We drink things like kombucha and make sure we eat yogurt so we can include the kind of good bacteria in our diets that makes our gut happy and healthy. Well, we're not the only ones who benefit from good bacteria - our gardens can too and Indigenous microorganisms are one way to give it to them.
I know what you're thinking, I'm a lady with a thriving backyard farm, but I've never heard of Indigenous microorganisms before! Well, let me get right to that. A lot of researchers, agriculturalists and scholars have done tests and trials that have now proved Indigenous microorganisms' usefulness in farming. And today, I will give you reasons why these organisms are useful to your backyard farm! It's a long process cultivating and using Indigenous microorganisms, so it's for the more serious green thumbs and farmers out there.
What are Indigenous Microorganisms?
Indigenous Microorganisms (IMO) are tiny microbes that live in the soil and surfaces of all living things. These organisms are fungi, bacteria, protozoa, or even nematodes (small worms) that have inhabited these environments for thousands of years. The organisms that primarily make up IMO are beneficial fungi, bacteria, and yeasts.They do not cause any harm to living things that they inhabit and give many benefits, here are some of them:
These native organisms help break down organic material to form compost. So kitchen waste from your home can become rich soil that you can use for vegetable gardening!
2. Boosts Soil Fertility
The organisms have a symbiotic relationship with plants (in other words, they compliment each other). The waste or excrete produced by the organisms, nourishes the soil and helps plants grow!
3. Suppress plant diseases
The presence of the IMO in an environment hinders and overwhelms the development of harmful organisms that can cause diseases in plants. The microorganisms produce substances that make it hard for various diseases to grow and spread
How to cultivate Indigenous Microorganisms
You can do this with daily essentials - it takes some time, but it's simple and there are plenty of farmers out here doing it!
- First, boil 1 kg of rice, leave it to cool, and divide the rice into four equal lumps.
- Roll each piece into balls and place each in a perforated plastic bag or a netted grocery bag to allow air in the bag.
- Bury each of the bags under a tree in separate holes, that are each around a foot in depth. You should make sure the location you choose to bury the bags is under shade and won't get rained on.
- Leave the bags underground for seven days.
- On the 8th day, open up the bags. Get the rice balls (they might be covered in a few bugs), mix them back together and add 1 kg of sugar.
- Place the mixture in the perforated bag again and hang it under a tree for another week. You should place a bucket below the hanging bag because it will produce a liquid and start dripping. Do not pour the liquid because you still need it!
- After a week, collect the bag and mix the whole rice ball into 2 litres of water thoroughly.
- Then add 2kg of maize bran plus 1kg of sugar into the mixture and stir well until it's a thick consistency.
- Pour the mixture in a 200-litres drum of water, stir and cover the drum with a cloth so that flies and other insects don't enter in the solution for another seven days.
- After seven days, the liquid is ready for use. The liquid will have an attractive aroma. You can now sprinkle the solution to your compost pit, backyard soil, and litter floor or feed your pigs and chicken the liquid!
For videos showing how to cultivate IMO go here.
The bottom line - Indigenous microorganisms are great for the soil and the planet. Try it, you won't be disappointed!
Written by Rebecca Namuwaya
Rebecca is an entrepreneur, student and freelance writer. She loves writing about sustainable agriculture and the environment. When she's not writing, she can be found gardening in her backyard, helping farmers with their gardens and learning new food recipes.
You can find her on twitter here.