesis) to these fungi.

This mycorrhizal symbiosis is bartering that’s been going on for millions of years and it’s one of the most important foundations of all life on earth and of the health of your garden.

By the way, be sure to read the comparison to both compost tea and SCD/EM on the right side of the page.

How To Make Your Own Mycorrhizal Inoculant

When possible, I really like to teach you guys how to make these kinds of things for yourself.

And it actually is possible to grow your own mycorrhizal inoculant, an inoculant being a culture of microorganisms that you use to establish them in your garden.

But it’s no simple task and I don’t see it being worth the effort for home gardeners (other than for fun because it would be cool if you could learn to do it properly).

It takes a few months, but if you’re interested, here’s a nice little production guide from Rodale.

How Mycorrhizal Inoculant Is Made For Sale

What they have to do to produce the fungi is grow acres and acres of plants inoculated with mycorrhizal fungi on the roots and then pull up the roots, harvest the fungi, get the spores (which are kind of like the microscopic seeds of fungi), clean them, protect them with a carrier, and – well, it’s a very intensive and delicate process.

Some companies are now culturing the fungi in a lab. I have no problem with that in theory, but my understanding is that so far the quality is not there, so I stick with the tried and true method of using inoculants that were grown on plants.

So, you can take these mycorrhizal products and apply them directly to your seed and to the roots of your plants when you plant them, and the relationship should begin to form with a few days.

I’ve seen incredible results when seeding new lawns and planting new gardens with mycorrhizal fungi products.

Forward-thinking landscapers and farmers are onto using it now. Even people who grow world record giant pumpkins are using it, too.

Who Needs This The Most?

Soil that’s been tilled, compacted, water logged or treated with pesticides will often be severely deficient in these important fungi, so that’s when it’s our job to bring them back in.

Same goes if you’ve brought in topsoil, potting soil or even compost (they don’t generally exist in compost because they need a plant partner to grow).

That’s why I recommend this for almost everyone, as most of us have at least one of these conditions, and because getting these beneficial fungi back into partnership with plant roots can have pretty dramatic impact on plant growth.

If you’re working in more of a natural ecosystem, like on the edge of a forest or natural grassland, you can probably skip this one, although you’ll still want it for starting seeds or planting in containers.

Endomycorrhizal Vs Ectomycorrhizal Fungi

There are two main categories of mycorrhizal fungi: Mycorrhizal PlantsSource: Mycorrhizal Applications – manufacturer of quality mycorrhizal inoculants.

  • Endomycorrhizal fungi (also called arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi or am fungi) partner up with well over 90% of plant species – most plants. G. Intraradices is included here, along with a few other less important species.
  • Ectomycorrhizal fungi work with less than 5% of plants, so they’re not usually needed in a home food garden, although it doesn’t hurt to have them if you happen to get an inoculant that includes them, and they do associate with some trees including pine, fir, Douglas fir, spruce, hemlock, oak, birch, beech, hickory, alder, willow.

I carry a mycorrhizal inoculum that has just the endomycorrhizal fungi, which is the one you need if you’re growing food.

I also carry an inoculum that has a mix of both the endo and the ecto, which you may need if you’re planting a mix of deciduous and coniferous trees and shrubs.

How To Choose A Quality Mycorrhizal Inoculant

Unfortunately, most inoculants aren’t great, but there are a few good ones.

I’ve spent more time searching for this product than any other, and I was lucky enough to find an excellent manufacturer.

I actually worked with them to create a special size just for home gardeners, as they were focusing on creating really high quality inoculants for landscapers and farmers.

I’ve learned a lot along the way, so I can share a couple of tips on what you want to look for when buying a mycorrhizal inoculant.

The number of mycorrhizal spores is part of the picture. Some products have less than 1000 spores per pound. Some have hundreds of thousands. Spore count alone isn’t all that relevant, though – you need to compare it to price.

For example, if a product has twice as many spores as another but costs four times as much, then all else being equal, it’s not a good deal.

But spores per pound is not the only relevant part. The quality of the manufacturing process and the health of the spores is just as important.

If most of your spores are destroyed or if they’re being packed in an inappropriate carrier, you lose a lot of benefits. I would rather have a lower spore count from a quality manufacturer.

This particular product has about 35000 spores per pound, which is way more than the cheap products on the market, but not as high as some others. But where these guys shine is with quality – they’re well known for producing a high quality inoculant.

How to tell if a product is of high quality? That’s a hard one. I know just enough about the science of mycorrhizal fungi that I can talk to the manufacturer and tell by how they answer my questions if they know their stuff and if they’re concerned about quality.

But other than that, it’s seeing what other people are saying about the mycorrhizal product and looking at the track record of the manufacturer. It takes some hunting.

Some manufacturers count ‘propagules’ instead of ‘spores.’ Propagules can include root fragments and other inert materials, so the spore count might actually be much lower. When buying a product, make sure you figure out how many actual spores are in it.

And not just spores, but how many G. intraradices spores, or at least endo spores. Endo/ecto blends are going to have way more spores because the ecto are so much smaller and more plentiful, so that makes it looks like they’re a much higher value, but it’s really endo you want to pay attention to in order to compare apples to apples.

A point of controversy in the mycorrhizal inoculant world is diversity of species. Some people contend that G. Intraradices is really the only endomycorrhizal species you need, while others claim that a diversity of several endo species is better because each of them will do better in certain conditions with certain plants.

The latter has always made sense to me, because more diversity is usually better in nature, but after a lot of reading into this, I believe it’s not as important as you might think.

G. Intraradices is the important one. If a product has a few other species, as mine does, that’s probably a good thing, but not too big of a deal.

When it comes to ectomycorrhizal fungi, if a product has it, there are usually a handful of species, and it is a good thing in that case because they’re specialists.

One more thing. In my opinion, it’s usually best not to buy mycorrhizae for sale with other microbes in it such as bacteria. It’s fashionable in the mycorrhizal fungi products world to add them in, but they probably aren’t helping all that much, and they may be detrimental.

Also, in my opinion, don’t buy mycorrhizal inoculants with trichoderma in them. It’s all the rage to include trichoderma fungi these days, and perhaps there are some benefits, but there’s also some evidence that they can interfere with the mycorrhizal fungi.

I’m not going to get into that here because I’ve already been rather long-winded, but I’m staying away from trichoderma mixed with myco until I see more evidence.

Mycorrhizal Applications – How To Use Mycorrhizal Fungi

The relationship occurs at the roots, so that’s where you need to do the mycorrhizal inoculation – there’s no benefit spraying it onto plant leaves.

That means when you’re sowing seed, sprinkle a little fungi on them first. I’ve often just finished soaking my seed in kelp or sea minerals, and so the fungi sticks to it nicely, but that’s not necessary – just a bonus.

When you’re planting, just rub a little bit of inoculant onto the root ball of the plant, 1 teaspoon for small plants and 2-3 teaspoons for bigger plants.

If you have an existing landscape with reasonably porous soil (i.e. not heavily compacted) and you’re using a powder inoculant such as my mycorrhizal fungi for sale here (rather than a granular product), you can mix it in water and spray it onto the soil and then water it in and some of it will work it’s way down to the roots.

How Much Do You Need?

There’s approximately 300ml in 1/2 pound of inoculant.

When I’m planting small plants, I don’t measure. I just rub some powder onto 1 side of the root ball, less than 1/4 teaspoon for little ‘starts’ such as tomato plants, and more like 1/2 teaspoon for a 1-3 gallon pot. A little is all that’s needed.

If you’re planting seedlings, that 1/2 pound can do up to 800 of them if you mix it in water and spray the roots, or just very lightly dip the roots into the powder. For trees, 1/2 pound will do about 30 of them – that’s 2 teaspoons per tree.

Use 300ml (1/2 pound) per 1/3 acre worth of seed if you’re going to be mixing it in with your seed before sowing.

That means if you’re seeding a typical home lawn, 1/2 pound will be more than plenty, as 1.5 Tablespoons per 1000 square feet is all you need to mix with the seed. If you’re seeding vegetables, 1/2 pound will be even more than more than plenty – they just need an incredibly light dusting.

For watering into existing lawns and gardens, we need to apply a lot more. It’s optimal to use at least 300ml (1/2 pound) per 1000 square feet if you’re going to be watering it into an existing lawn or garden, but I’ve discussed this with the manufacturer, and they said that 300 ml (1/2 pound) can do up to 4000 square feet. The fungi will take longer to get established, but it should do so in time.

The dilution with water is 1 Tbsp/gallon of water, 20 gallons of water for each 300ml (1/2 pound) of inoculant.

When doing this, I’ll usually mix it with liquid seaweed. Irrigate right after application in order to move it down into the root zone.

If the soil isn’t porous, you can instead dig a few small holes around each plant and tuck a teaspoon of powder down into each hole.

Free $25 Bonus When You Buy Today

When you buy this fungi, you get enrolled into my online Inoculants course.

Mycorrhizal fungi is so easy to use that I actually only have a couple of videos on it in there, but I have other videos on topics such as how to make your own bacteria-based inoculant and discussions on a few other inoculants.

The course includes 11 videos totaling about 40 minutes.

Important Info

I go into more detail about ordering on the main page, but here are a few quick things I’d like to mention:

  • If you have a question about this product, leave it in the comment section at the bottom of of this page and I'll try to respond within a few hours.
  • Shipping is $10 if your order is $25 or less, $15 if your order is $25-$50, $20 if your order is $50-$100, and $25 if your order is more than $100 (AK and HI add $10)
  • Dry fertilizers and compost tea brewers ship for free, separately with USPS instead of UPS, so they will arrive on their own maybe a day or 2 apart from my other products.
  • I ship in the U.S. only. Products ordered by 2pm will ship same day. After that they ship next day. Weekend orders ship Monday.
  • All of my products have a 1 year 100% money-back guarantee.
  • With every order, I send $1 to Organics 4 Orphans and other similar organizations. O4O is working with the world’s poor to help them grow organic, highly nutritious, highly medicinal food for themselves, and then use the surplus food to generate income for themselves as well as feeding the orphans in their communities. My hope this year is to again send $1500US, which is enough to start projects in 25 new communities!

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Business Seals In summary, this inoculant:

  • Helps plants take up phosphorus, nitrogen and many other nutrients, plus water, and also protects plant roots from soil-borne pests.
  • Is probably needed in soils that have previously been tilled, compacted, water-logged, sprayed with pesticides, or left without plant cover.
  • Is organic, OMRI-Listed and non-GMO, and 1/2 pound goes a long way.

As a free bonus when you order today, I’ll also enroll you in my Inoculants course.

Just choose your size and click ‘Add To Cart’ up above!

Need A Larger Amount?

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If you’re a farmer or professional gardener/landscaper who needs bigger quantities, here they are.

Shipping is included in these prices.