In our effort to farm here at Jester King, a major challenge we face is the condition of our soil. Our soil, along with much throughout central Texas, has been either abandoned, overtilled or overgrazed. What’s left behind is often in need of much repair in order to support local agriculture. Fortunately, we have a familiar friend we can turn to for help – fermentation.
To fertilize our soil, we’ve chosen to use a technique adapted from Korean Natural Farming that involves creating “fermented plant juice” (seen in the photo above). We start by hand-harvesting a heap of fresh cut plant material. We opted for Common Ragweed, which grows throughout the several hundred-foot berm that forms the backbone of our farm. Next, we chopped it up to expose as much surface area as possible and added it to a large tote. We then added molasses and Jester King Das Wunderkind Blended Saison for yeast and bacteria. We saw active signs of fermentation after 24 hours, then let it go for about two more weeks. We then separated the fermented plant juice from the ragweed by straining it through cheese cloth. On the Fall Equinox, we applied it to our land to help grow our winter crops.
The marvel of this exercise is that it provides nutrients to heal the soil faster than the Earth can on its own. We speed up the restorative process by relying on the “magic” of fermentation.