I'm hoping that those who have tried Bokashi composting can share their experiences, both good and bad.
Several of the Bokashi sites show the Bokashi fermented food waste being added to the soil next to the growing plants. Sarah (barksy) who wrote the DG newsletter article indicates that the ferment is too acidic to do so. I'm assuming that this may be an issue if one lives in an area with naturally acidic soil. Here in the alkaline west, I've buried my bokashi in a hole in the raised bed, added an inch of soil and then transplanted a seedling on top. It grew up to outperform it's neighbors.
I like to use the Bokashi bran or a misting of Activated EM (a brew of the same mother culture that innoculates the Bokashi bran) in the kitchen food scrap bucket because it keeps the odors down. If Bokashi/EM is used, when I open the bucket I only get a whiff of a yeasty/vinaegary smell instead of rotting veggies. When we lived in the country, it was no big deal to empty the compost bucket out in the pile each day. Now that we are in a more urban environment, I no longer have that luxury. We generate more scraps than my patio worm bin can handle. Everything goes into the Bokashi buckets, then after a couple of weeks I haul them down to the community garden. No nasty odors when the buckets are opened.
I now add the Bokashi ferment to the worm bin as well. It gets layered between the worm bedding (usually coir or shredded newspaper) and the worms love it.
There is another way that I've found the Bokashi fermentation has proven helpful in the garden - composting noxious plants and weeds like bermuda grass and field bindweed. Ordinarily we wouldn't add these to the compost pile to avoid spreading them in the garden. When shredded and fermented, they break down nicely without risk of sprouting.
garden_mermaid (great name, btw):
Thanks so much for creating this thread and for collecting the links for us to read. I am going to try this method this winter, mainly because I feel that my composting comes to a halt in the winter, when my usual compost pile turns into a frozen Kilamanjaro. I don't mind the trek to my bins outside, but everything just sits there. (Corrected to add that I move into a "passive composting" mode in winter and don't turn my compost so it doesn't get warm.)
My question is: what part does temperature play in the fermenting method? In other words, can the buckets of fermenting scraps sit in an unheated (but above freezing) garage? Our family can fill more than one 5-gal bucket this winter and spring and I'd need a place to put them other than in the (crowded) kitchen.
Another question (sorry): Can meat/dairy scraps be used, or not? I would like to use them because I hate to toss anything out, but some of the sources you listed said yes, and another said not to.
Quoting:We avoid putting any meat or dairy products into it, although small amounts of either are no big deal.
Garden_mermaid, I have yet another question: do you use any particular commercial Bokashi bucket, and/or mix? There seem to be different ones available from the on-line sources. I'm not sure which to order. If anyone else has any recommendations, I'd love to hear them.
Thanks in advance.
I'll chime in as well - thanks for this thread & relevant info.
I have been composting for over 20 years here, and it was all due to not having a garbage disposal, not a great idea with a septic tank or so I
I will be anxious to hear from those who are using this - love to have another experiment.
Originally, I bought a "kit" that included a Happy Farmer Bokashi bucket and a bag of Bokashi bran, plus a litre bottle of EM. The Happy Farmer bucket has a grate and a spout at the bottom to allow liquids to seep through and away from the rest of the contents. It holds the same as a 5-gallon bucket. I bought a standard 5-gallon bucket at the hardware store to use as the second bucket when the first is full.
They both seem to work equally well and the standard bucket was cheaper. If your scraps tend to be wetter, you may want the fancier bucket.
Sometimes I don't put enough Bokashi in the bucket and one goes "bad", meaning it rots a little instead of fermenting. I can usually sprinkle a tablespoon of sugar over the offending batch to feed the beneficial microbes and it goes back to fermenting. One batch couldn't be cured that way. I just buried the bucket contents a little deeper into the ground and the worms liked it anyway.
Speaking of worms...I was asked to move the Bokashi discussion off of the vermicomposting thread, but in truth, worms are a key part of Bokashi composting.
When we bury the fermented scraps in a trench in the ground, they turn into rich deep compost in a couple of weeks because the earthworms have eaten the stuff! If you digg down to see how well the fermented scraps have composted in the soil, the results are a nice dark mass of worm compost.
Meat and dairy can be tossed into the Bokashi bucket. Many people just scrape leftovers from the plate to the bucket, sprinkle with the innoculated bran and seal the lid. That being said, if you live in an area with wildlife that may be attracted to your compost materials, please do your part to keep the wildlife wild and alive and make sure your compost does not attract them into your yard. Although I haven't had any mammals take an interest in the Bokashi ferment that has been buried in a trench in the ground or in the compost pile, we did have an enterprising raccoon and a mole eat all our worms one winter. We found the tunnels underneath the pile and no worms in the pile. We put a weld wire (construction cloth) bottom and top on the bin after that.
Moving from Illinois to Texas I have to learn gardening ways all over since I have clay and sand instead of dirt.
I think it is a better way to use up waste then tossing it in the trash and once it has fermented we either add it to the regular compost pile or dig a trench and put it in the ground and since I also work in a restaurant I bring home food scraps ( melon skins, potato peels etc.) from there when I can to add in.
I use a rubber tub with a lid to collect it in from the kitchen then add it to a garbage can outside to ferment since DH isn't' real hip on having the whole thing in the house/garage.
Thank you so much , garden_mermaid and others who have taken the time to comment and give tips to this newbie! I am very excited about getting started with Bokashi. The tip about adding a tablespoon of sugar to "revive" the pail sounds really useful, too.
One more question: since the ground in my area freezes for the next 2 or so months and I can't dig trenches very easily, can I just keep the pails of fermenting product in my unheated garage until I can work the ground? Would I need keep checking to remove the liquid from the bottom and/ or adding more bokashi? Most sources say to leave the pail to "cure" for 2-4 weeks, but I am wondering if the fermented scraps can sit longer.
Mibus2, I am SO jealous that you have access to restaurant-scraps! I have been known to lurk around the produce section of my grocery store, hinting broadly to the employees about how helpful all those culled, moldy veggies and fruits would be to my compost pile! Often I score a box of trimmings which makes me SO happy!
you can leave it longer that is not a problem from what I know and I use molasses in mine to revive it if needed.
check out the link I put in for the emamerica they talk about it staying longer if needed.
You could try hitting up a family owned restaurant in your area if any and see if you could get the scraps and maybe if you can afford it get a trash can to offer for them to put the scraps in and pick it up a couple times a week???
Bokashi will ferment the food waste, preventing it from rotting, and therefore eliminate odor or the attraction to flies. After the food waste is pickled, you can add it to an existing compost pile, feed it to worms, or bury it in an existing garden bed. But what I have read it is best to wait at least 2 weeks before actually planting anything in the spot where you buried it.
I'm very excited; I just ordered two pails and some Bokashi from emamerica.com--couldn't resist the nice guy with the 'Strine accent on the video (or was it New Zealand?)
I'm curious; on the video the man said to be sure to drain off the liquid from the bottom of the pail because it could kill my plants. Yet I thought that I could use this liquid, much diluted, as a fertilizer for houseplants. Is it just too concentrated in its original form? But it seems like the liquid should easily be dispersed when buried in a trench, as the video shows.
Well, I drained the liquid from the Happy Farmer pail, diluted it in the watering can, and doused the garden. Nothing died and the plants seemed to like it. Dilution may be the key. The standard 5 gallon bucket doesn't have a convenient drain at the bottom...so it doesn't get drained until I bury it. I do put a layer of the bokashi bran or coir at the bottom of the standard bucket, so maybe that absorbs enough of the liquid, or I just have "dry scraps". You'll need to experiment and see what works best for you.
Thanks, garden_mermaid, I'm going to dilute the liquid and go from there. . . not that I HAVE any liquid yet. In fact, I don't even have any buckets. But I am SO ready. The thought of being able to recycle meat, fish, and dairy products (as well as the usual vegetative material) for the good of my garden is incredibly appealing.
Are we composters crazy? I have to stop myself from asking my hostess at dinner parties if I could just have those scraps. . . and I usually do anyway!
Wow y'al sure make me feel better I had posted when I first got the Bokashi in the composting forum and some fellow Texans keep saying to me know you can not compost using kitchen scraps such as the meat etc and I kept trying to explain to them yes you can and gave the link to emamerica but felt so down hearted as no one seeeds to get it and now to find here how excited you are on it makes me feel so much better and what I thought as being worth while really is...thanks
It's a matter of finding the right "tool" for the job. There a many ways to compost, so you once you determine what materials you have on hand that need composting, and how much space/time you have available, you can find the best method for your personal situation. Some folks think the only good microbe is a dead microbe. Thankfully, more and more folks are learning about beneficial microbes and the roles they play in protecting our planet and our health.
Me too and I found on my first batch it is best to let it sit more then 2 weeks so it ferments more so the dogs stay out of it ...DH didn't so where we put it in the ground the neighborhood time share dog thought he should dig a lil to check it out. LOL
Great thread g_m. I have been looking for ways to compost our kitchen scraps for ages other than vermicomposting I have a question that I'm hoping you can answer. My garden is tiny and I don't have a compost heap. There's not even a lot of space in the garden part and I certainly don't have any room to make a trench like in the video on the EM America site. Have you ever run out of space to bury the Bokashi compost? Or do you know of a way around this? Could I store it in a bigger, and open container mixed with some soils and worms?
Cape Cod, you may want to phone the folks at EMamerica or SCDWorld and ask that them their thoughts on that topic. We don't get the hard freezes that you get, although my DH filled me in on weather conditions in MA (he lived in the Berkshires for a spell).
I don't dig a big trench like in the video. I just dig a hole (away from any foot traffic) that can accomodate a 5 gallon bucket's worth of fermented scraps, cover with about 4-6 inches of soil and let the earthworms do their work. You could cover the hole with chicken wire if critters are a concern.
Since I feed some of the Bokashi to the worms in the Wriggly Wranch and bury the rest in the garden hold, it doesn't take a lot of space. When I'm ready to bury another bucket load, I just dig out the finished product from the hole in the ground and spread it over which ever plants look most deserving at the time.
the time share dog(Austrialian Shepard) is a pet to one couples son and the son left so he adopted the couple living caddy corner behind us and he visits everyone between the two houses as he goes from one place to the other.
I agree with Zany and besides he must not realize how much it saves in buying fertilizer let alone the environment.
Suzy I do like your way of thinking though on the free purchase ..ROFLMAOBIGTIME
I found a few websites where folks asked the same question as me. One poster referred to the Bokashi New Zealand site and their recommendation is...
Quoting:Alternatively you can add it too a bottomless bucket with a good lid that is buried up to its neck in the soil. Mix a little soil to each batch of compost that you place into the buried bucket.
Heard back from Santa. Definitely room on the sleigh!
Take a hack saw and make four cuts in the side of the lid at equal distance (i.e. 12, 3, 6, & 9 o'clock. Make sure you don't cut the rubber seal. Lid comes off easy, but put a rock on it if you want to keep out any nosy four legged varmits!
My Bokashi bucket arrived tonight and I'm excited to get it started. G_M & Mibus2, do you also put grain products in the bucket - bread scraps & the like?
I'm also getting chickens for christmas this year (laying type not eating) and I was really interested to read on a number of different websites that folks are using the Bokashi bran in chicken feed. Apparently it helps to improve the overall health of the birds and keeps the smell of their poop down. I'm telling ya! My garden is not going to know what hit it this summer!
wgnkiwi, I've read that some folks mix the Bokashi bran with the chicken feed. My take on that is that it is like giving them probiotic supplement. You may want to order a litre of EM mother culture that you can use to brew up some Activated EM. I use this in diluted form as both a soil drench, a foliar spray and full strength as a weekly drain treatment to keep my drains open. I've also sprayed it on garbage/trash cans to get rid of any smells. The emamerica site has some interesting documentation on the EM in use during disaster relief such as spraying on walls after flooding etc to prevent mold growth.
I bought a litre of mother culture and have used that to make several gallons of the activated or extended culture as recommended by the company. I need to order more, probably a gallon this time as the mother culture keeps well. There are so many uses for it and I only have so much time to learn about them.
g_m, I received my two buckets from EMamerica, and have already started one bucket with kitchen scraps and Bokashi. My question is: I also received two bottles of "concentrated microbial innoculant"--but I'm not sure what to do with this. Spray it, in diluted form, into the bucket? Is this the "activated or extended ciulture" that you talk about above?
Sorry for the newbie questions. I am ignorant but very excited about using this form of composting.
Best thing to do is go to the emamerica site and read their instructions. The inocculant is separate from the boksashi, I'm pretty sure. Though it can be used for odors the bokashi does the same thing.
I have read and reread most of the articles at the em site as I have trouble keeping it all straight.
The people there are also very nice about answering questions.
wgnkiwi to answer your question on the waste Yes I put everything in mine when my bucket in the house gets full hubby dumps it in the trash can outside where it sits for 2 wks. or more usually more so.
Cape you can use a lil dash in the bucket but then you can also use it when watering your plants now or save it and come spring use one of those garden sprayers that you put your stuff in and hook to the hose and use it to spray your plants and trees.
CapeCodGardener, my guess is that you received two bottles of "mother culture" which you can dilute and use as is, or you can extend (more economical) by a little of the mother culture to brew up an larger batch of "activated EM", which you will then dilute and use. I'm surprised they didn't send you a recipe for the activation brew along with the culture.
Since I'm not into washing more utensils/dishes than needed, I mix the molasses and warm water in the 1 gallon juice bottle first, shake to mix thoroughly, then add the EM culture and mix again. If it's cold and I need to accelerate the process (meaning I didn't plan ahead well enough) , I put the bottle on a heating pad. Otherwise I just let it brew until the pH is in range.
"How to make Activated EM•1®
EM•1® Microbial products can be used directly from the bottle or they are grown one time for economical purposes. This "growing" process is called Activation (or extended). The normal activation process is to take one part EM•1® and make 22 times the amount through a simple fermentation process, similar to making beer or wine. Below are instructions on how to do this simple process that normally takes anywhere from 5-10 days to complete when done properly.
As with beer and wine, the colder the temperature, the longer the fermentation takes to complete. And, the process is done without air. Any local home brewing supplier will have the materials you will need to have a successful Activation. These items include airlocks, carboys, tubing, etc. If you want to keep it really simple, you may use a clean soda bottle with a screw on top. These bottles are very good because they can take a tremendous amount of pressure and can be found virtually anywhere. If you load the slideshow below, you will see that apple juice bottles from the local grocery store were used to ferment the Activated EM•1®.
To prepare 22 parts of Activated EM•1® (AEM•1®) from 1 part of EM•1®.
A clean airtight plastic bottle or container or large tank with lid
1 part EM•1® (5% of the total volume)
1 part Sugar Cane Molasses (5% of the total volume)(pictured right)
20 parts Water
Tools to help the preparation process
A measuring cup and spoon
pH paper to check pH (available from EM America)
To Make 1 liter or quart:
Add water to fill 80% of the plastic bottle
Then add 50ml (1.7oz) of molasses and 50ml (1.7oz) of EM•1® in the bottle
Shake the bottle to dissolve the molasses. Top off with water.
Cap the bottle tightly and keep in a warm place.
Making 5 gallons of Activated EM•1®:
Add water to fill 50% of the plastic container
Then add 28 oz. of molasses and 28 oz of EM•1® in the bottle*
Shake the container to dissolve the molasses and top off the container with warm water.
Cap the container tightly and keep in a warm place
*Dissolve the molasses with warm or hot water before adding it to the container. This makes the preparation easier.
Making a tote of (275 gallons) or 1,000 liters of Activated EM•1®
Add water to fill half of the tank
Then add 12 gallons of molasses and 12 gallons of EM•1® to the tank*
Top off the tank with more warm water to prevent excess airspace.
Cap the tank tightly and keep in a warm place
When is it ready?
When the pH of the solution drops to 3.7 or below and has rested at this pH for 5-7 days, the Activated EM•1® is ready to use. You will have about 30-45 days to use it at this point.
* Dissolve the molasses with warm or hot water before adding it to the tank. This makes the preparation easier.
**During the fermentation process pressure builds up in the containers. To avoid rupturing the container, "burp" it and reseal. Burping may have to be done one or more times per day.
EM•1® likes warm conditions. A suitable temperature for fermentation (propagation) of EM•1® is from 86F to 104F (30C to 40C). In the winter, and other times when the temperature is low, after making the Activated EM•1®(dissolving the molasses in hot water), place the EM•1® next to a radiator, space heater, or other warm device, or even wrap it in a blanket or an insulator, in order to promote EM•1® fermentation.
Activated EM•1® should be kept in an expandable (plastic) air-tight container to keep it anaerobic.
Store Activated EM•1® at room temperature, 68F to 86F (20C-30C). Refrigeration is not necessary.
In containers that are not completely airtight, a white layer of yeast will form on the surface. Since this may lead to putrefaction, remove the layer as needed and transfer to a container that can be closed tightly.
If Activated EM•1® has a foul smell or the pH rises above 4.0, the solution could be contaminated with undesirable microbes and should be discarded. This material is fine to pour into a long-term compost pile."
Thank you so much, g-m and others, for the information on using the bottles of mother-culture that I received. I think I will use a dilution for the time-being, but who knows how adventurous I may become as my experience with Bokashi grows?
I must say, it was quite gratifying today when I collected ALL the refuse after our Christmas dinner (not just the veggie and fruit scraps) for my Bokashi-bucket. I do love the idea of not throwing anything away. What I'm now worried about is the fact that my bucket is almost full! Will the contents sink down as the fermentation proceeds?
PC, I've been using EM & Bokashi for about two years on and off. The off periods are when I've run out of the extended/activated EM, been too cheap to use the mother culture directly, and kept forgetting to mix up another brew. My plants, pipes, worms and soil guilt me into brewing up another batch eventually.
Cape, the contents may sink down a little bit, but possibly no a lot (depends on what you put in there). It's pickling rather than composting at this stage. Do you have any regular 5 gallon buckets with lids available to use when the two from EMamerica are full? I'm assuming your weather may not permit access to the ground or compost heap at this time of year.
Quoting: Do you have any regular 5 gallon buckets with lids available to use when the two from EMamerica are full?
g_m, this sounds like the best bet for me, now that the ground is frozen (otherwise I'd use a garbage-can with the bottom cut out to store the pickled compost.)
I can get 5-gal. buckets at the hardware store.
Quoting: I do put a layer of the bokashi bran or coir at the bottom of the standard bucket, so maybe that absorbs enough of the liquid, or I just have "dry scraps".
You also suggested putting extra Bokashi in the non-draining 5-gal. bucket, so I'll try that. Two questions: once the 5-gal bucket is full, do you need to keep checking it to see if it needs more Bokashi (or perhaps, sugar) to keep things fermenting? And once it has a layer of white mold indicating it's "done" can you just leave it in the sealed bucket for some weeks if necessary?
Thank you, g_m, so much! I can't tell you how I appreciate your "moderating" this thread, as well as the helpful comments that other folks have made. This newbie is very grateful.
Ok, for some reason this information just isn't sticking in my wee brain. I have a few questions...
I have a bottle of EM-1 coming in the mail (tomorrow, I hope). Is that 1:1:100 ratio mix straight-out-of-the-bottle EM-1, or activated (& thus diluted) EM-1? In other words: To make bokashi, do I use the EM-1 straight, or do I need to activate it first? (I think the EM home website is terribly unclear about this.)
Is the EM-X ceramic powder snake oil, or is it a necessary ingredient? I watched the Podchef video on youtube, and he mixed it in with little explanation; other recipes don't even bother to include it.
If I use a regular 5 gallon bucket, should I jury-rig the bottom with a raised screen and spigot, so as to drain off and remove additional liquid? Why is this liquid bad stuff?
I'm going to be using the resulting pickle-y goodness to feed to my worms, if that makes a difference to any of these questions.
garden _maiden has been using everything longer then I have,
but I will try to answer your question some.
when I got my EM-1 and Bokashi the gal told me I could make my own Bokashi using Rice Bran. EM•1®, Molasses, Water, I did not have to activate the EM-1 just use it straight form the jug I got.
as for the liquid at the bottom of the bucket I wouldn't' say ti is bad stuff as you can take that and dilute it and use it when watering your plants...like a compost tea...using it straight could burn the plants.
Cape to answer you on the leaving it in the bucket...with the many hours I work mine sits in the trash can we use after it is done in the bucket for several weeks until I get to adding it to the compost pile or diggin a hole to put it in.
It doesn't' hurt a thing to leave it longer
Quoting:It doesn't hurt a thing to leave it longer
Today my Bokashi and compost is cooking away; I've drained out a couple of 1/4 cup batches of "juice" which I've used as fertilizer (diluted) and to pour down my drain. Can't believe how many pounds of scraps I'm composting.
Your welcome I know it is amazing how much you can really compost this way and put to good use.
my big can is sitting now outside waiting for me to be in the mood to add it to the compost but it is a bit chilly here right now so it is going to wait...it has scraps foro the last "event" we had at the restaurant so a bit longer won't hurt to pickle the melons
ilexwhite, Bokashi usually refers to composting/fermenting food wastes using a dry fibrous material like rice or wheat bran, dried carrot/beet pulp and innoculating this with the EM culture. This innoculated bran is what you add to the Bokashi bucket when you add your food scraps. You can by the innoculated bran pre-made, or you can use the EM culture to innoculate a batch of your own bran (cheaper if you make your own as Mibus indicated).
The EM-1 is a mother culture that yes, you can use directly from the bottle, but is cheaper if you extend it thru the Activation process. The liquid EM from the purchased bottle, or your activated EM is then diluted and then used as a spray on your plants, walls, laundry, etc or a a soil drench. Apparently some folks use EM as a deodorant (I haven't tried making advanced brews yet). Some people take EM internally as a probiotic (be sure you only use the food grade type if you want to do this).
From the emerica site:
"EM•1® Microbial products can be used directly from the bottle or they are grown one time for economical purposes. This "growing" process is called Activation (or extended). The normal activation process is to take one part EM•1® and make 22 times the amount through a simple fermentation process, similar to making beer or wine. "
When I first started using EM, the ceramic powder wasn't offered. It seems to make the product work better from what I've heard, buy I haven't gotten around to ordering any yet (I will with my next order) so I can't comment directly on that.
You need to be sure you have the food grade culture or one of the professionally brewed probiotics unless you want to take the time to learn how to brew the internal stuff yourself. I originally purchased my culture and bokashi from SCDWorld. I think they are the ones that brought EM to the US and they have licensed the EMAmerica group, but I could be mistaken on the relationship between the two. Both sites have products for health as well as ag and gardening uses. The EMAmerica site has more interesting articles though.
I had seen the different links on EmAmerica but just never really looked into them guess I should take a better look but the thought of drinking it just ...gives a funny taste in my mouth thinking of it
probably the closet thing I have tried is the Kombootcha Tea (bad spelling sounded it out) that we make at the restaurant.
It uses a mother culture from a mushroom and has vinegar & tea in it and forget the rest...it tastes of vinegar and is fermented.
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I am probably a little dense,but I still donot understand the purpose of pickeling befor burying the waste in the ground. Wouldn't you get the same results just burying it and having the worms and natural rotting take care of it?
Not really. If you put raw food waste in the ground it will begin to putrefy (rot). The rotting process in anaerobic (without air). The process releases ammonia and methane into the soil, which can kill plants and attract pests like flies.
The fermentation process not only makes the wastes breakdown quickly in the soil, but you are also adding lots of amino acids (protein building blocks), trace minerals, vitamins, and lots of beneficial microbes. These nutrients are readily available to the plants as the microbes "pre-processed" them during the fermentation. We call this "bio-available".
Also, the fermented wastes are ready to digest for worms! Remember, worms do not have teeth. So, when the food wastes are soft and start to break down, worms can break them down faster.
Another reason to ferment is that the fermentation process converts a fair amount of the "green" wastes that are higher in nitrogen to amino acid compounds that the plants need. This means veggies and fruits are sweeter (look at the brix forum for discussion on brix) because they have more vitamins and minerals in them as well.
Bio-available vitamins and minerals are also called antioxidants. A good way to see how nutritious fruit is is to see how long it takes to oxidize (discolor). Apples are notorious for turning brown quickly. Can you imagine growing apples that stay white for almost 24 hours after being peeled?! I have seen it. I have also seen the Earth University banana peels (available only at Whole Foods Market) not turn brown for about 24 hours as well. (Earth University is in Costa Rica) They grow all their bananas with EM1.
Me too! Can you grow them in Fortuna? I live in Tucson and have been told it is too dry here..although I do have a few trees that have sprouted from the pits I throw in the garden. I would probably be 8 or more years before I can find out.
I was told there is a cultivar that would do ok here inspite of the rainy, windy winters and infrequent freezes, but I sure haven't found it yet! I have to settle for the grocery store variety these days.
I did have some when I lived down in southern California though and ummm were they delicious. I managed to get a couple of fruits off a baby tree when it was 5 years old but that was probably because there were several older trees in the yard to pollinate it.
Quoting:I have been using EM1 for about 10 years. I hope I can help answer questions people have about bokashi and EM1 in their gardens and waste management.
Thank you, EMEric, for your generous offer to answer questions about bokashi and EM1 usage. I am a newbie, who has recently received two "Bokashi kits" with a bucket, some bokashi, and a liter of "SCD Bio Ag concentrated microbial innoculant." My question is: is this the same as EM1 innoculant?
I'm still not quite sure what to do with my liter, since it's too cold outside here on Cape Cod (I think) to be using it as a soil drench for plant growth. Should I be diluting it and spraying some onto my bokashi-bucket scraps? Or should I just wait till Spring and planting time?
No, they are not the same products. SCD makes different products. They have different ingredients, etc, and have not been around as long. Since I don't have experience with their products, I prefer not to make suggestions about them.
Thank you, EMEric. I understand your reluctance on this point.
The whole world of microbial-awareness is new to me--I only started composting a couple of years ago. I continue to be amazed at the generosity of Mother Earth in breaking down greens and browns into friable compost.
I only started composting by the bokashi method a few weeks ago, and I'm planning on burying my bokashi-fermented scraps in my compost pile during the next few months, since my garden plots are pretty much frozen. Does this sound like a plan?
Another note is that, as you increase the organic matter in the soil and add sprays of EM1 (through a hose-end sprayer), the microbial activity in the soil will increase the temperature just enough to keep it above freezing. I remember when I lived back on the cape and the first place for the snow to melt was the areas where I had my gardens.
I used to also keep buckets of food waste in the garage over the winter (during the first year I used it). The second year, I prepared a trench and back-filled as I added fermented food waste. The third year and on, I skipped the fermented thing and would sprayer AEM1 and water on the food waste and cover. Since there was enough moisture in the soil up there, the wastes would break down fine. This way I completely eliminated the composting process entirely.
Hi EMEric glad to see you popped in and can answer the questions ...I started using EM stuff(Bokashi and EM1) this year when we moved to Texas since nothing had been done by other owners for over 12 years.
It was great to find this topic in the forums as I tried explaining it to others on a different one and they thought I was nuts
I have been thinking I was nuts since '96 when I first learned about this from my in-laws. Now, it is my life. I was actually asked once, "what do you do when you're not "EM-ing"?" I laughed and said, "nothing."
We might have to start another topic thread on EM1 since that is where it all started.
Eric, thank you for posting about using the Bokashi/EM in areas where the ground freezes. That doesn't happen in my area (at least not yet!) so it's good to have someone with experience give suggestions.
A separate thread on using the EM liquid cultures would be helpful.
You're welcome. I now have experience with desert gardening with EM1 and bokashi since I now live in Tucson. It has been a real challenge to grow things in Tucson. Some things like melons and peppers grow great out here. The best trick I learned out here was to build a canopy to protect the plants from the intense sun.
Another difficult thing is finding lost of organic matter... I used to use lots of manure (cow, goat, sheep, rabbit, etc). I also don't have a truck that I can carry manure to my place. I know the Tree of Life in Patagonia, which is a raw vegan retreat, practices what they call "veganic" agriculture. This means they don't use any animal manures. They basically make all plant and food wastes into bokashi. This include lots of cover cropping too. If anyone has ever heard of "Nature Farming" they will know what I am talking about. The first bits of this become know to the masses when Fukuoka's "One Straw Revolution" was translated into English.
How does one start a new thread? I don't see any place that states "start new thread" or "start new forum" in any of the menus.
Well, I sifted out two trays from the Wriggly Wranch this afternoon during a break in the rains. One tray had been fed the fermented food waste mixed with shredded newspaper and coco coir bedding. The other tray had received just kitchen scraps and same types of bedding. The tray contents were only a few days apart in age and I tossed a handful of worms in each when I loaded the trays.
As I was sifting, I noticed that I got more usuable worm compost (add fatter worms!)out of the tray with the Bokashi fermented scraps. The tray that had just straight kitchen scraps had more "undigested" items that needed to be tossed back into the bin for further worm processing.
Has anyone had success with attracting lots of earthworms when creating a trench filled with Bokashi-fermented scraps in REALLY sandy soil? I mean SAND. That's what my garden mostly has; and not only Cape Cod sand, but builder's sand as well. I'm trying to decide whether I should create raised beds with Bokashi-augmented compost, or try burying my Bokashi-fermented-scraps in trenches in my sandy soil like in the video-link at the top of this thread.
I guess this is a question about composting in sandy soil as much as it is about Bokashi. I'm such a newbie.
Hmmm. Good questions CapeCodG. We're dealing with adobe clay here.
Yoohoo! Eric, how many earthworms are you getting in the AZ sand with your organic amendments and Bokashi?
Anyone else got worms with their sand?
Does anyone see any reason why used coffee grounds shouldn't be used to make the Bokashi "bran"? It dawned on me this evening that rather than spending the time and gas to drive out to a feed store for a 50# bag of bran, I should be able to use the coffee grounds that are readily available from the local coffee houses.
My plan is to follow the directions at the link below, (which I've also copied into the text of the message below the link), using less water since the spent grounds are already slightly moist. As long as I don't get the mixture too wet and dry it out when it's finished fermenting, this should work, right?
50 lbs wheat bran or rice bran
1 cup EM•1® Waste Treatment or EM•1® Microbial Inoculant
1 cup molasses
3-5 gallons clean water
large black plastic garbage bag or airtight container
Something to mix the materials in or on
Mix one gallon of the water with the molasses to dissolve the molasses. Mix in the EM•1®.
Mix the liquid thoroughly into the bran
Squeeze some of the bran into a ball. If it holds shape and no extra liquid comes out, it is the correct moisture. Put into bag or container. If it is too dry, add more water and mix.
If using the bag, tie the bag tightly, squeezing out excess air. If using a container, press down mixture and cover container tightly.
Place mixture somewhere warm and out of the way. Let it ferment for a minimum of two weeks. Longer is fine.
When fermentation is complete, you may notice some white mold on/in the bokashi. This is good. Black or green mold means some air got into the container or it was too moist and is undesireable. You can use the material as is, or dry for long-term storage.
Keep airtight during storage, whether dry or wet."
Sand is nice in that it allows for good drainage. Where I used to live on the Cape I also had lots of clay in some parts of the yard. You need LOTS of organic matter! You should collect as many leaves as you can get. I used to have my neighbors throw them over my fence. I would then take a lawn mover and chop them, heap them, and sprayer with a 1:1:100 mixture of EM1:molasses:water. I would then cover with large tarps (got them at Ocean State Job Lot for less than $20 each). I would weight the tarp down with rock or logs and let the stuff ferment for 3-4 weeks...at least.
Once it is fermented, you can mulch around plants or dig into the soil. I would often use my rototiller to do this.
After a couple of years, I got smart and started digging trenches (even during the growing season) in my beds. As I back filled the hole, I would make a layered sandwich of Leaves, EM1 mixture, manure, EM1 mixture, leaves, EM1 mixture, manure, more EM1 mixture, and then cover with soil from the hole.
This process eliminated a few things. I no longer made bokashi from wheat bran. I used green wastes and dried leaves...or anything else I could get my hands on. I no longer did composting in the traditional sense. And...I did not have any more weeds. By covering the materials with about 12 inches of soil, the weeds from the manures never germinated.
The manure brought in millions of worms! The beds that I did like this would literally turn into casting in the areas I did like this. It got to the point that I had to split ALL my perennials sometimes twice in a season. I was splitting daylillies in May, July, and again in September. My sedum and hostas were so big by the end of the season, I would be splitting them twice a season.
By the second year of doing this, I would dead head any flower, throw the seeds in the beds and have a new patch the following season.
My third year I started getting into veggies. I watched the soil go from not even being able to grow tomatoes to being able to grow beets and onions. As you might know the average pH of the soil on the Cape is about 4.5. Beets and onions normally will only produce in the neutral range. There were some serious changes going on.
Give it time. The worms will come. If you want to speed things up, you can order them online. I am sure Gardens Alive or Arbico Organics sells them. There has been a boom in worm castings places around the country, so getting worms should be easy. As long as you provide them with food, they will keep producing and reproducing.
Coffee grounds should work. I usually dry them out a little bit and spread near the house since they see to help keep pests like ants away. I am really looking for something that works on scorpions that is organic. I haven't had much luck yet with EM1.
If you can scrounge up leaves or wood shavings/saw dust, those will work fine too.
Oops! looks like we were posting at the same time. Thanks for letting me know about the grounds.
I'll see what I can find out about scorpions. MeekKats would probably do well in Tuscon, but they are not native.
Hi - If you can get seaweed it seems to be a worm magnet. I used a lot of it in a garden that was sandy and alkiline and there were soon lots of worms. A visiting garden expert said that if you have worms, you'vew got good soil. I didn't wash the seaweed as he said doing that removed the potassium.
Scorpions show up with a blacklight. Don't know if that's any help.
A shoe works well too! I sealed the foundation of the house this summer and have taken most other precautions. Someone told us that there are "paths" that they take and we could be on one. I don't mind them out in the yard since they eat almost anything they can catch. I don't like the thought of one of my kids getting stung. I was hoping to find some type of plants to get, like tansy and mint will do for ants. Thanks for the help!
Seaweed is an awesome resource, mostly for the trace minerals and organic matter it supplies. Add it to mulches and composting. Adding some EM1 will also neutralize the charge of the salts. Some plants are less tolerant of it than others (salts, I mean). Microbes tend to ingest the salts and prevent them from burning plants roots. This is the main reason why bokashi food waste recycling will not cause salt buildup in soils, even in high-salt diets. Bokashi, however, can burn some plants from the high amount of nutrients in it when in contact with roots. This is why it is usually recommended to wait a few weeks before planting in the area the bokashi has been added to. I found that adding more soil on top does the trick better. I usually add about 10-12 inches on top. By the time to roots have grown long enough to reach, the materials have been broken down. (in the desert, we need to water more during this stage to encourage the breakdown.
After about 6 months of repeated applications in the desert soil, the soil was softer and holding moisture to allow watering every 3 days, even in the summer. After a year, I got worms...not as many as I wanted, but I've got them! I found that Wal-Mart sells red wigglers in the sporting goods department for fishing. I picked up about 3 cups for only a couple dollars each this past spring to jump start.
Eric, thanks so much for your really helpful information. I have another question about using an alternate medium in place of the bran.
I raise rabbits, and usually just compost their litter. Their bedding is a wood pellet product called Pestell (more commonly used in horse barns)- it breaks down to fine sawdust. I'm also an avid vermiculturist, and feed the rabbit poop to the worms, but don't put the urine-soaked bedding directly into the worm bin because of the ammonia content.
So my question is- do you think can I use the used, urine-soaked sawdust bedding as a bokashi medium? Any idea what will urine do to the bokashi mix or the fermentation process? I always have way too much of the bedding and would love to put it to good use.
If you don't know for sure, I'm an experimenter anyway, and will give it a shot!
Eric, when I lived in Tucson one of the docents at the Desert Museum suggested a cat or two for scorpion control - they aren't sensitive to the venom.
Are you living in one of the newer neighborhoods? Supposedly a lot of construction kind of stirs them up. I used to have a home down in the Mountain/ Grant area and never saw one the entire 8 years I lived there.
You can make all the bedding into bokashi and feed that to the worms. Microbes in the EM1 fix nitrogen by converting it into amino acids and ammonium (NH4), both of which do not burn. This is why heaps made into bokashi do not heat up as do piles that are actively turned for compost.
Let us know how it works. I had no problems doing this with fresh cow, goat, and cat litter.
I have a cat. He likes bird meat. I have yet to see him eat a scorpion.
My neighborhood was built in the late 1980's. My house was built in 1989. It may be a matter of time before we get rid of them all. We had about 30 in the house last summer, before I sealed it. So, I may have sealed the ones that were already in the house and it may just be a matter of time before they die or come out in Kamakazi fashion...
Well, I know there are certain effects on some pests. I am not sure exactly why some effects happen. One I do know is on ants...I seem to keep knowing ways to control ants... Ants collect food to grow fungus in their nests. Ants eat the fungus, not the food. EM1 is fungistatic, which stops the growth of molds and fungus (almost all kinds). Once the food source is contaminated or destroyed, the ants leave to somewhere else that their food will grow.
Flies are attracted by odors and/or sugars. EM1 is applied to eat the sugar or eliminate the odors and the flies are not attracted to the area. Fruit flies are attracted to sugar. House/horse flies are attracted to putrefying materials...odor.
Roaches eat putrefying materials...which is an oxidation process. Sewer roaches eat the crud in drains and sewer lines. As EM1 is added to these systems, the wastes are digested and fermented (an antioxidant process). Therefore, their food source is contaminated and the roaches leave the area.
Rats and mice eat roaches (so do scorpions). As their food source is destroyed, they too will go elsewhere.
Not quite sci-fi until we start talking about mutations and giant ants or other bugs...
EMEric, do you have fire ants in Tucson? Would the EM solution stop them, or starve them out? I'm always looking for natural ways to control them. Sometimes an armadillo rips the mound apart to get the queen. Unfortunately, armadilloes don't come when you call them.
And if EM is anti-fungal, would a spray of it help plants and new seedlings susceptible to damping off, etc.?
ahh yes that is one I need to know fire ants we have a ton of them here and scorpions the last one to be in the house thought it would be nice to sleep in bed with hubby who was already in bed but on my side so when I went to lay down it got me just below my shoulder blade need less to say after a few choice words he died soon after. lol
Meerkats are cute little animals that live in the Kalahari desert in Africa. They are the stars of an Animal Planet series. One of their favourite foods is scorpions. They are immune to the sting. I'm amazed at how many scorpions they can find in one day's foraging.
Ouch yes. I don't know why they bite. I never did anything against them..! Yes, it works. I had them all over my lawn. I made of some activated EM1 (I can give you a recipe) and soaked the ground. The next day they were gone...moved on to the neighbor's I would assume.
Foliar sprays for powdery mildew... make a mixture of EM1 and water at 2-2.5 ounces per gallon and spray the leaves. A nice way to prevent this is to spray your plants at night in you irrigation water (or sprayer) at about 1 tsp per gallon in the early evening or at night. Since you have the fungistatic effects from the EM1, you don't have to worry about fungal problems from watering at night. (it works on nail/toe fungus as well. use a cotton ball or soak in it.)
I have been lucky so far. My son got stung last year out in the yard.
I have a lot more experience with EM1 than with bokashi. Although I have literally made tons of bokashi, it was back in the Northeast where we didn't have fire ants. Down in Tucson, I am always making some type of liquid concoction of activated EM1.
I have played a lot with hot peppers, garlic, citrus, and other herbs to make various sprays. I have also blended in Ocean Solution, magnetite, zeolite, quartz, bentonite, sea salts, and a bunch of other things. I developed the first successful batches of beer brewed with EM1. He actually sent two staff to Tucson to have me teach them how to do it. There are now three breweries in Japan making "EM Beer".
We had fireants in Florida. They would pick a dead bird or small mammal clean very quickly. Saw them attack and carry off a number of caterpillars and beetles. I've read about them attacking a few invalid residents in nursing homes. If an EM1 spray can minimize their presence, it would be a blessing for the regions that have them.
I'll bet Mibus would be willing to try out your suggested EM1 recipes for dealing with ants. You'll report back with the results, right Mibus?
Ahhh, an actual recipe... We need to first get Activated EM1 out of the way. Since EM1 is a fermented product, you can use it to grow some more, kind of like sourdough. The difference is that you can't keep taking this stuff and growing more from the original as it will degenerate over time. So, the recipe goes as follows for Activated EM1:
To prepare 22 parts of Activated EM•1® (AEM•1®) from 1 part of EM•1®.Molasses for activating EM
* A clean airtight plastic bottle or container or large tank with lid
* 1 part EM•1® (5% of the total volume)
* 1 part Sugar Cane Molasses (5% of the total volume)
* 20 parts Water
Tools to help the preparation process
* A funnel
* A measuring cup and spoon
* pH paper to check pH
To Make 1 liter or quart:
1. Add water to fill 80% of the plastic bottle
2. Then add 50ml (1.7oz) of molasses and 50ml (1.7oz) of EM•1® in the bottle
3. Shake the bottle to dissolve the molasses. Top off with water.
4. Cap the bottle tightly and keep in a warm place. for 5-7 days.
The fermentation will cause pressure build-up in the bottle. You will have to "gas" or "burp" the bottle until this gassing subsides. Usually, after three or four days after the gassing starts, the AEM1 is ready to use.
I've got to add that there isn't really a right or wrong way with this. You don't have to be perfectly accurate with the measurements either.
I normally pour the AEM1 on a mound without diluting it. I have heard that it will still have the same effect diluted at 20:1. This is about 1 quart of AEM1 per 5 gallon bucket of water.
OK DGers - time to round up the fire ant posse. Those of you in fire ant territory that are willing to start working with EM, please try Eric's recipe and let us know the results. Ready, set, activate and pour!!!
So funny. These are the standard activation instructions. If anyone has problems with the directions, let me know. It is pretty simple: mix. pour, seal, ferment. If you want to make a gallon, you use 3/4 cups EM1, 3/4Cups molasses, and fill a gallon jug with warm water.
Yes, I make Kim Chee, bread, salsa, salad dressings, you name it.
Quoting:Sand is nice in that it allows for good drainage. . . You need LOTS of organic matter!
Eric, a big thank you for your helpful and detailed advice on working with sandy soil to improve tilth and worma-bility!! (LOL) Can't wait to get started! Where did you live on the Cape, if I may be so curious?
Whoa, whenever I think about how nice it would be to live in Arizona, I will remember the scorpions! O'course, where we used to live in California we had tarantulas. . .
EMEric--Since DG won't allow specific products to be recommended I guess I'll have to google for one. On another forum, or thread, I asked what the chances would be of any of these "organic" products showing up on Big Box store shelves--mostly so I can avoid the outrageous shipping charges. Has anyone seen them in retail? I will try the recipe on ants, bad soil, and a nice spinach salad with EM salad dressing. Maybe Paul Newman would bottle it, then advertise it on Oprah.
Sounds like what you're saying (kind of) is that we shouldn't use any product if we can't eat it or smear it on our skin.
As for critter probs, I have to admit that fire ants keep the tick population down hereabouts. Armadilloes eat some fire ants (and make nice BIG holes for other animals to shelter in, and for horses to stumble in). I'm glad we don't have scorpions here, that I know of. But tarantulas aren't harmful, are they? Just scary looking. As for Meercat Manor, I watched one show where a baby was killed by a bird of prey. Now I can't watch it any more.
Has anyone seen the YouTube video of the lions and crocodiles attacking the baby water buffalo?--not sure if these are the real animals. I've only heard about the amazing thing that happened.
I went to Harwich middle school-high school and then moved to Centerville until 2002. Oh, we have most venomous creatures out here. Scorpions are the only one I really worry about because they can crawl into your shoes, you bed, etc. We have had rattlesnakes in the yard (you really only need to worry about the babies because they don't know how to control how much venom to inject). We have had Wolf Spiders, Black Widows, and Crab Spiders (all pretty docile). I want to see a tarantula. There are Gila monsters out here as well. Very different from the Cape where you never see any poisonous creatures.
For bread the simplest version is to take any bread recipe and add an equal amount of EM1 to the amount of yeast when proofing. It makes a load of difference. Cloud Cliff bakery in Santa Fe now uses EM1 in their breads.
Maypop: EM1 isn't in the box stores...yet. The Home Depot decided their customers wouldn't buy it, so they decided not to carry it. The largest natural food chain carries it. There are a total of about 100 retail stores in the US that currently carry EM1. Most are in Southern California.
maypop, if there are any other interested persons near you, perhaps you could do a bulk order to save shipping costs. Keep in mind also, that when you brew a batch of activated EM, you will be getting a much larger quantity of solution that you will actually use. Depending on what you are going to use it for, you will probably dilute that even further in use.
I made my first batch of bokashi a few weeks ago. I wasn't sure it was done "right" but it smelled Ok so yesterday I put it a couple of inches deep on the top of a barrel (40 gallons, I think - a big blue one) of stuff - largely fish waste - that I had been keeping sealed. I ould not have believed the results if I hadn't seen it - I opened the barrel today to see if there was room for the fish scraps my fisherman friend brought me and was overwhelmed - by the lack of smell. Anyone who has smelledd rotting fish knows what that odor is like. To have it almost gone in less than a day just by putting the bokashi on top of the mess is amazing. I didn't (couldn't) stir it in or anything. Also - no flies. I am truly impressed.
I bought my EM1 which I used too make the bokacshi from www.emamerica.com. I got one gallon and making the huge batch of bokashi used only about a quart so I think it's an economical way to go. I can tell I'm going to want a good sprayer and I will join Eric in the battle cry: FREMENT THE PLANET!!!!.
And, no, I am not affiliated with emamerica. I was told about EM1 by a friend who lives in India. They are using it at Amache's ashram and some of the products are sold in her store. My friend takes it internally though it is not intended for this use. The website is really interesting. I've just started studying the medical and health applications.
I will be making some bokashi balls to use in the river down the hill from me. Maybe we can clean up the Sea of Cortez.
I've got six dogs and I'm going to bokashi (I've just turned this into a verb) their droppings so I can use them in the garden. I look forward to telling people that my gardening "secret" is fermented dog poop!
I am thrilled to find so many interested and doing this
I am doing it also and still learning
and to think I had posted else where on DG back in Sept. asking if anyone else had tried ti and used it and they thought I was nuts and told me the only way to compost was the "classic way"...NO kitchen waste ie leftovers LOL
Thanks for letting me know I'm not nuts
Or else we are all nuts ( in the good sense) for using whatever our waste is to improve and put back to the earth what is taken away.
Fermentation is a way to preserve things and out-compete pathogens. The EPA would not agree on this (they have to regulate things that do this and call them Pesticides). The FDA would agree that this is the way to protect foods from pathogens. Either way you look at it, fermentation with EM1 prevents the growth of pathogens by dropping pH below 3.8 (the FDA has a regulation below 4.5 at which pathogens cannot grow in foods). There is a complex process that goes on involving frequencies (vibrations, etc.) that I don't completely understand, but am learning.
wow soo much to read I missed the fire ants and you bet ya I would report back ...when I got Posion Ivy back in Sept of course I had to get rid of ti in order to work outside clearing the lot so hubby spent over $50 in spray to kill it and in that he also bought stuff to put on the hills to try and get rid of the lovely fire ants..I sure do not want to spent that much every year on ants..the PI I'm not worried about .. ants yes
now off to bed I have to go as I get up at 4ish to get ready to drive a school bus every morning but I will be back to catch up on my reading so someone make a post by 9am so I remember to come back and read everything LOL
Eric, when you said that EM is fungistatic, does that apply to all fungi or just the pathogenic ones? I'm thinking of two topics here - 1) growing edible mushrooms and 2) the affect on VAM (Vesicular-Arbuscular-Mycorrhiza) in the soil, which are very important. How does EM affect these beneficial types of fungi?
I have a 5 gallon bucket of daffodil bulbs that have basal rot (Fusarium oxysporum). I just sprinkle bokashi on top of the slimy mess and it will be ready to use in my garden by spring? Right now it stinks!
P.S. I didn't see a confirmation from Eric on the dog poop question. Post #4377543
Daffies: Sometimes things are too far gone to save. Next time, when you do transplants, you can dunk into a solution of AEM1 before planting. This is not soaking, but dunk and plant. You could do the same with bulbs. Once you build a really rich soil, you shouldn't have problems with bulbs and should side dress with mulch.
BTW, for all you bokashi fiends, you can add bone meal, kelp meal, blood meal, whatever you want for certain plants.
Fungistatic effects interesting when it comes to mushroom growing. There is a research paper out of Brazil that demonstrates a 4-fold increase in mycorrhizal fungi.
Yet, several mushroom farms in East Asia have reported that they cannot grow mushrooms by inoculating with EM1. The method for growing mushrooms is to make bokashi out of the growing medium and then steam sterilize it before inoculating with spores.
When one makes bokashi, there is a white mold that grows (White good; black/green bad). This is a filiamentus fungi called actinomycetes. Actinomycetes used to be in the EM1 culture, but have been removed from the formulation because they grow in the presence of EM1 and, therefore, do not need to be in the culture.
So, it is a matter of learning the correct method.
Yes. Fermentation suppresses the growth of pathogens and prevents them from growing uncontrolled. Dog poop, cat poop, human poop, when done properly, they are all safe to make. We have done this time and again with turkey, chicken, and other manures. Once made into bokashi, there are no detectable pathogens.
However, if you really aren't getting lab tests done on these materials after they are fermented, you should only use them for non-food sources. I am pretty sure no one is going to be sending their stuff to a lab to get tested, so just use them materials on ornamentals (flowers, non-fruiting trees, etc.).
In composting, the heat is what is supposed to control the pathogens. There are EPA regulations for composting that require a certain amount of turns and a certain temperature (55C) to be maintained for a certain time ( I forget what it is) to basically pasteurize the compost. When this is not done properly, things like fusarium (and other fungi that are harmful to plants) can grow or excess amounts of ammonia and methane can be produced. This can be (another forum topic) a problem with making compost teas. If you do not have a high quality, pathogen-free compost, you could easily be brewing pathogen tea. It has happened several times across the country...even with commercial operations.
1.3 oz per gallon is what my gallon bottle of the EM-1( already fermented) I got back in September says for the mixture for watering your trees lawns and plants outside. so when using the sprayer with the hose I would mix it using that as your base amount.
Eric where are you to give the totally correct answer LOL
Sorry for the double post, but I forgot to mention that I couldn't afford the 5 gallon buckets on the EMAmerica site, so I went to the local Hardware store (Carpenter;s) and found an orange 5 gallon bucket with a spigot at the bottom for $24.95. It doesn't have a screen that separates the compost from the liquid, but would it be alright to use? (It was a Rubbermaid water "cooler".)
It sounds fine. I found some great containter with easy-tremove tight fittting lids. The don't have a spigot. You could us something like a cake rack in the bottom to keep the solids above the liquid. I think that is to keep the smell down, which draining the liquid also does, I think.
Hope Eric checks in to make sure I'm ot steering you wrong. I suspect the fancy buckets are more for yuppies that won't believe it's working unless they've paid a lot but it may help keep odors from forming.
Your orange bucket should be fine. I have both the expensive Happy Farmer bucket and two standard 5 gallon buckets (with airtight lids) from OSH hardware. They all seem to work as well. I do put more dry Bokashi mixture on the bottom of the regular buckets.
Pat, you may want to brew up a batch of activated/extended EM and then try using both the mother culture (from the company bottle) and the extended brew in your hose end sprayer to see which gives you better results. My current garden area isn't big enough to warrant a hose end sprayer. I mix the extended brew with water in a watering can to drench the soil, and also mix some up in the pump sprayer to spray on the leaves. My collard greens really took off after the last EM application.
Quoting: I mix the extended brew with water in a watering can to drench the soil, and also mix some up in the pump sprayer to spray on the leaves.
garden_mermaid, this is how I will be adding the mother culture plus water to my soil & leaves (come spring!!) I have some bottles of "SCD Bio AG Concentrated Microbial Innoculant" which I bought with my Happy Farmer Bokashi Bucket kit. The directions on the bottle say "dilute at a ratio of 1:1000" for use as an agricultural innoculant. Could you tell me what this is in teaspoons and liters (or gallons)? Is this the proportion you use?
Oh yes; once I open the bottle do I have to use it up rapidly (like the Bokashi Juice) or is it more "stable"?
Thanks in advance. I'm still a newbie but I DO have some great looking moldy-white-on-top Bokashi scraps! I'm thrilled!
These two downloads will give you some good basic information to start with.
For Lawn & Garden purposes, the general recommendation was 2 Tbsp per gallon as soil drench of foliar spray. They advise against spraying on blossoms at that strength to avoid blossom drop. I use 2 Tbsp per gallon on the soil and about half that for foliar spraying. No real reason for that difference. I was using a new sprayer and forgot it had twice the capacity of my old sprayer. The lower concentration worked fine, so I went with it.
When you brew up a batch of activated EM, you do need to use it up within a month.
The mother culture seems to keep well. My last bottle of mother culture was used up over the course of a year.
I have to say that I am completely pumped that an EM and bokashi thread is on this forum. I have been using this Godsend for almost a year and have had positive results. I have seen a couple of drops of pure AEM remove rust from a C-clamp in a matter of hours, which indicates a very powerful antioxidant, in my opinion. Sometimes the strainer in the bottom of the Happy Farmer Bokashi Bucket allows solids thru which can clog the spigot. If this occurs, foul odors can result, especially if using meat products. Even when this had happened, I simply added home made bokashi to the freshly dig trench in the garden, poured the foul compost from the bucket into it, and then added another layer of bokashi, covered with soil. Weeks later, the soil looked very healthy. As a matter of fact...my Mexican Marigolds, which were growing adjacent to the bokashi compost trench, shot up and out like crazy. Within a month, they migrated over the trench, nearly quadrupling their surface area, and grew to a height well above my waist. I now have two buckets, and am even fermenting coffee grounds (with some food scraps) which I have been adding to the garden all winter.
Welcome to the EM/Bokashi thread jimmyd!
Most my Bokashi buckets have fermented along nicely. I did have one go bad - probably not enough Bokashi or EM spray, but I buried it in the ground and drenched the area with more EM after covering it. Everything looked really good and smelled good when I dug down to check it a week later.
I am thrilled so many are finding their way over here and there are so many using it or starting to try it.
I found EM-1 when searching to find ways to be able to improve the soil when we moved here the end of July from Illinois.
I just brewed up a batch of activated/extended EM for the first time and am in the process of getting everything needed to make up more Bokashi.
I had gotten mine from the "manager" that lives here in East Texas.
DH is starting to see the results of using it and is getting the idea of what to put in the bucket instead of the trash LOL
Sorry, I've been a bit pre-occupied with day-to-day stuff, trying to update the websites... I put up about 4 new sections on bokashi in January after going through this and some of the other topics.
Thanks for that info Eric, we have a Bokashi bucket and EM on the way in. Found it difficult located merchants selling the starter kits for something less than a small fortune, sigh. But finally found one. We'll go to the other bucket deal. DH is pretty hand and even I can run the drill and put in a hole for the spigot.
The new buckets (they are a brown-ish color with a dark green lid) come from Japan. The plastic is made with the EMX ceramic powder in it. The powder helps with fermentation. These two reasons are why the buckets are so expensive. I think they run about $49.99. I know some places sell them for as much as $75.
I no longer use the bucket system and only make bokashi when I have lots of trimmings and other plant materials around the year. I now just bury the food waste in the ground and spray with EM1 or add some EM1 in a bowl of water (used for rinsing veggies) and pour over the food waste before covering it.
If you look on Google Video, (http://video.google.com), search for "Effective Microorganisms", and you will find about 34 videos on the uses of EM1. People are adding more videos now than a few months ago. I think there are a couple on Bokashi from a group out in Maryland.
The EM Bokashi Network USA used to have a video that detailed the entire process. It was designed for elementary school kids for their foodwaste recycling programs. Because of copywrites, it can't be loaded into Google Video or YouTube.
No, it isn't necessary. You can also add EM1 directly to a compost pile. It accelerates the composting process and completely controls odors...keeping away flies. Worms love the EM1 too! You can use EM1 and/or bokashi in a worm bin. You can spritz the worms using a 1 ounce per gallon solution (EM1 to water).
I had friends that used to just make bokashi to feed the dog...or their chickens. Works great for them. Controls bad breath, farts, and makes their fur really nice.
I'm guessing the "bucket system" was probably developed for apartment & urban dwellers who don't have the option of a compost pile. We fill a five gallon bucket in about a week. I rotate between three buckets - one in process of getting filled, one sitting out on the deck for 1st week fermenting, one on the deck for 2nd week fermenting, which then gets emptied into the worm bin and replaces bucket #1 as the fill bucket.
Today I went to a feed store to get some Rice Bran so that I could make my own Bokashi Bran. I've just got a couple of chickens and have it on good authority that adding the bokashi to their feed not only keep the pong down but reduce the amunt of poop. I had the choice of stabilised powder, stabilised pellets, unstabilised powder or unstabilised pellets. I got stabilised powder and I hope that was the right choice. :-|
Rice bran has dozens of antioxidant compounds. My father-in-law raises free range chickens in Japan with EM1. He makes large batches of EM1 bokashi with garlic, rice bran, kelp, oyster shells (he raises them for the eggs) and alfalfa. He grows comfrey all over the property and cuts some on a daily basis and feeds it to them.
When using EM1 bokashi in the feed, use it at anywhere from 3-10% of the feed ration. There is no need to feed them only bokashi. You can also add the EM1 to the animal's drinking water. The typical amount is 1 teaspoon per gallon of water. This is a 1:1,000 dilution ratio.
If you can get your hands on fresh rice bran, which should be possible in California, you can get unstabilized.rice bran. Rice bran, because of the oils, tends to go rancid quickly. The fermentation process of making rice bran into bokashi prevents the spoiling and actually preserves it. You should be fine with any of the forms available.
Thanks for this Eric. Next time I'll get the unstabilised and save quite a bit of $$. I was just reading the EM website and saw that EM1 can be added to the drinking water. This is great because I received a bottle of SCD Bio Ag when I purchased my Bokashi Bin and had no idea what to do with it.
LOL you would think that it's easy to get all the goodies for making Boakshi Bran here in CA, I am firmly in the middle of a very urban area. There's not many Ag stores around here. If you knew the effort I went to to get the chickens, their organic feed, bedding and the rice bran...
"Mother Culture" is something that Braggs started years ago to refer to the sediment in the bottom of their liquid aminos and vinegar. The use of this term causes some confusion in the marketplace.
If I could, I would put a link right to it. I know some other people here can chime in and direct you right to it. I looked to see if there were any stores in Burlingame that were carrying it. The closest to you is in Berkeley, but that is quite a trip for you.
EM1 is the product that you are referring to that you "extend" or "activate". This process is a fermentation process that you use 1 part EM1, 1 part molasses, and 20 parts water (3/4C, 3/4C, fill a gallon container with warm water), mix them together with a cap on tightly, and ferment until the pH drops to below 3.7. This generally takes 3-7 days depending on the quality of the molasses and the ambient temperature. Since many people seem to be bothered by this process, Activated EM1 is available now, ready to go.
Will do and thank you ;) Just got the bokashi bucket in this afternoon. Wheee, more toys to play with. But think I'm going to buy some of th EM1 as well. That sounds a little less complicated to understand and apply. Thanks Eric, this is a great thread.
Litmus paper or pH paper at regular stores is used to measure urine pH or saliva. The proper pH range for Activated EM1 is between 3 and 3.7. If your saliva or urine go that low, you'd be dead. These papers you find in regular stores may also be used for pools, which don't go that low either.
I am not allowed to post links to my site, per orders of Dave's. If you have any problems finding something, please let me know. I do all the editing to our website. If I were, I would help you all find all the directions, books, research papers, etc. Also, if you want something else up on the site, please let me know that as well.
If you click on "web store" from our home page (it is in the top right, above the four sections), it will bring you to the home page of the web store. Under "our products" on the left, the last item is pH paper. Ask to have it shipped via USP to save on shipping.
I opened the bucket of bokashi that I buried a few weeks ago to check what was going on. Nothing yet but I'm putting that down to the very wet and cold weather we've been having. No bad smells either. I threw in some more bran just to be on the safe side and closed it back up.
G_M I checked out that feed store when I first started looking for chicks, but they didn't have the breeds I wanted and the chicks they did have were living in pretty dirty conditions. That kind of put me off going back there. I ended up driving up to Sonoma and bought some from a guy who's breeding Australorps there. While I was there I popped into a great feed store and picked up enough of everything to last me until I can find a good source down here.
I'm going to experiment with composting the chicken poop the regular way and with EM1. It will interesting to see how it turns out.
You should let the stuff ferment in the bucket...with the lid on...for at least a couple of weeks. During this time, liquid settles to the bottom of the buckets. This is why there is a spigot. The amount of liquid that comes out really depends on what you eat (or don't eat and end up adding to the bucket). This liquid is a microbial fertilizer that can be used as plant food. You really don't want to use this any stronger that 1 teaspoon per gallon of fresh water.
Once the stuff in the bucket is fermented (white mold, no foul smell) you bury in the ground. Depending on moisture and temperature, it should take only a couple weeks to break down. In the Tucson heat, it can take a couple months. It is so dry out here, everything tends to mummify so I need to water it often. Now that I have worms in the garden things are going a lot faster than they were three years ago.
I didn't explain that very well did I? I let it ferment for a couple of weeks and then transferred it to another bucket that has the bottom cut off it and is buried in the garden. Then I topped that bucket off with some soil and put a lid on it. I don't have a lot of empty garden space and this method sounded like it work work well for me.
I used the bucket for a couple of reasons. I have a problem with critters digging up just about everything in the garden, and I don't have a lot of room to be digging holes. I figured that if I stick it all in a bucket then once it's finished fermenting I could just empty it out and spread it around the plants that need it the most.
The fermented food waste will rot when exposed to air. If it is not covered up with 8-12 inches of soil it will attract animals that want to eat it or flies if it gets stinky. I am not sure if it will break down in the bucket. Since the bottom is cut out it might. I might just take longer that if the food wastes were in more contact with the soil Give it some time and see if it works. You may have a found a really cool way to avoid digging holes!
If you have a compost pile, the pretreatment of fermentation breaks down the fibers in the foods, making them break down in a compost pile must faster than normal. Compost you can definitely use a side dressing or mulch.
I was just on the radio. Here is a link to the show. Sheri is a co-owner of Arbico Organics. She is a wealth of information. A nice bio is on this page: http://www.gcnlive.com/Programs/EasyGardener.htm
You can access here shows from this link. The one I was on will be available by 3pm today (Pacific Time).
alrighty then will make sure to try for that one too.
question for ya are you the EVP so that anyone that emails the emamerica site it goes to you and you send the replies?
was going through my emails and clearing things out and ran across the one I sent back 9-27-07 when I found the site.
it just clicked as to the Eric you may be LOL...
I second that we are glad you stubbled in ...I should have asked you to stumble over when I started using the Bokashi and EM1 as at first I found no one in the texas section that believed me when I said you could compost this way.
Not to say Texas was wrong or bad they just hand't read the stuff yet and some are avid ol school composters and that is okay fo rhtem but I needed soemthing to get going faster so I could start planting this in my new home.
. . . pretty excited today; I reverently placed my first 5-gall. bucket of fermented compost (Bokashi method) into my compost bin. Dug out a hole there so I could cover the bucket's contents with 8-12 inches of leaves, etc. Found a LOT of earthworms who had moved high up into my compost for the winter. Told them they were about to have a really nice series of meals. Yippee! I have more buckets coming along.
My question: should I be spraying a soil drench of EM into the compost as well (since it isn't frozen)? I'm not really sure about when to use my mother culture.
Eric, I'm really glad you stumbled into this thread.
If you're adding a lot of the fermented food waste, that is not necessary to add into the compost. If you are not pre-treating through the fermentation process, you should add some fresh inoculant.
Again, keep applying throughout the summer. Dig in between flowers and veggies. Veggies are the easiest because we tend to plant them in rows. You can dig trenches between the rows and back fill with the bokashi waste throughout the growing season. You will not fertilizer.
Hi...I JUST tuned in and find this thread an awesome treasure of information. I am really keen to start this process...and I am daunted by reading all of the threads... :>). i have read enough to really excite me.
Is there a thread/site/link I can send my DH to?...He won't read thru this thread...too long...and is interested. Something REALISTIC and NON commercial would be best... please?
If you go to www.emamerica.com it is a commercial site but they have videos and articles and lots of good explanations for the many uses of EM and their other products.
I'd suggest watching a couple of the videos. I've read a lot of their stuff over and over, partly to get the terminology straight and because there are so many different ways to ues this - ii's a lot to grasp.
EMEric works there so if you have any questions you can email him there.
I have my Boskahi bucket working. Lord I love the way this stuff smells. LOL The EM1 came in last weekend, and I was finally able to find molasses at the local feed store. I had a time with that. This area has been come far more urban than I realized...sigh. He can get me more if I need it. He also got the web site from me, after we chatted about the Boskahi method and what we were doing. He's a beginning garden, so of course I gave Dave's site as well. Hope he decides to follow thur on both. ;)
You can always find molasses at the grocery store. It will be in the backing section with all the sweeteners. This molasses is a bit more expensive, but until you get into larger sizes, it may be the easiest source.
Are you making activated EM1? Is this why you wanted the molasses? Or, are you making the bokashi?
I find myself talking a lot about Dave's to all kinds of people. This place is great.
Doing both and I went to every grocery store in this town. Nobody had molasses...sigh. I'm going to make some activated EM1 with it. I need to find the sprayer first. I suppose I could use a water can, but I have a fair piece to cover, LOL
Really??? I am surprised the grocery stores aren't carrying it. Most natural food stores have it because it is considered an alternative sweetener. Most carry the Barbados or the one from Wholesome Sweeteners. I remember finding a gallon at a restaurant supply store (one that sells in bulk). I have even seen gallon jugs at Wal-Mart.
Did you get the white mold on the bokashi? That is a good mold. Remember, white good, black bad. (green/blue molds aren't good either). You usually get these molds because there is either too much moisture (it was too wet when you made it) or the container you make it in wasn't airtight enough. I prefer to make bokashi in garbage bags.
Yes, it smells great!
If you do juicing or eat lots of fruit, you should try to have a bucket with just one type of fruit. Clean the bucket before you do this. The fruit rinds will ferment and pull the juices out. The juice will smell...and taste great. I had a customer do this by accident once and they started doing it on purpose thereafter. We have a lot of raw food customers out in Tucson since the Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center is about an hour away.
Do you actually have bokashi (already made)? Or, are you adding EM1 and molasses to the bucket direct? Both methods work. Either way, make sure you keep the lid sealed tightly when you are not adding new material.
Eric, I have both! Right now the bokashi is in the bucket doing it's thing. And I "burp" the lid, just like tupperware. We want to do the activated EM1 once we get a sprayer and this weather breaks a bit. I want to use the bokashi in my compost and spray the EM1 directly on my veggies beds to start. I plan to take pictures and record the changes. We have good soil, we've worked at it for over 25years, but I think this will improve it even more. It's all organic, I don't use any type of pesticide nor insecticide, period. Had a little problem with the previous neighbor using herbicides next to my veggie beds, but he's moved, thank God. I was willing to help him pack, the slime.
Quoting:If you do juicing or eat lots of fruit, you should try to have a bucket with just one type of fruit. Clean the bucket before you do this. The fruit rinds will ferment and pull the juices out. The juice will smell...and taste great. I had a customer do this by accident once and they started doing it on purpose thereafter.
No, I am not saying to do with garbage. I am saying you can do this will something like watermelons since the rinds aren't bitter. I wouldn't do it with citrus. It doesn't work with all fruits obviously.
It is fine too since you can drink the EM1. It is a great probiotic, probably the best one on the market.
Mine would be still pictures, as I do not have a video camera, but I can give it a try. A project for later this afternoon, I need DH's help or block the dogs off. They like the smell too and are wanting to assist...LOL
You may have to bury the stuff deeper in the soil so the dogs can't smell it. When I lived back East, I would cover stuff with about 12 inches of soil to prevent skunks and raccoons from digging the food waste up.
I have pictures of my garden back East, but none of them are digital. There are many of me making compost, bokashi heaps, and spraying EM1...not to mention all the varieties of flowers.
I used to work in a restaurant where many of the customers were avid gardeners. By the time I moved, I had nearly 45 varieties of day lilies and 8 varieties of lilacs. It was my favorite thing to do and I usually had most of the day to do it since I worked nights. I miss that. Honestly, gardening the desert is no fun.
I mixed up some of my own Bokashi bran today and wanted to let you all know how it went. If I could find my camera I would've taken photo's.
I copied the recipe from above and halved it, thinking smaller would be easier. I mixed up 1/2C of molasses and 1/2C of EM1 in a gallon of warm water. I used a sterilised gallon milk bottle for this. The full recipe calls for 3-5 gallons of water, so I planned on using about 2 gallons of liquid total.
I headed out to the garage and poured half of my sack of rice bran into a large cement mixing tray. At this point I realised that my sack of rice bran was only 40lbs not 50, so I "guestimated" another 5lbs or so. I poured on the gallon of warm water, EM1 and molasses mix plus a good splash of plain cold water from a watering can and started mixing. It was like mixing bread; warm and fragrant and very pleasant. Not too messy either. But the mix was too wet, so I added more rice bran, and then more rice bran and then the rest of the rice bran. The full 40lbs. Mixed it up some more, trying to make sure there were no really wet lumps. It was a lot like making a crumble topping. Once it was as combined as I could get it I poured it all into a rubbermaid bin, pressed on a large trash bag and put the bin lid on.
I'm a bit concerned about the ratios I used and I hope that it will ferment properly. The weather here today is very, very wet and I'm sure that the humidity levels affected the volume of water required, a bit like in bread making. The final recipe was:
1 1/2 G Water
40lbs Rice Bran
It sounds good. It is a good thing that you didn't make it too wet.
A rule of thumb is to squeeze some in your hand. If the bokashi holds form for a few seconds and excess liquid does not squeeze out, you have the correct moisture.
I used sawdust. Not highly recommended as it has fewer nutrients than others, but I can get it here. The www.emamerica.com site has the instructions for making it and they list some alternatives. Eric said coffee grounds work if you have access to large amounts of them. I don't or I'd make coffee grounds bokashi for my fish scraps! !!!! The imagination boggles.
Brewery waste, dried leaves, wheat bran, coconut husks, wood chips, dried grass... during a project in Egypt, the EMRO researchers actually made bokashi out of sand! They were making bokashi balls to test the cleaning of sediment in the Nile. Some places use mud to make bokashi balls. You really just need any high carbon material to dry the microbes on.
I have been conversing with a woman in Hawaii for some time about using brewery waste. She set up a project in Honolulu with school kids and they made bokashi with it. Brewery waste is pretty wet, so you either have to let it dry out a bit before using it, or add some more carbon material to dry it out. The goal is to reach 30-35% moisture before fermenting.
Hmmmmm. Coconuts husks? Coir? Won't the salt affect the chemistry? I used to use it in my nursery, but even washed of salt it became an attractant to the salts in the fertilizer and was a mess... I suppose with the rain here (almost 150" a year) that wouldn't become a big problem...?
A mixture of dried leaves and stuff? or does it have to be uniform...i reckon that is a sill question but am asking anyway.
Carol - Have you seen the You Tube video called "The Greening of the Dessert"? There is some fascinating information about salts in the soil in it. They found that the salts became inert with what they did - it was stilll there but intert. He tought it was because of the fungi which came about as a result of what they did and had not been in the soil before. I was very interested because we have a lot of salt in the soil here so there are some things I can't grow - like avacados.
Check out the video. Just go to YouTube.com and do a search for the title. It pops right up. I had my friend Tony watch it the other day as it is something we can try here fairly easily (Once we get Tony's brother-in-law Pepe, a walking back hoe, to come and dig some swales.
Ah salts... EM1 applications will neutralize the charge (at least this is how I have heard it explained) of salts. This way, the salt (or element) is still in the soil, but is not going to cause harm. The minerals (which salts are) are bio-available for plants and the fruits grown in these soils will have higher mineral counts...resulting in better taste and nutrients.
There was a research paper done back in 2000-2002 (I can't remember when exactly) of a sodic soil where nothing could grow. After six months of EM1 applications, the farmers were able to grow a wide variety of vegetables in that soil.
This is a link to the Teacher's Manual for Bokashi Food Waste Recycling. In 1997, EM Technology Network received a grant from the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality for their food waste recycling program in schools using EM Bokashi. There is a video that accompanies the booklet that is not currently available online for free (I don't know if it ever will be since it was done through a non-profit with state grant money). The video is geared for teaching elementary school children on the bokashi method. It covers the EM1 technology, the microbes, the making and purpose of bokashi (with wheat bran), the use of bokashi buckets, burying the food waste, and growing plants in the material.
Yup. You can easily add some AEM1 (Activated EM1) to the pile. You add in about 1 gallon and half of activated product per cubic yard of material...and enough water to reach desired moisture content..
There is a microbial inoculant thread in Dave's.
Someone from Organic Gardening sent me here with my question:
Well, my well-meaning man bought me some kombucha organic beverages. Ummm, I didn't care for the taste. However, I hate to waste them.
Can some form of hole composting/pail composting similar to bokashi be done with the ingredients? They are still fermenting away in my fridge at the moment.
Kombucha tea? doe sit taste like fermented apple cider vinegar?
it is made with tea, vinegar water and sugar and the kombucha culture (or a mushroom as some call it)
the spa restaurant I used to work at made it on a weekly basis...I would add it to my compost pile to help it cook not sure about using it like bokashi though
Well, I finallly made it to the end of this thread!lol Thanks for telling me about this Eric. But I still have a question. Since I am focused right now on composting sawdust only, and I have a tremendous amount of the stuff. Can I substitute beer mash (if I can get it) for the rice bran stuff and then just spray with EM1? I plan on using a 35 gallon trash can with the bottom cut off. I can partially bury it in the ground so the worms can start working on it whenever it's ready.
Also I tried to find EM1. I called Whole Foods in San Antonio, Tx and they didn't know what I was talking about. Do you know when they are supposed to start selling it? Is there anywhere else to buy it except online?
I made bokashi with sawdust as the base. It worked fine. I then used the bokashi to ferment garbage and dog poop which was then buried in the garden.
If you want to make compost, I'd suggest you spray your compst ingredients with activated EM1. Are you using any green in your compost? Sawdust alone is probably going to take a long time to break down though the EM1 should speed up the process.
I'm sure Eric will be along to clarify if I'm wrong.
I can add yard trimmings from roses, cannas, lemmon grass, etc. I am hoping to get some beer mash from the local brewery, but I haven't had a chance to ask them yet. I know the beer mash would help a lot and I am hoping it's free.
Tell the San Antonia store to order it from HQ. They are supposed to have it in the floral department. They will get it in for you in a week, depending on their delivery schedule.
Since the mash will be very wet, you will need to add something to dry it out. The sawdust would work fine. You also said in the other topic forum that you have access to lots of leaves. Grind them up and use them. You can use the liquid in the mash in place of water in the bokashi recipes, so just add some EM1 and molasses and mix in to the mash.
Another thing you might want to try is to make your own deodorizer spray with the lemon grass. Mix 1/2 cup EM1, 1/2 cup molasses into a gallon of water. Add a handful of the lemon grass and let if ferment. The extract, after fermenting for about 3 weeks, will have a nice lemon smell. You can dilute this with fresh water at 1 ounce per quart of water and use as a freshener/deodorizer. It would also make for a nice window cleaner...
Thanks Eric, I put that last post in my gardening journal for future reference.
Of course I have a question.lol Are you saying if I want to make more EM1, I can add the 1 cup EM1 and molasses to some mash (a gallon?) and then let that ferment?
About the leaves, I don't have any way to grind them up other than the lawnmower, and when we use that it cuts them up so small that I can't even see them at all anymore. They disappear into the grass. Hmmm unless I could use the leaf blower. It did come with a collection bag, but I think it only sucks them up. I don't think there's anything there to do any grinding. I
would have to put them in whole.
I just talked to somebody at Whole Foods and she said they are expecting to get EM1 in about a week.
Hi Mary Lee,
The recipe I mentioned is along the lines of what we call "activated EM1". You take EM1 and multiply it by feeding the microbes sugar and water. Once you mix, you ferment in a closed container, exactly like making wine or beer. You use warm water and keep it in a warm place. In about 5-10 days the Activated EM1 is ready to use. All the application rates for EM1 and AEM1 are interchangeable. This is how 1 liter of EM1 can make about 1,000lbs of bokashi or 5 gallons of AEM1. We have the activation instructions laid out in detail on the EM America website. We also have categorized applications out in major categories: Environment, Agriculture, Household, and Health.
You can mow up the leaves...and the grass while you're at it...rake it up and use that as the dry material. If you have green material, it will cause heat, so be prepared to turn the pile every day or two. To avoid having to do this, you'd be best off using dried material(no greens). Green equals Nitrogen and nitrogen heats up.
You can also use the EM1 in cut flower water to extend their life. You use only 1 teaspoon per gallon of water...
Anyone ever try spraying EM on mold - as in the mold that comes from floods. My office at work has a spot on the wall about 24 inches square that is moldy. It smells, and it may be coincidental, but I've had increased allergy symptoms since I was moved into this office 5 months ago. The owner has been saying they're going to cut it out ... but so far it never happens. If I could neutralize it myself I'd do it. What do you think. I have a new bottle of EM1 I got at Whole Foods.
Assuming it's drywall, I'd get an Exacto knife and cut it out myself, and get it out of the building and into the trash, Mary. Then treat what is leftover with your EM1...mold has "invisible" threads -- that's how it grows and spreads. So you'd be spraying mold, just that you can't see it.
Then call the owner and say that the guys came and cut out the piece last week, but they didn't finish the job. (Yes, sometimes lies are called for.)
Good thinking Suzy! Mold can be very detrimental to your health and since the landlord seems to be less than enthusiastic about doing what he's suppose to do in a timely manner. You need to move to protect yourself. Just tell him the c--p was making you sick and had to go!
This morning I took the lid off the Bokashi Bran I made and !!! green mould !!! Not a lot but there none the less. When I checked the destructions above and on the emamerica site is says:
Quoting:When fermentation is complete, you may notice some white mold on/in the bokashi. This is good. Black or green mold means some air got into the container or it was too moist and is undesireable. You can use the material as is, or dry for long-term storage.
I'm a bit unclear on what to do now and how to remedy it. Scoop the green mould off and chuck it? Air dry the whole lot? Or should I sprinkle some sugar over it and cover it up for another week as G_M does when things go bad in her bokashi bucket?
I totoally agree Dean, but my first response was @#$%!
Katie, I think the problem was moisture. I've tossed out the green bits and had it airing in the sun today. Tomorrow i'll try spreading it out on a tarp to dry it faster. I was planning on adding it to the chooks feed and bedding but I don't want to do that if it gets any worse.
How does this batch smell?
How wet was the bran when you sealed the bucket?
I'm thinking that your batch might have had too much moisture and too little EM culture in it. Are you confident that the seal on the container was airtight?
I'm attaching a photo that shows the contents of my most recent Bokashi bucket, after two weeks of fermenting undisturbed. Notice the white mold. When I opened the bucket, there was hardly any smell. If I leaned closely, it had an slightly sharp aroma similar to the rind of a Brie cheese. This bucket will be emptied on top of some shredded newspaper in the wormbin tomorrow.
You can try sprinkling some sugar on it and resealing it to see firsthand how this affects the fermentation. Personally, I would use your current batch for garden compost purposes and start another batch to use in the chicken feed rather than risk the green mould making them sick. You can always add some of the EM mother culture to the chickens drinking water. There is some info on the EM site that gives proportions.
This thread is taking a long time to load. Perhaps we could have new thread on using EM with animals/livestock?
I took a lot of the disaster cleanup stuff off the EM America site to avoid problems with the EPA. EM1 is not EPA approved, so we have to play it safe and avoid making claims before we get approved to do so...
As for the bokashi, take out the green stuff and make sure the rest is not too wet.
Got a busy week ahead, but will check in a little here and there.
I wouldn't if you are referring to the bucket in which you are actively fermenting the Bokashi. No air for one - this is an anaerobic fermentation process. Straight Bokashi would be too acidic for their delicate worm complexions too. You need to mix it with the worm bedding or put it in the ground.
There are a lot of interesting comments in this thread. It is important to keep in mind that bokashi fermentation should be done correctly under truly anaerobic conditions. It is exceptionally rapid and efficient producing a high quality nutrient end product without any production of gases to pollute the air.
Both composting and wormeries are pretty toxic when you do the analysis, the former producing a lot of heat, carbon dioxide, and typically in home composting methane and nitrous oxide too. The gases emitted are strong contributors to greenhouse heating of the planet. And neither of those methods produce a product as nutrient rich as bokashi fermentation.
Worms produce large amounts of nitrous oxide in their digestion of material as it passes the gut which is related to the microbes they use in the process. They account for 1/3 of the total nitrous oxide released to the atmosphere and are considered by many experts as pollluting as landfill operations because nitrous oxide is ~ 310 times as efficient at heat trapping as carbon dioxide.
Since bokashi fermentation produces NO gases, and fixes carbon in the soil at nearly 100%, it is obvious it is far superior to the other alternatives in how it helps in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and heating of the planet.
With the municipalities, cities, and counties plans to force residents to separate the organic waste from the garbage (a good thing) now in process, the advantages of bokashi are even more evident. You won't have to pay the officials involved in the process to haul it away where they want to produce methane or compost, both of which are very polluting (definitely not a good thing).
Hi Larry! Welcome aboard. I see that you have just recently subscribed to Daves Garden. How long have you been using the Bokashi method for composting? Do you have any stories from the "trenches" that you'd like to share with us?
Welcome Larry! Wow! This thread has been dead a while. Thanks for reviving it.
It's my first time back to Dave's Garden in several months. So I was going through the slew of post and noticed this one.
The main City I live closest to, Austin, is attempting to do what San Francisco, has done. There looking at I want to say 99% recycling. I watched a program once before that showed how San Francisco has huge compost piles at landfill areas. They use all sorts of organic scarps, shreddings which they obtain from business and homes. They had these mounded up in large piles which they turn with tractors. To help cook the compost they place heavy duty black plastic a top the piles. Later they sell this compost to wineries for use on their vines.
Sorry, I know this doesn't have to with Bokashi, but I thought it had some relevance to the landfill problems were facing.
I think all the counties around SF have municipal composting the yard wastes etc. The waste management depot here in Sunnyvale sorts all incoming garbage on large conveyor belts to pull out potential recyclable materials and catch hazardous waste that was improperly disposed. We can recycle glass, aluminum, multiple types of plastic, mixed papers (e.g. junk mail, magazines & cereal boxes), newspapers, cardboard & batteries. There just isn't enough space to make new landfills and we need to be careful about what goes into the landfills to minimize what might leach into the Bay.
With the weather as cold as it's been here, I could go for some global warming right now. My compost pile & my composter are both nice and big, so I'm trying to do my part. Maybe I oughta exhale more too.
If you have too many worms to suit you, I'll gladly take 'em.
Hi Garden mermaid, Dean W. and others on the thread...
I really wanted to talk a lot more about Bokashi, but was told by those who control the blog and thread that they would not allow me to post many comments. They already removed one of my blogs as it appears it goes against their belief about composting and green house gas production. Facts are facts and composting does pollute, is not easy, and is an inferior method of recycling relative to bokashi fermentation. There are some great posts out of Australia and New Zealand and some very good scientific studies showing the higher growth rate and yields for plants.
I've done a lot of research in this area and apparently because I'm involved in producing culture mixes and systems the "censors" don't want to hear what I might say hinting that it is all just a bunch of commercial advertising. My view is all of you are perfectly capable of making your own decisions and evaluating the facts, and in a free and open forum it would be great to have a good discussion on this topic. Maybe if enough people complain, Dave's board will change policy and allow scientific open debates when there is a difference in opinions as opposed to censoring.
I'm pretty confident that those who have tried bokashi fermentation know by first hand experience it is not only easy, but great for your plants. And its kind of nice to know in the process you are not polluting or messing up the planet.
EMEric has ties to www.emamerica.com and had some problems with his early posts as I think he was mentioning specific products from there. I was a bit emarrassed as I had bugged him to join as there were a lot of questions and not many people with a lot of experience. After some discussion with Administration and some editing of his early posts he has been able to stay within their guidelines, answer questions, and stay within their guidelines. He has, in fact, become an enthusiatic supporter of DG and does as much spreading the word about DG to others as he does about bokashi and related subjects here.
To me, it is sort of like religion. You're probably safe talking about your beliefs but it's probably best not to criticise others' beliefs even if you have a scientific basis for doing so.
Most of the people I know who have taken the plunge on bokashi and similar composting methods become instant converts and spread the word to their friends. (See AlohaHoya's posts for a great example of this.)
Larry, if you read the acceptable use guidelines (AUG) for Dave's Garden, you will have an idea of the discussion parameters. You need to be able to discuss the benefits of Bokashi and your specific experiences on the forum without promoting a particular product or denigrating other composting methods in your discussion.
As katiebear mentioned, EMEric has been very helpful in helping us improve our use of the Effective/Efficient microbes and Bokashi in an acceptable manner.
I concur with the above two posts. Here on DG, it's safer and ultimately more compelling to present the facts about Bokashi and its effective/efficient microbes, than it is to criticize other forms of composting.
I learned about Bokashi composting on DG about a year ago. Now I utilize my Bokashi buckets for my food waste, AND my Biostack bins for green and brown garden wastes. I find that I need both systems.
Larry, I welcome your expertise for questions we might have about the Bokashi method. For instance: does pouring the leachate from my buckets in winter into my sink really help my septic tank? I can't use it as a diluted fertilizer because it's winter outside!
With regards to helping your septic tank...yes it does. You can't harm it by putting a lot in it, but a minimal treatment every 3 months is good insurance. The microbes which function where the oxygen tension is very very low as it would be in a septic tank are most active and capable of digesting sludge and other material that accumulates in the tank and lines. Most importantly, it will help keep the field lines clear and that can be a great relief. If you've ever had to have someone come in and replace the field, you will know having blockage in the field is a most unwelcome event. Good luck keeping things clear.
Hey, thank you, Larry! You have answered my question fully AND explained what goes on in my septic tank--which I was never so interested in until I started learning about effective micro-organisms.
Thank you so much!
Hi! I just re-read this great thread and was amazed at how much I learned from it when I started out. Thanks to everyone who so generously shared their experiences.
I've been "bokashi-ing" now since Dec. 07. I've somehow earned a reputation as a good gardener in my neighborhood and I am CONVINCED that it's because of the results I get from using Bokashi-compost--not from any natural green thumb ;-)
Here's what works for me: I compost every last kitchen scrap (sprinkled with Bokashi bran in layers) into a Bokashi bucket with a drain. I remove the leachate every 5-6 days and in winter, pour it down my drains. During the growing season, I dilute it and use this as fertilizer on my plants. When the Bokash bucket is full, I dump the fermented contents (now covered with nice white mold!) into another ordinary 5-gal. bucket with a tight lid, after having tossed a few handfuls of coir in the bottom to absorb any further Bokashi-juice. When it was too cold to compost them this winter, I just kept filling up 6 big buckets of these fermented scraps in my garage with no problems and no smell. If I had a larger family, I'd probably have more buckets!! (DH just rolls his eyes.)
I myself do not use the trench method of burying my Bokashi scraps, mostly for lack of room in my garden beds. Rather, from mid-March up until mid-December I bury the fermented scraps in my covered compost bins that I am filling all year with browns and greens. I'm already seeing worms there. I guess they come to enjoy the microbes on the Bokashi-buffet, and they stay around to help compost the other materials they find!! I will toss my compost every few weeks which helps to distribute the worms.
I'm late to this party but very interested in beneficial microorganisms.
I also need to apologize in advance for not having read every post in this thread, but wondered if the use of newspaper which has been treated with lacto bacillium (or the whey from yogurt) in lieu of EM soaked bran has already been discussed.
I don't recall that topic specifically. It would be interesting to do a side by side bucket comparison of food scraps fermented with whey soaked newspaper versus bokashi bran or a mist of AEM. Are you using the whey-newspaper technique now?
No, I'm not bokashi composting at all but am interested in trying it. I found the info on www.bokashicomposting.com while looking for info on lacto bacillius in the garden. It was there that I found that the whey could be used instead of collecting the LB from the air.
I also think it would be interesting to do a test with the whey from kefir as it also contains yeasts ( or at least the kefir does, so I'm assuming it is in the whey, too.) and em has yeasts/fungi and lb in the mix.
penny, please start a new thread in this forum for the "make your own bokashi culture" topic. It think this would be a great topic to explore. This particular thread is getting rather long and takes a long time to load for those on dial up.