The Never Ending Food team was applying liquid manure to the fields this week. We make this liquid manure on-site from whatever we have available at the time. Generally, we choose high-nitrogen resources, such as manure from our rabbits and chickens, or leaves from leguminous trees (e.g. Senna spectabilis ‘cassia’, Tephrosia, Gliricidia, Crotalaria, Leucaena, etc.).
We fill metal drums half way full with nitrogen-rich materials and then fill the drum up the rest of the way with water. The drums are then covered with a piece of poly tarpaulin (or similar material) to keep down unpleasant odors and protect from flies. Sometimes, we also add strong-smelling plants to the drums (e.g. wild basil, mint, hot peppers, geranium leaves, etc.) to help with integrated pest management during the application process. The drums are stirred with a stick once every couple of days and then they are generally ready for use within 20-30 days.
When applying, we usually dilute the liquid manure with water (1:1). This helps to ensure that the manure doesn’t burn the plants, and it also extends the application coverage area. This easy-to-make liquid manure is a free solution to the high cost of synthetic fertilizers, while also providing beneficial microorganisms to the plants and the soil. We often do 2-3 applications to our fields during a typical rainy season, and can adjust the levels according to the growth of the plants. Give it a try!
The following is a short video on making liquid manure as explained by Never Ending Food‘s former interns, Bright and Moses (in Chichewa):