“Fermented plant extracts — most commonly done as a plain liquid manure or plant extract is a dynamic practice gaining increased usage in India, Africa, Asia, and Central America where poor farmers need to obtain fertility and pest control from local plants and simple on-farm extraction methods.” Steve Diver, ATTRA*
For centuries extracts have been used as elixirs for all sorts of ailments. Individuals would seek out certain plant materials that were known for their beneficial properties and ferment them to extract the desired benefits. This same technology can be used to extract properties from plants such as geranium to make a citronella extra for keeping away mosquitoes. Hot peppers and garlic are also known for their pest-deterring properties. If you incorporate companion planting (basil with tomato), you may find a winning combination to give the effect you want.
Weeds and other green material can be recycled into an organic foliar spray and insect repellent. During fermentation EM•1® is able to ferment weeds and extract organic acids, bio-active substances, minerals, and other useful organic compounds from these materials which are able to promote plant growth and repel diseases or insects.
5 gallon buckets with a airtight lids, EM•1®, molasses, water, leafy plant material, and a tablespoon.
1. Collect plant material such as weeds, vegetable trimmings, and leaves. If possible chop the plant material into small pieces (i.e. 2″ x 2″). Fill the bucket with as much material as possible.
2. In a separate container prepare EM•1® solution at 1:1:100. (2.5 Tbsp of molasses and 2.5 Tbsp of EM•1® per 1 gallon of water)
3. Pour the EM•1® solution over the plant material, filling the bucket all the way to the top.
4. Seal bucket with an airtight lid.
5. Place solution out of direct sunlight and allow material to ferment for a period of 2 weeks. After 2 weeks test the pH. The solution pH should be between 3.2 and 3.7.
6. Strain off the liquid into another container. The strained liquid is the Fermented Plant Extract.
7.The EM•1® F.P.E. is used as a foliar spray to prevent pest damage to plants. Dilute this solution 1:500 (1.5 tsp. per gallon) and spray on plant leaves as needed.
8. The fermented plant material (not the liquid) can be used as a nutrient-rich fertilizer or compost starter. If used as a fertilizer spread it out very thin due to its strength.
9. Store unused EM•1® F.P.E. in a dark place with relatively uniform temperatures. Solution may be stored up to 90 days.
*Quoted from Steve Diver, Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas (ATTRA).