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Old 09-30-2016, 07:01 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Location: Palm Bay, Florida
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Default Silage as fertilizer...

As many here know, I use grass clippings around my bananas as both mulch and fertilizer. Here in Florida, especially in winter it's difficult as they dry out instead of rot.

I kinda stumbled onto this, but when attempting to begin the composting process with my grass clippings, I made silage. I know what it is from years of farm handing where we made silage every summer and fed it out every winter.

So, I Googled silage as fertilizer, and not surprisingly there is a very limited amount of information out there about it. I did find this (Italics mine) :

Silage fermentation is an anaerobic, acidification process that breaks the plant matter cell wall and releases nutrients. Grasses that have been properly silaged, can retain their nutrient value for months or years. The smell is sweet, like a brewing batch of beer and it makes an excellent tea when placed into a Fertilizer Tea Bag and submerged into a barrel of water.

If used on soil, the tea can be poured directly onto the ground. If used as a foliar leaf spray or as a hydroponic fertilizer, then there should either be media beds with lots of beneficial bacteria or else the extract should be processed using the Nutricycler™ to remove carbon and convert ammonia.

And this:

Utilizing the Nutricycler™, Bioponica’s clients are able to extract and bio-process wet and dry organic matter between 2-5 days. As an example, by extracting 25lbs of wet grass in 50 gallons of rainwater, a liquid fertilizer can be created with a NPK nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium PPM (parts per million) value of 125-65-400. As is, this is an ideal PPM concentration, of the key plant elements, for growing green leafy plants in any hydroponic or aquaponic system.

That was handy as it gives me what I believe to be the best idea as to the ratio of nutrients in silage, and it looks good for bananas...25-13-80 after dividing by 5

I found it here:

How to Make Home Made Plant Food | Making Organic Liquid Fertilizer

All I was attempting to do was find a way to get my clippings to retain water, since here in Florida the clippings will quickly turn into dry straw if not kept wet for weeks. I put them into a garbage can with a lid, along with kitchen vegetable and fruit scraps and once they have a good head start in decomposing, I dump it out around my bananas. So far they are loving it! I was worried about the ammonia and alcohol, but they don't seem to be an issue so far. But,both times I did it so far, I waited a day or two to water it in because of those two things.

I just dumped a large pile next to my biggest mat today, and we got a big rain about an hour later, so that will certainly be the best test as the alcohol or ammonia neither one had time to dissipate before being washed into the soil.

Let me know what you-all think or if you have tried this yourself. Of course, I will keep you all informed.
If you lose your head and give up, you neither live nor win.

Varieties I supposedly bought: Manzano, Cavendish, Blue Java, Sweetheart, and Gros Michel.
What it seems I actually have: Brazilian, Cavendish, Namwah, Dwarf Red, Gros Michel, Pisang Ceylon, Veinte Cohol and SH 3640, and American Goldfinger. FHIA 1, Paggi and FHIA 17... Always room for one more.
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