Happy Nugtober DGC. It’s about time to get your harvest on. Dude, Scotty & The Fabulous Guru, Got your snowboards ready? Not long now. Mr. Banner, you working on that opt-in contact info for the DGC? Good show mate.
I initially set out to write a post about the benefits of applying lactobacillus as a foliar and how to make it and/or where to buy it. After listening to WBA #491 and the discussion about PM, mold, and bud rot I realized I should expand the post as a lesson for the brain housing group to utilize for next season’s crop. On the post from jboodge, which was featured in the podcast, there was a nice discussion in the comments section that I feel needs to be expanded upon, plus I gave a few other solutions that left questions from the DGC, which I feel should be covered.
WTF Phud, is this going to be a long read again? Just tell me; Why should I use it? How do I use it? Can I buy it? Can I make it?
Don’t worry, I’ll get to all of that. Slow your roll there for a second.
Lactobacillus serum is only 1 part of a larger systematic approach to tackling the problems of plant pathogens, bud rot and mold. We all face this problem, notably in this time of year, and especially if you are an outdoor grower. Unfortunately, in the fall of the year Mother Nature’s dew points are often higher than the evening temperatures which is why there is a load of dew on your plants in the mornings just as your flowers are peaking. Perfect conditions for mold and mildew.
So where does a grower begin to tackle this concern? There’s an old saying. We’ve all heard it. “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cured Nugs.” I can still hear Grandma Martha telling me that back in the summer of 72. Prevention begins when you start to supply nutrients. You want to stop PM in week six of veg or bud rot in week 10 of flower, its starts in the first month of the growing season.
Let’s start building this case by covering calcium and amino acids and their role as step one in mold and PM prevention as part of a systematic approach. Amino acids are the key. Amino acids chelate the calcium and carry it into the plant. They also stimulate root cells to open calcium ion channels. This allows the plants to take up calcium 1000X greater than simple osmosis. Calcium is transported with water throughout the plant. Calcium reacts with the pectic acid plants produce in plant cells to form pectin. Pectin binds plant cell walls together. By utilizing this method your plants will have extra pectin contained between the cells. Your plants will be stronger and healthier with thicker cell walls. Why is this important?
When mold or PM spores land on your leaves or flowers, they dig a feeding footer into the surface in search of water to germinate and spread. However, if you have an increased amount of calcium-pectate developed throughout your plant, it is difficult for mold spores to get their footer established. Before the germination tube penetrates, it dries up and dies. The calcium pectin doesn’t kill the powdery mildew and mold, it prevents it from becoming systemic in your plant and spreading throughout your garden.
Just as a quick review, if you have been reading my posts think about all the amendments I’ve written about; rock dusts, dolomite lime, gypsum, fish bone meal, powdered egg shells and oyster shell flower. All these amendments are excellent sources of CA for our microbiology to supply to the plant along with simply watering in a cal-mag solution with amino acids mixed in. If you are planning on growing organic net season, remember this when you start to build your soil in the spring.
I also need to mention silica here as part of this process. Plants being attacked from powdery mildew and mold mobilize silica to the point of infection. The plant will form a callus around the surrounding cells of the infection point to prevent it from further spreading. Silica is plentiful in both Basalt and Azomite along with any of the silica supplements you can apply. There are many other benefits to silica for plants. In this case, it is an added layer of protection against fungi.
Now let’s get to the foliar solutions you can use to prevent this problem from happening. I’ll start with my original intention for this post, Lactobacillus. Lactobacillus serum used as a foliar spray is very beneficial, not only for Cannabis, but for every plant in the garden. It should be used early and often. Lactobacillus serves many key roles in the soil and on the leaf surface. Lacto is involved in protection from numerous plant pathogens, including PM, mold, and many other bacterial pathogens. Lactobacillus also recycles minerals. Some strains are voracious cellulose digesters (humus builders) They also produce a range of exudates, like B-group vitamins, that stimulate plant growth.. Finally, like all beneficial microbes, they help deliver nutrients to the plant.
You can buy serum ready to go. EM-1 is the most recognizable product. It will run you around $30 – $35 a quart.
Save the $$, lacto serum is super easy to make. Ready?
• ⅓ cup white rice.
• 1 cup filtered water (non chlorinated)
• ½ gallon of whole milk
• 1 tsp blackstrap molasses
• ½ gallon mason jar
• Large Tupperware type or stainless-steel mixing bowl with lid
Place the rice and water in the bowl and swish until the water is cloudy white. Strain, retaining the liquid. The rice can still be cooked and eaten. Place the lid on the bowl, but do not seal it. There must be a space for the mix to breathe. Store it in a cool, dark place for 7 days. At the end of the week there will be some gunk on top. Skim off the top layer and strain the liquid ferment.
Now add the milk to the fermented serum. Leave this blend in a dark place to culture for another week. Again, put the lid on the bowel but do not completely seal it. At the completion of this process, there will be a layer of curds sitting on the top. Skim off the curd and use it as a probiotic for your pets or yourself. It is a very healthy and effective probiotic. The pale-yellow serum that remains is your inactivated inoculum. Add the molasses to provide enough food to just keep the lactobacillus alive. Pour it all into that ½ gallon mason jar. Let it sit overnight before use. To store this, you need to refrigerate or store in the cold room. It will have a shelf-life of around 12 months.
To activate and use this, mix roughly 1 part serum with into 20 parts of unchlorinated water. To make a gallon, mix 6 ounces (3/4 cup) of serum then add water to make a gallon. You can add this to soil but there is really no need if you use RECHARGE. I use it as a foliar spray for disease control. This recipe can be upsized considerably if you have a lot of garden to cover. In the end, you’ll have made an inexpensive, super-productive, living inoculant that increases biological performance, builds humus and helps to manage pathogens on the leaf surface and stems of your girls. I spray my gardens twice a month throughout the season.
I mentioned chelated calcium sulfate and/or copper sulfate and calcium hydroxide in a response to boodge’s question. I should have also added potassium bicarbonate and bicarbonate of soda (baking soda), and soap nut powder to that list. All these are excellent fungi preventative measures. If you’re are going to use baking soda or potassium bicarbonate you should mix in a little neem oil and soap nut powder. Also note you’ll want to wash both of those off your plants after 24 to 48 hours. The soap nut powder by itself is an anti-fungal, plus its loaded with saponins. Saponins, in case you’re wondering, is a whole other subject.
Many of these foliar applications are most effective as a prevention, not so much as a treatment for the fungus after it has formed.
The use of the copper sulfate – calcium hydroxide should come with a warning IMO. It works fantastic, which is why people producing very high dollar wines and competition roses deploy it. It is however, corrosive to clothing, you must wear goggles when spraying, it stains everything blue including your skin, plus it can kill fish and earthworms if you concentrate the spray. I would not recommend this after flowering has begun or if you don’t wish to be called Papa Smurf. If you’re bent to find out more on this, Google “Bordeaux Mixture”.
Don’t look for products carrying these elements. Buy them in powder form by name & mix with water to use as a foliar spray. All these dry mineral compounds are readily available on the internet. They are very inexpensive and very easy to mix. If you want to go this route, chemical formulas for mixing are also readily available on the internet.
Here’s my last two cents on this subject. Put an oscillating fan out in your garden. Moving air doesn’t allow for moisture to build on your flowers & leaves. If you find mold or PM, REMOVE IT. At the first sign, carefully remove infected leaves and flowers and discard them into the trash for pick up. Use wetting agents when you foliar spray. It greatly enhances the effectiveness of any foliar application.
Love ~ Light ~ Peace ALL!