Introduction: Wet Compost Using Yeast or Lactic Fermentation (was Sustainable Slug Beer)
This project has forked in several directions. I am currently fermenting dandylions (with a lactic fermentation) to produce gas bubbles to circulate water to plants. (This is called the biofueled pump) When the fermentation is over, the fermented leaves and stems are then squished to try to get the fibers. The fibers will be used for "felt" fibre pots for plants. (This may be in combination with hydrated lime to make felt fibre limestone pots). The "acidic juice" will become compost tea to be circulated to plants to water them (Using the biofueled pump to provide the power.
Brian White May 2 2011
I failed so far to make a likeable slug beer from garden waste mixed with water.
But the yeast does seem to work to convert it through an alcoholic stage.
(Latest test was a 45 gallon barrel full of morning glory and seeding weeds).
Then it goes acid, and then a skin of mold forms over the mixture. A week or 2 of these staged anerobic conditions will hopefully kill off the morning glory and pickle the weed seeds in alcohol, then acid.
Below is the slug beer plan that has so far not worked. Anyway during the recent heat wave, the slugs have not even been interested in my good homebrew. (july 31 2009)
I make beer for the slugs in my garden but it is expensive. I think slugs are drawn to the hop smell and then they get drunk and fall in. Perhaps other flavourings will draw them too?
A few years ago I made plum wine for them (stronger than beer but they were not interested!).
It gave me such headaches that I thought it would appeal to the slugs but no)
Do slugs really care if the beer they drink is to top international taste standards? Lets try to make beer from weeds, vine cuttings, grass clippings, seedy weeds too.
Bread yeast is cheaper and widely available, lets use it instead of beer yeast.
Perhaps it can all be intigrated into the composting and mulching system for your garden.
I do not always get enough heat in my compost to kill weed seeds. Perhaps problem seedy weeds could be diverted to the slug beer process to kill them off?
Perhaps you could even intigrate it into your fertilizing system too. Yeast can convert nitrates into yeast protein.
Not quite organic gardening but a lot closer than just applying nitrate fertilizer directly to your plants.
I made my first batch from lawn mowings and tall grassy weeds
If your barrel of beer does go off, the next stage is weak acetic acid. If the alcoholic conditions did not get your weed seeds, perhaps the acid will!
I am too busy to give it enough attention.
Please try your own. Today, monday 20th July i checked real beer in saucers from last night and no slugs. (We are currently having a heatwave and dry spell)
Step 1: Start the Yeast
Bread yeast comes dried and you need to add it to warm sugary water to activate the yeast. After a couple of hours it will be foaming and froathy. I think a table spoon of yeast added to a half liter of water with a teaspoon of molasses and a table spoon of sugar already in will be a good starter.
A little flour is no harm either.
Step 2: Weeds or Grass Addition
I left my lawn mowings until it turned into hay and added it into a garbage can full of water. But you could add green weeds or grass clippings or kitchen scraps either.
Step 3: Water, Sugar and Activated Yeast Into the Garbage Can
I added water to the can and dropped in 3 or 4 kg of sugar to provide energy for the yeast and some molasses too
Step 4: 3 or 4 Days Later, Beery Smell!
The weeds and grass were at the top of the can(due to the bubbling) and it had a smell of fermentation!
Next stage, mold on top and vinegar smell
Well, I came home from work one day and the hay had trapped the CO2 bubbles from the yeast , raised to the surface and pushed the lid off the can. So I put in a large rock on top of the hay to keep it down. I expected it to slowly sink but it did not.
I presumed the slug beer experiment to be a failure at that stage, A day with insects getting in and all sorts of contamination. But might as well let it run its course.
A light mold soon grew on top but the vinegary smell still remained. I will date the pictures later.
See what happens next on the next step.
Step 6: Results?
I put my beer (early on before the lid popped off) in little cups and saucers round my vegetables.
The first batch did not attract any slugs, though earwigns and wood bugs seemed to be more fond of it than they are of ordinary beer.
I put a control of ordinary beer out (slugs normally go nuts for it) but this time there were none. Weather may have been too dry and they may be underground waiting it out?
So first test was inconclusive. I suspect that they do not like it as much as real beer.
We just have to improve the process. (With your help)
Here are pics of the scum on top on about august 13th a few days after a hydrated lime addition.
It still smells quite vinegary at this stage. I thought the acid would combine with the lime.