Article: Garden Myths Busted: Artiifical Light, Milk Spray, The Bottom of the Pot: Garden Myths, 1 by PermaCycle
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In reply to: Garden Myths
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The ingredient in milk that makes milk effective against fungi is lactobacillus, a naturally occurring bacterium found in milk, dairy products, fermented foods, and hominids. The lactobacillus acts like a growth regulator for fungi, yeast and aerobic bacteria in the environment. In the garden, the bacterial cycle is responsible for regulating the balance of organic composition in soil and increasing the formation of humus. But, there is more, lactobacillus is a beneficial bacterium that helps sterilize soil and promote disease suppression in the soil as well as on foliage. I have used it for years to sterilize commercial soil products and control powdery mildew. By limiting the presence of undesirable organisms in the soil, lactobacillus helps to create a more balanced environment. The Japanese have used lactobacillus in their farming for centuries.
However, rather than using milk straight from the container in the garden where it can create unpleasant odors and other problems, a more effective method is make your own lactobacillus serum and spray it directly on the plants and soil. This process takes about a month, so I start my own production in the winter. When molasses is added to feed the bacteria and kept in the refrigerator, the serum will keep for up to 6 months. There are several web sites, including YouTube [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IG4M71vMbTs], that offers a how-to on making lactobacillus. It's as easy as making yogurt, producing curds and whey. The curds (see image) can be fed to livestock or pets to improve their digestion (the cat colony in my neighborhood loves it!), put into the compost bin, or turned into the soil. The whey is used to make your lactobacillus probiotic that will need to be activated before using. This process includes adding molasses, together with a high carbon source (such as rice or wheat bran, finely shredded leaves, peat, rice hulls, and so on). Once matured, the activated lactobacillus can be used make bokashi, compost accelerator, and soil amendment.