Mike’s Wood Ash and Walnut Shell Vinegar Soil Drench Recipes

This soil drench recipe creates a liquid suspension of biogenic sources of Calcium, Silica, Organic Biostimulants, Biochar and a range of macronutrients and micronutrients. This liquid suspension provides a plant with readily available energy, as well as, slow release energy.

Wood Vinegar Soil Drench
Batch Size: 2-gallon watering can

2 Gallon Watering Can
2 Gallon Watering Can

1. Add 8 grams of screened hardwood ash into a glass quart jar.

Screened wood ash
Screened wood ash
Wood Ash Screen
Wood Ash Screen

2. Add 3 ounces/90mL of water to glass jar. Mix well.

Wood ash/biochar suspension
Wood ash/biochar suspension

3. Add 3/4 cups/180mL of Wood Vinegar to jar. Mix well.

Foam reaction from wood/ash vinegar mixing
Foam reaction from wood/ash vinegar mixing

4. Wait at least 10 minutes before proceeding.
5. Add 1 gallon of water to watering can.
6. Add 1 teaspoon of diatomaceous earth (DE) to jar. Mix well.
7. Fill jar ¾ with water.

Soil drench concentrate
Soil drench concentrate

8. Add Soil Drench Concentrate to water can. Rinse the jar out with water from the watering can at least once. Return rinsate to watering can.
9. Add water to watering can so that it is full. Mix well

Soil drench liquid suspension, ready to use
Soil drench liquid suspension, ready to use

Directions for use:

For individual plants, like peppers, cucumbers and tomatoes, add 1 cup of the ready to use liquid suspension around the stem of the plant every 2 weeks during the growing season, starting 1 week after transplant planting.

For row plants, like carrots, onions and garlic, broadcast 2 gallons over a 32 sf area (1ft. X 32ft.) every 2 weeks after the seedlings are showing themselves.

NOTE:  The target pH of the ready to use liquid suspension is between 6-8.  The wood vinegar we use has an acetic acid concentration of around 5%.

Walnut Shell Vinegar Soil Drench        Batch Size: 2-gallon watering can

  1. Add 8 grams of hardwood ash into a glass quart jar.
  2. Add 3 ounces/90mL of water to jar. Mix well.
  3. Add 3 ounces/90mL of Walnut Shell Vinegar to jar. Mix well.
  4. Wait at least 10 minutes before proceeding.
  5. Add 1 gallon of water to watering can.
  6. Add 1 teaspoon of diatomaceous earth (DE) to jar. Mix well.
  7. Fill glass jar ¾ with water. Mix well
  8. Add contents of jar to watering can. Rinse the jar out with water from the watering can at least once. Add rinsate back to watering can.
  9. Add water to watering can so that it is full. Soil Drench liquid ready to apply

Directions for use:

For individual plants, like peppers, cucumbers and tomatoes, add 1 cup of the ready to use liquid suspension around the stem of the plant every 2 weeks during the growing season, starting 1 week after transplant planting.

For row plants, like carrots, onions and garlic, broadcast 2 gallons over a 32 sf area (1ft. X 32ft.) every 2 weeks after the seedlings are showing themselves.

NOTE:  The target pH of the ready to use liquid suspension is between 6-8.  The walnut shell vinegar we are using has a higher acetic acid % than wood vinegar thus we need to use less volume to buffer the pH.

Hardwood Ash Nerd Stuff…

Hardwood ash provides a broad range of biogenic minerals in beneficial ratios and concentrations. The minerals are biogenic because they originally came from something living.

The hardwood ash we are using contains both wood ash particles and wood char particles.

Based on our literature research, each gram of hardwood ash provides approximately:

Ingredient Amount
Phosphorous 36 milligrams (mg)
Potassium 137mg
Calcium 216mg
Magnesium 47mg

In the soil drench recipe, we are using 8 grams of hardwood ash.  The concentration of these mineral elements is:

Ingredient Amount
Phosphorous 288 milligrams (mg)
Potassium 1096mg
Calcium 1728mg
Magnesium 376mg

Thus the 2 gallons/7.57 Liters of the soil drench batch contains in liquid suspension:

Ingredient Amount
Phosphorous 38mg/L (ppm)
Potassium 145mg/L (ppm)
Calcium 228mg/L (ppm)
Magnesium 50mg/L (ppm)

Diatomaceous Nerd Stuff…

Diatomaceous Earth (DE) originates from a type of green algae called diatoms.  These diatoms contain silica dioxide.  Thus DE serves as a source of biogenic silica, which is silica derived from something that was once living.

We have 2 reasons for using DE in the soil drench recipe.  First, adding DE to the soil helps soil retain moisture.  Second, the DE serves as a source of silica.

Though not recognized as an essential plant nutrient, silica added to the root zone, via the soil drench, can contribute to improved overall plant health thru a range of different mechanisms.

Final Comments…

Repeated use of the soil drench is in synch with the idea of “less used more often is better than a lot used less often.” Our goal with repeated use of the soil drench every two weeks is to spoon feed the plant a dilute natural mineral supplement.

What are the benefits of coating the wood ash particles and wood char particles with the organic components in the Vinegars?   Our sense is that having the particles coated can help keep the ‘organics’ in the root zone longer.

It is our expectation that growers will use these recipes to grow great tasting and nutritious vegetables but, after a while, may ask the question.

This is a good recipe but what happens if we add this?

We look forward to hearing from folks regarding their use and modification of this soil drench recipe.

Happy Experimenting !

Mike, farmer, scientist, worm guy~~~~

Email: mikethewormguy@aol.com

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