Korean Natural farming encourages the growth of naturally occurring indigenous microorganisms using simple and inexpensive methods and materials. Here I will describe one method for making a fish amino acid emulsion supplement that can help deliver essential nutrients to both plants and microorganisms in the soil.
Fish Amino Acid (FAA) is a Korean Natural Farming supplement that is abundant in amino acids and nutrients. Brown sugar, fish scraps and a little time are all you need to make FAA. By fermenting fish parts from the kitchen, you are practicing zero-waste in at least two ways. First, fish parts that are not being used for food become FAA instead of landfill. Second, homemade FAA can be made and stored in upcycled containers. Commercial fertilizers often contain harmful substances and petrochemicals and are packaged in single-use plastic.
How to Make Fish Amino Acid:
- Clay jar or food-grade plastic jug. We use a 5-gallon water jug. The spout at the bottom makes harvesting the FAA easy.
- Blue-black fresh fish parts such as the intestines, head, and bones.
- Blue-black fish is the common name for blue-colored fish such as bluefin tuna, yellowtail, mackerel, sardine, anchovy, and salmon. These types of fish are rich in protein, vitamins, amino acids, and essential fatty acids such as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA).
- Brown sugar.
- Optional: indigenous microorganisms to inoculate the fish with beneficial microbes. You may propagate your own IMO. Korean natural farming teaches four different methods for acquiring IMO. (1)
- Line the fermentation vessel with about 4 inches of various sized rocks to facilitate drainage.
- Layer fish parts and brown sugar into the vessel in a 1:1 ratio. Alternate fish parts and brown sugar, forming a layered mass. Fill the jar up to ⅔ of its volume.
- Cover the final layer with packed brown sugar.
- Add a small amount of IMO to the final layer of brown sugar to aid in the decomposition of the fish.
- Cover the vessel.
- In a few days, the fish parts will begin to ferment. The fish parts will become liquid through the osmotic pressure generated by the brown sugar.
- It will take about 6 months for the fish parts to become fully liquidized.
- Mature FAA will smell sweet but not foul, almost like soy sauce. It will be viscous and dark in color.
- If you use a vessel like a water cooler, which has a spigot that allows you to collect FAA from the bottom of the vessel, then you may choose to continuously ferment more FAA.
- Add more fish parts and brown sugar in layers as more room becomes available in the vessel.
- Every few months, remove bones from the vessel. Compost the bones or use them to make Korean Natural Farming Brown Rice Vinegar (BRV), a water-soluble calcium phosphate.
How to Use FAA in the Garden
- Dilute Fish Amino acid with water before use in the garden. We use FAA in a homeopathic dose of 1:1000 parts water.
- FAA is rich with nitrogen and encourages plant growth during their vegetative state. It may be applied to both soil and foliage.
- FAA may also be used as a foliar spray to repel insects such as worm moths and mites. Apply diluted FAA with a spray bottle to both sides of the plant leaf.
- If the preparation starts to smell foul, add more sugar to the fermentation vessel.
- To apply FAA in the garden: Dilute FAA with water at a ratio of 1:1000.
- Fill a watering can ½ full (500 parts) with water. FAA will stick to any surface it comes in contact with and therefore must be dissolved in water first. Add 1 part FAA to the water. Add remaining (500 parts) water and stir.
- Apply FAA to soil before planting, to roots of established plants, or to foliage of plants using a spray bottle.
- Cho, Ju-Young. Natural Farming: Agriculture Materials. Cho Global Natural Farming, 2010.