There is a growing number of bio-fertilisers now available on the market, and this trend is set to continue with PGP providing $9.75 million to one or NZ’s largest fertiliser companies to help develop biological products.
Fortunately many of these biofertilisers are already present in well managed soils; including trichoderma, bacillus, phosphate solubilising bacteria, rhizobacteria, nitrogen-fixing bacteria and more.
If however, your soil is needing a pick me up, then there are some simple recipes to innoculate your soil.
Take the kitchen outside!
Don’t feel like staying inside and baking? Add your active dry yeast to your fertiliser!
New research into the value of yeast as a biofertiliser has shown additions as little as 80g/Ha significantly increased yields and sugar content in sugar beet, and in valuable cash crops it increased essential oils and crop qualities.
And while we’re using kitchen materials, how about whipping up some entomopathogenic fungi, whew, now there’s a mouthful!! Entomopathagenic fungi specifically attack insect pests. You may have heard of Beauveria (fuzzy white, see below) or Metarhizium (fuzzy green) fungus is a parasite to over 200 different insect species and can be purchase as a packaged product to control grass grub and other insect pests. The fungus grows after being consumed by the insect, eventually breaking through the internal structures of the insect and causing it to die (imagine the dinner table scene in Aliens, nice).
They are considered to be one of the most environmentally friendly insect controls around (although its never a good idea to breathe spores in yourself) and the good news is, you’ll find these fungi naturally in healthy soils.
Finding an infected insect is cause for celebration, with the poor victim producing between 38,000 to 1.4 million spores (depending on insect species). Research shows that 1g of spores is enough for a Ha, but we’re flying blind a little here, so the more bodies you find the better.
Make a delightful cocktail by placing the infected insect with some water into a blender, I’d also recommend adding some aloe vera or yucca as a sticking agent.
As with other biologicals there are some basic rules;
- Add it last into your other liquid fertiliser mix,
- It is advisable to apply on a cloudy day or late in the afternoon as the UV will kill the spores. The spores need temperatures between 23-30 degrees C, so no point applying in winter.
- The spores only reproduce in humid environments
- Keep your spray pressure low – less than 80PSI
- Misting provides better coverage, especially on underside of leaves
- Don’t use as a silver bullet!
Ready to serve, what a delicious feast…open wide buggies!
There are loads of other mixes we can blend up for specific solutions, so if you’re keen to hear some more, please subscribe to this blog,