Lactobacillus for Plant Health

Lactobacillus is a genus of bacteria that benefits plant and animal life in many different ways. This bacteria is naturally occurring almost everywhere and will grow under the correct circumstances. When watered into the soil lactobacillus breaks down nutrients and increases the plants resistance to disease. A study done by Dr. Hans Rusch found that soil with the highest levels of lactobacilli also had the highest soil fertility. When used as a foliar spray, lactobacilli is able to prevent harmful bacteria and fungus from colonizing on the plant. It helps to sterilize bad bacteria and remove byproducts that can build up in the soil or on the plant.

To culture lactobacillus you must provide an anaerobic environment with “food” for the bacteria. To do this we take water that is rich in complex carbohydrates and loosely seal it in a mason jar to culture and ferment. After at least four days you will see the water has been completely colonized. At this time you will see three distinct layers. The top has been taken over by mold and fungus, the middle layer is colonized by lactobacillus and other bacterias, and the bottom layer is starch (a byproduct of fermentation).

The middle bacteria-rich layer is siphoned out and combined with milk and a small amount of molasses. By saturating the solution with milk we encourage lactobacillus to grow and dissuade other bacterias from growing. The mixture is kept in a special container to create an anaerobic environment -  a valve lets pressure out of the container while keeping any air from entering back in. Aftering letting the mixture sit for approximately a week, the solution will divide into two layers. When this occurs you know the fermentation process is complete. The liquid is divided out a second time, and is ready to use as a soil drench and foliar spray. 

The ecology of plants and microbes is a complicated and delicate symbiose. When applying natural growing methods and using natural products such as lactobacillus, the results are phenomenal. Using lactobacillus gives us all the benefits we need and creates zero risk to plants and humans. Taking advantage of these amazing microbes will benefit your soil and plants in countless ways.