In an earlier post I wrote about how to prepare and use Panchagavya. Panchagavya is an excellent pest repellent, foliar spray and fertilizer for your plants. In our garden we use it mostly as a foliar spray and pest repellent. That is because the recipe of Panchagavya calls for a wait period of 18 days, but it can be stored for 2 months time. Hence it is convenient to make one batch of Panchagavya every two months and use small quantities as a pest repellent. For fertilizing the plants we use two other cow dung based solutions. Namely Amrut Jal and Jeevamrut. In this post I’ll be guiding you on how to prepare and use Amrut Jal.
Amrut Jal has been popularized by Prof Sripad A Dabholkar as a part of what is known as NatuEco Farming Technique. But most gardeners I talk to are blissfully unaware of this magic potion. I hope this post will reach out to as many Organic Terrace Gardeners and farmers as possible, so that everyone can reap benefits of this humble yet powerful gift of nature.
How does Amrut Jal work?
I first came to know about Amrut Jal from Urban Leaves blog and decided to try it in our garden. First we tried it on a flower plant that had dried up and had stopped flowering. Guess what! In about fifteen days the plant had started bearing flowers and in about a month’s time it was covered with them. And since then Amrut Jal has been a regular feature in our garden.
So how does it work?
Fresh cow dung not only contains nutrients for plants, it also contains millions of soil friendly microbes. When they are fed well, they multiply. And when you feed the soil with these microbes soil comes alive. They not only improve the structure of the soil, they also start to break down the available nutrients into a form, that can be easily taken in by plants. The process of making Amrut Jal is basically a process of increasing the number of already available microbial life in fresh cow dung of the Indian breed cow.
Amrut Jal Recipe
Fresh cow dung of Indian breed cow – 1 kg
Urine of Indian breed cow (Older the better) – 1 liter
Organic Black Jaggery – 50 gms (can be substituted with 2 glasses of sugarcane juice or six over ripe bananas)
Water – 10 liters
In a plastic or wooden bucket mix the jaggery with some water or urine to liquefy it. The jaggery serves as the food, which the microbes will eat and multiply.
Mix in the cow dung and urine. Use a wooden stick to do the mixing. Alternatively plastic can be used. But do not use any metal to do the mixing. Cow dung contains different type of beneficial microbes. Cow urine contains microbes which help in photosynthesis. It also makes the food more palatable for the microbes.
While doing the mixing stir slowly in one direction. If you stir too violently then you’ll be killing the microbes.
Add in the water, cover the container with a piece of cloth or any other loose cover and leave it to ferment. Make sure that the cover is not air tight. Avoid exposure to direct sunlight and rain.
Stir the solution 12 times in both clockwise and anticlockwise direction using wooden stick three times a day. This helps in distributing the microbes uniformly in the solution. Why 12 times? Well answer to that I really don’t know. But since the recipe calls for it lets stick to it.
From the second day onward you’ll see that the fermentation process has started. On the fourth day the microbial activity reaches its peak. And that is when Amrut Jal is used.
On the forth day for every liter of the fermented solution add ten liters of water and Amrut Jal is ready to be used.
Usage of Amrut Jal
Amrut Jal is best used on the fourth day for watering the plants. However we also use it on 3rd and 5th days. We use it in almost all gardening activities. They are
Watering the plants using Amrut Jal on a weekly basis keeps the soil alive and rich in nutrients.
Spraying filtered Amrut jal once a week or once a fortnight helps in lowering the chance of pest infestation. It is also an excellent foliar spray.
Seed treatment using Amrut jal by soaking for 24 hours before sowing them helps in better germination rate and stronger plant.
Root treatment of saplings for 30 minutes before planting them helps develop a stronger and more disease resistant plant.
Dried leaves or dried sugarcane bagasse is soaked in Amrut Jal and then used as mulch for plants.
In India cow is a revered animal and is often referred to as Gou-Mata or the Cow Mother. And this love and respect for the holy cow does not come without any reason. Every product from cow including its dung and urine have been used in daily lives of people in Indian sub continent since ancient times. Gou-Daan or Gifting/Donation of the cow was considered as one of the biggest act of kindness as cow is also a source of livelihood. But the biggest contribution that the Indian breed (desi) cow has been making is in the field of agriculture. Cow waste is one of the best manures and soil enhancer which is used in organic farming widely. A lot of different liquid fertilizers and foliar sprays are made using cow waste all across India. Panchagavya/Panchakavya or Panchagavyam/Panchakavyam is not just one of them, it is the king among them all. It is also used in Ayurvedic medicines and cosmetic products.
Though Panchgavya is available commercially in Indian market, we prefer to make our own. This is because not only we want to control the quality, Panchagavya is also super easy to prepare.
Panchagavya can be loosely translated as ‘Five products of cow’. As the name suggests it uses five products from cow and a few more natural ingredients for the fermentation process. Here is what you need to prepare this magic potion. Note that all the cow products must be from desi cow variety.
Fresh Cow Dung – 5 kg
Cow Urine (need not be fresh) – 3 liter
Cow Milk boiled and cooled (not refrigerated) – 2 liter
Fresh Cow Curd – 2 liter
Cow Ghee – 500 gms
Well ripened Bananas – 12
Black organic jaggery dissolved in 3 liters of water (Alternatively use sugarcane juice of the same volume) – 500 gms
Fresh Tender coconut water – 3 liters
Fresh Grape Juice – 2 liter
Take a wide mouth plastic, clay or wooden container. Do NOT use a metal container. Make sure its clean and sun dry it for a day or two to sterilize it.
Mix the cow dung and ghee in the container using a wooden stick. Again do not use any metal here. Stir in clockwise direction in a rhythmic motion. Then stir in anti clockwise direction. Do not mix vigorously. It will kill the beneficial microbes in cow dung.
Cover the container using thick cloth to protect it from insects. Leave this mixture for three days. Keep it away from direct sunlight and rain. Give it a stir once in the morning and once in the evening. Twelve times in each direction works well.
On the fourth day slowly stir in all other ingredients. Make sure you are mixing them in while stirring the mixture in a single direction slowly.
Leave this to ferment for 15 days. Give it a stir once in the morning and once in the evening.
Your Panchagavya is now ready to use. Store it in a place away from direct sun and rain. Keep it covered and give it a stir two times a day. If you follow these guidelines you can store this concoction up to 2 months.
How to use Panchagavya
To use Panchagavya dilute it with 30 parts water and it is ready to be used as a liquid fertilizer. To use it as a foliar spray filter the liquid using a cotton cloth to separate out the waste. If you do not filter it your spray nozzle will be blocked.
As a fertilizer we use it once every two weeks during normal growth of a plant and once a week during flowering and fruiting. As a foliar spray we use it on a weekly basis. We have noticed that when Panchagaya is sprayed all pests disappear and start to make an appearance after about a week’s time. Hence we spray once in a week. Spraying should be done early in the morning or late in the afternoon. Plants and leaves should be dry when you spray Panchakavya. You can spray it between 8-9 AM on a normal day in the morning. In the evening spray about an hour before sun set. Do not waste your Panchagavya on rainy days.
Benefits of Panchagavya
The benefits of Panchagavya are numerous. It is indeed a magic potion for plants. You’ll notice a few things about your plants when you start using Panchakavya.
It keeps pests away from your plants.
It helps develop bigger and better leaves and stem.
Plant canopy and root system becomes denser.
Yield is better in quantity and quality.
In our garden we use Panchakavya in addition to other cow waste based liquid fertilizers like Amrut Jal and Jiwamrita and have been consistently getting splendid results. Even our kittens like to slurp Panchagavya. We believe their extraordinary growth and health is due to Panchakavya. Though this still needs to be proven, the benefits of Panchagavya for your plants will be there for you to see when you make your own and use it.