Center for Regenerative Agriculture and Resilient Systems

How to Inoculate Your Seeds with Beam Compost

Dr. David Johnson shares his techniques for adequately coating seeds with BEAM compost and getting them ready to plant below.

Making a slurry to treat seeds is very simple. Fill a 5 gallon bucket about half full with compost. Add 1 Tablespoon of molasses to a cup of warm milk to mix us an adhesive to bind the compost to the seed with. Pour this milk/molasses mixture into the bucket with compost along with enough water to make a slurry that has the consistency of pancake batter (see video for consistency). Add 1 quart of this mixture to a 50# bag of seed and tumble in a cement mixer for  2 minutes and then remove from the mixer and plant wet if possible, if not spread the seeds out on a tarp in the shade and allow to dry. It is better to plant wet but sometimes planting equipment does not allow this option.

This video is also available with an English transcript and Spanish translation(opens in new window) included as an option under closed captions.

This video shows you can do it with a cement mixer and a drying process, but I would forgo the drying process if damp seed can be planted. We have had success planting damp seed as they are not sticky and actually flow better through a drill.  

An inoculant could also be made by further dilution and sprayed on seed as it is augured into the seed boxes on a planter.  If the farms are really small the seed can be treated in a 5 gallon bucket mixing by hand and then planted. These would be options for seeding cover crops or grain crops.

Another version of this video is available with a written English transcript and with a Spanish translation option under closed captions.(opens in new window)