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Lactic Acid Bacteria (LAB)


LAB is a Korean Natural Farming (KNF) technique for improving nutrient uptake in plants. Lactic Acid Bacteria is also known as Lactobacillus and is more commonly known for its use in cheesemaking and food fermentation.


Purpose


To improve nutrient availability for plants and increase biodiversity in the soil/improving soil tilth.


Background


Microorganisms, like bacteria, are what allow plants to access the nutrients required for survival. Organic nutrients in the soil are digested by the microorganisms and expelled as inorganic elements that plants can then consume. LAB helps to ensure that plants are receiving the nutrients they require in the event there is a shortage of microorganisms already available to do so. When bacteria is present and balanced in soil it can support the life of other important microorganisms like protozoa, nematodes (yes, there are good ones), and arthropods.


Recipe


Rinse uncooked rice, saving the water that you use to do so.

Cover the rice water jar with a paper napkin or cheesecloth. Leave it on a counter out of direct sunlight for 2-3 days.

With a spoon remove residue floating on top of the rice water and discard it.

In a large glass jar combine 1 part rice water with 10 parts organic milk. Remaining rice water culture can be stored in the refrigator for future use. This is the raw bacteria culture.

Cover milk/rice water combination with a paper napkin or cheesecloth, secured with a band or string. Leave it on a counter out of direct sunlight for 6-7 days.

A curd should collect, either on top or bottom of the jar, and will have a pungent smell. Gently remove the curd with a spoon; this is full of beneficial bacteria and can be added to the garden, compost, or fed to chickens.

Curd

Culture

Strain the remaining yellow-tinted liquid through a seive lined with cheesecloth and into a new jar. This is your finished product.

Straining

Label, date, and secure with fitted lid (old salsa jars work great for this).

Final appearance

Store in refrigerator.


Application


Dilute to 1:1000 with fresh water. Apply as foliar spray or soil drench in early morning or late afternoon when the plant's stoma are open. It is most effective after rain or during irrigation and can be combined with organic plant food such as FPJ or compost tea at time of application.


farming.amendments.fpj


Books


The Regenerative Grower's Guide to Garden Amendments - Nigel Palmer


Other Resources


Natural Farming: Lactic Acid Bacteria

Korean Natural Farming How To: LAB

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