In recent years, liquid fertilizer as a supplement has become rather common especially among the vegetable and flower growers, and also in golf courses. There are definite advantages in using liquid fertilizer because it is easy to apply and because of its fast effectiveness. It is especially effective in cases when there are symptoms of certain nutrient deficiencies and application of solid fertilizers cannot provide the nutrients instantly because of the time required to breakdown. In cases where heading vegetables such as cabbage and head lettuce to which the supply of nitrogen has to be cut off at the heading stage, the effect of solid nitrogenous fertilizer applied just before that stage may inhibit the heading of the vegetable because of its lasting effect. The use of liquid fertilizers has increased the efficiency as well as the productivity of many farms. However, the cost of liquid fertilizer is expensive when compared with solid fertilizer and most of the products available are either of chemicals in nature or are topped up with synthetic chemical nutrients. Over reliance on synthetic liquid fertilizers also brings about more pests and diseases, especially the bactericidal ones.
There are various reasons for this adverse situation. The foremost reason is because of the fast effect of the liquid fertilizer, the rate of growth of the vegetable is greatly accelerated in a short time. Due to this fast growth, the cell of the plant is bloated up and structurally weakened. This will reduce the resistance of the plant to pests and diseases. Secondly, the straight and simple non-organic nutrient contents of synthetic liquid fertilizer will encourage the propagation of pathogenic fungi and bacteria. The population of soil yeast, beneficial fungi, actinomycetes and other beneficial microbes will be reduced due to the lack of organic matters, carbohydrates like glucose and high-grade alcohol in the soil that help in their propagation. The balance of soil microbes will be greatly affected to such an extent that pathogenic microbes become dominant. Soil bound diseases are rampant in such soil condition. It is more obvious in repeatedly cultivated fields and cultivation under structure such as rain shelter and netted field. To overcome this, the use of good quality compost and fermented organic fertilizer is the foremost solution. If liquid fertilizer is required in the fertilization program, organic liquid fertilizer should be used.
But as mentioned earlier, the cost of organic liquid fertilizer is expensive. However, the ‘SHIMAMOTO MICROBIAL FARMING METHOD’ provides a solution to overcome all these difficulties. It is simple, cheap and effective, and it can help to overcome the problem of the disposal of organic wastes generated on the farm. It is a form of recycling. We called it ‘Tenkei Green Liquid Fertilizer’. In Japanese, ‘Tenkei’ means blessings from Heaven. It is a blessing indeed, in making this liquid fertilizer, a farmer can cut production cost by reducing fertilizer input. The use of Tenkei will build up soil fertility, increase productivity, improve quality, and at the same time maintain a clean farm environment in utilizing the farm’s organic wastes without incurring extra facilities and labor cost.
What is ‘Tenkei Green Liquid Fertilizer’
Tenkei Green Liquid Fertilizer is made from fermenting farm organic wastes such as leaves, shoots, fruits, and also weeds with TENKEI BYM Enzymes. Chlorophyll, photosensitive pigments, various amino acids, nucleic acid, natural plant hormones and various micro-nutrients are extracted through fermentation. If extra nutrients are required, nutritious organic raw materials such as fish-meal, bone meal, soya bean cake, etc. can be fermented together with the vegetable wastes. Chicken dung can also be used to further reduce cost if a little foul smell is not a concern. Four or five days after preparation, a lot of air bubbles can be noticed in the mixture and the liquid is a dark greenish or brownish color. All these nutrients are given back to the plants as well as the soil in a very natural manner without any harmful effects. However, suitable enzymes such as TENKEI BYM Enzymes should be used in order to have a proper extraction of the nutrients from the raw materials.
It is found that a plant develops a better rooting system in the application of Tenkei Green Liquid Fertilizer. The photosensitive pigments and the balanced natural nutrients content of the chlorophyll bring about this effect. Continuous usage of Tenkei Green Liquid Fertilizer can build up soil humus content after a period of time. This can loosen up compacted soil structure of a vegetable field and orchard by conditioning the soil from single-grained structure to crumb structure. This will enable the soil to hold adequate oxygen, moisture and nutrients for the plant and also enable the plant to develop a better rooting system. Especially in the case of cultivation under rain shelter where the soil is compact and water just runs off the surface without sipping in much, the accumulation of unutilized fertilizer content (EC-Electric Conductivity) is high, and plants do not grow well under such conditions because of root damage. Constant watering with Tenkei Green Liquid Fertilizer can promote microbial activities in the soil. This can breakdown the unutilized fertilizer content and lower the EC.
The use of Tenkei Green Liquid Fertilizer in fruiting vegetables can prevent the aging of the roots and thus enable a longer harvesting period and minimize deformed fruits. This will greatly increase productivity.
Raw materials for a 200 liter drum
Green vegetable waste 80% of the drum
Sugar: ５ kilo
TENKEI BYM Enzymes: ３ kilo
Soya cakes or oil cake: 10 kilo
Fish meal: 10kilo
Chicken dung: 10 kilo
For easy handling, 200-liter poly-drum is most suitable. Try to avoid using steel drum because of rusting. The most suitable vegetable raw materials are those greens with high chlorophyll content such as leaves of cabbage, radish, broccoli, cauliflower, leafy vegetables, sweet potato twine, weeds, etc. All these should be cut into sizes of 3~4 inches to fill up lightly to 80% of the container. Mix with other raw materials while filling the drum. Fill up with water up to 80% and cover with a piece of cloth to allow ventilation. Turn the content everyday with a stick to allow air in. In 2 to 3 days, a lot of air bubbles can be observed while turning and the liquid becomes greenish or brownish in color. In 4~5 days, some of the thinner and softer leaves are already disintegrated and the others are whitish in color. The smell of amino acids similar to that of soy sauce can be noticed. If chicken dung is used, there is a slight ammonia smell together with some sweet smell. This greenish or brownish liquid is ready for use in 5 days time. If it is left to ferment further, the color of the liquid will turn to dark brown in color and the smell of ammonia becomes stronger. The effect of nitrogen is greater but the effect of amino acids, nucleic acid and sugar is reduced. It is recommended to use freshly prepared Tenkei within a week for the multiple effects that cannot be obtained by other liquid fertilizers. Continuous making in a couple of drums can enable a constant supply. If the liquid is collected within a week, fill up 80% of the drum again after the first collection for the second round. However, the usage of the second round should be more concentrated.
Usage of Tenkei Green Liquid Fertilizer
Incorporate with the irrigation system and apply at 50 times dilution every 5 to 7 days interval for leafy vegetables. For fruiting vegetables such as cucumber, brinjal and chili, application at 30 times dilution every 5 to 7 days interval can improve quality as well as increase productivity, as this will prolong the harvesting period. It can also be used as a foliar spray at about 30 to 50 times dilution for all types of crops.
Essay by Steven Leong