Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

I've given up purchasing inputs for the garden in way of fertiliser or any additives. I'm more or less a mulchifying man.

Free lawn clippings or mulch I grow myself*.

I'm also wary of manures especially as I'm spending time gardening with children.Ironic given that we are ringed by horse and cattle farms.

So I've switched to weed teas  as I explain here: LINK.

While I'm very happy with my teas I do have to wait around 5 weeks for the brew to approximate the odorous joys of the inside of a cow's stomachs. The smell rules the method. Gotta smell like a milking shed.

We've also started a  weed tea program at the school and treat the adding of weeds as though were the witches from Macbeth.They can't pull enough weeds to feed the pot!

I shared a video --HERE -- of Rei Yoon's presentation on JMS at a recent NASAA conference in Victoria. It's not a very good vid...

So I thought I'd cut to the chase about JMS:

Basic JMS is a really simple process:


In our climate the brew is ready for spreading (diluted 1:20) in maybe 24-48 hours.

That's it!

The only hardware you'll need is a bucket and a couple of old socks (or cheese cloth).

Don't laugh. This is scientific.

My fermenting experience recognises the logical dynamic in play. While the leaf litter/bush soil is the inoculant, the potato starch is the microbes' carbohydrate tucker.

You can take the 'leaf litter' from a good spot in your own garden -- but maybe better to find a rain forest glen and grab a handful of leaf mold from there.

This is a practice followed in parts of Africa for instance. You could 'grow' this mold in a garden patch and plant veges like spring onions to sustain it -- but JMS is much quicker and easier. (See my follow up comment below.)

The saline water is your standard fermenting medium that sponsors changes in pH and activates reproduction.

There are a couple of DIY vids online but this one (LINK) I think is the most accessible. There's also this shorter one that differs from the other by skipping elements. (LINK).

I much prefer the former. His -- Chris Trump's --channel is worth subscribing to :LINK.

I'll go thru the recipe according to the first:

  • hand --or scoop --full of leaf mold
  • 15 litres de-chlorinated water (eg: rainwater or conditioned tap water -- you can buy dechlornator/water conditioner from pet shops)
  • 2-3 baked or boiled unpeeled potatoes (cooked until they are mushy)
  • 2 pieces of cheesecloth or 2 socks to hold the leaf mold and potatoes separately  in suspension  in the water. You want  two separate permeable bags.
  • 15 grams of salt (roughly a shallow handful or 3 teaspoons or 1 light tablespoon)
  • Add the salt to the water and suspend the bags of litter and potato in the water
  • Squeeze  the bags, while immersed, to release much of their contents.
  • Cover your pot and leave to ferment.
  • Leave for 24 hours (in our climate & this weather)
  • The JMS should be active and bubbling.
  • Use it while the ferment is bubbling and active.
  • Dilute your ferment with water 1:20 and drench it on your plants, soil and garden.

What the ferment should look like when bubbling away.

*(...and urine I make myself...)

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I've shared this before (LINK to post) but another option is


which can be downloaded as a pdf from here: LINK.
My POV is that JMS should be just as good and certainly a lot easier.
Dave, that's a quick way to build your microorganisms in the soil. I have done some of the Korean natural farming things with IMOs and I inoculate batches of coffee grounds every week with lacto storing them in icecream containers for a month or so before adding to my garden. They bloom with white lacto strands and go into parts of the garden I'm about to plant up. It's just a practical way of dealing with a waste product that helps my garden along. I'm not great at composting but dropping stuff in place is easy.

Making IMOs seemed too complicated for me but I see where the process partly parallels JMS.


JADAM also has some more complex recipes on offer so the world's your oyster if you want to engage.

Anyone with a background in microbiology or wound infection knows how opportunistic microorganisms can be. If you start with a 'sterile'* environment and 'infect' it, the ruling factor is feeding -- or not feeding -- the infection. The demographic of the microbial population will vary with time as successive types replace one another.

This is the same for sourdough bread, yogurt, sauerkraut, beer...and, it seems,  JMS.

When it comes to making mycorrhizal inoculum my guess is that all roads lead to Rome so long as you initial feed comes from a good fungal source.

* sterile: is a relative term here such as unchlorinated water. With yogurt you cleanse and depopulate the milk by heating it to make a more welcoming medium for lacto bacillus. With sourdough starter you switch from rye to white bread to limit the growth of problematic organisms as there is fewer complex sugars to feed off.


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