• Garlic and chili turn bio-fertilizer into a pesticide

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    An organic fertilizer produced and sold in the Philippines can be easily turned into a safe, low-cost pesticide by adding fermented garlic and chili, the inventor said.

    Microbiologist Dr. Ronaldo Sumaoang, the developer of a liquid organic fertilizer called Durabloom, said that he discovered a mixture of garlic and chili served as an effective pesticide when added to the fertilizer, which is derived from fish extracts.

    Sumaoang uses his own formulation on his small commercial vegetable farm, which produces tomatoes, pechay, eggplant and other vegetables sold mainly at the small market in his village in Sta. Ignacia, Tarlac.
    Sumaoang explained that his original Durabloom fertilizer was intended primarily to enhance growth of vegetables and many other crops, and its somewhat sticky consistency prevents it from being easily washed away by irrigation or rain. The downside of the formula, however, is that it is not effective in discouraging insect pests in its original form, Sumaoang explained.

    After some experimentation, Sumaoang developed a fermented concoction of garlic, chili peppers, and molasses that, when added to the Durabloom fertilizer, makes it an effective pesticide.

    “The garlic and chili increases the acidity of the mixture to five to six percent, compared to the original four percent of the Durabloom by itself,” he explained. “This is enough to make the fertilizer work as a pesticide.”

    To prepare the pesticide mixture, Sumaoang said, add one-half kilogram of peeled and crushed garlic, one kilo of ripe hot chili peppers, and one liter of molasses to nine liters of clean water in a disposable plastic pail.

    Cover the mixture with a cheesecloth or other thin cloth that allows air passage, and store the container in a cool, dry place for 20 to 30 days to allow it to ferment (Sumaoang warned that the mixture, when fully fermented, smells terrible).

    To finish the recipe, strain the liquid through a cloth or other strainer to remove the solid particles, and then add one liter of Durabloom liquid fertilizer, Sumaoang said. The resulting mixture should then be stored in airtight containers, he added.

    To use the combined fertilizer-pesticide, it is mixed in a ratio of 100 milliliters (about 10 tablespoons) to 16 liters of clean water, then sprayed liberally on the leaves of growing plants. The treatment can be used once a week.
    Sumaoang said that his mixture costs about one-tenth the cost of comparable chemical pesticides.

    He also said that the garlic and chili concoction could be used in diluted form by itself to repel insect pests, but would of course not have the fertilizer properties of the Durabloom liquid.

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