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I'm still getting bummed when I go to figure out the bokashi threads. Bokashi, EM1, activated EM 1, soil or microbial innoculants?, kimchee, yada, yada, yada. I know you guys have figured it all out so I'm back asking for help & I'm asking you remember to KISS (for me).
I have a bokashi bucket & bought a small amount of the bokashi (the grainy looking mixture to throw on the food waste). So in effect, bokashi is the mix & bokashi is the method? If so, I need more bokashi mix now.
I have the liquid EM 1. I have litmus paper (can't remember why, except someone suggested I get it). I have my first batch of bokashi fermenting in my garage. DH swears it smells. Using lg cat litter cntnr for my 2nd batch of bokashi. I know after the end of 2 weeks I get to bury my bokashi mixture. Should I attempt to drain the liquid off & then mix w/water & use it as a fertilizer?
Pls don't reference me back to the bokashi threads (3, long, time consuming threads, sometimes too technical for me). Any chance a "sticky" could be done for Bokashi? Just a basic info guide?
Until then, how would you make a small batch of bokashi (the grainy looking mixture)? Only like a 5-10 gallon buckets worth. What do I do w/liquid em1 & litmus papers?
Good news? I'm trying to do it, to make my little bit of area a better place for the next person. Way cool! Thanks to everyone here, I've also got a nice looking compost pile going (all in less than a month)!
Davis1676 - first, WELL DONE! and a full round of applause - you have done really well to get this far, and yes it is true the Bokashi threads do get long and complicated. What I can promise you is that as you get more confident, you will find they are a lot less complicated. Honestly, I'm fairly new to this, and I do find it is a simple, forgiving system.
1) KISS - you said it in your message - and with that in mind I would suggest that, for right now, you stick to the purchased bokashi bran, and don't try to make up your own. Instead, just relax a bit and get used to using it. Keep it simple. That way you can see how easy the whole system is before launching into the next stage. (don't worry about the EM1 you have purchased - it will keep for sometime).
2) Do draw off the liquid from the container - I store mine in a plastic litre bottle, keeping it in a cool, dark place (don't leave it in direct sun). This is where your litmus paper comes in - if you want to you can test it to see how acidic it is - ideally you would like something showing around 4. I find leaving it sit for a day or two brings it to that level (the white flakes on top seems to indicate when it is at the right acidity). Dilute the liquid in a watering can - I use about 1 and 1/2 tablespoons for a 2 gallon can. I am finding that this doesn't have to be an absolute measurement - plants are pretty tolerant - this can be used either as a root drench or as a foliar feed. During the growing season you can feed weekly - especially vegetables. Okay to spray on to vegetables, doesn't harm insects.
3) The smell of the bokashi container should be a bit vinegary - (it actually smells quite cow-y, but if you haven't been around a farm, you might not know what that smells like). I've not had one go off yet, so don't know what it smells like when it goes bad - but I suspect it is a very intense odour. As far as husband saying it stinks - it is all relative, he may be very sensitive to this kind of smell. One of the things that might help is to make sure that you have compacted the material in the bin - I use a gardening hand tool - one of those claw cultivators - and tamp all new material firmly, then add bokashi bran. This takes out air, and really keeps the smell down. When your bin is ready, try burying the first one in soil - I just dig a trench about 6" deep, spread the bokashi evenily along the trench, and cover over. No smell, earth loves it - as do worms.
Hope that helps, if you have any more questions, ask away - I'm sure we can figure it out between us. All the best, Laurie
[quote] ideally you would like something showing around 4. I find leaving it sit for a day or two brings it to that level (the white flakes on top seems to indicate when it is at the right acidity). [/quote]
Laurie, you gave really good advice to davis. I have a few questions: I thought I read somewhere that one should use the drained-off bokashi-juice within 24 hours--or the microbes died (or something--I'm not really sure why.) I'd rather have the flexibility of storing the juice for a few days because sometimes it isn't convenient to fertilize immediately.
I also didn't know that a PH of around 4 was desirable before fertilizing with bokashi juice. I thought this was for when you were making augmented EM.
As you can tell, I am also a newbie but have learned a lot from reading your comments. Thank you!
Hi - Here are my Keep It Simple, Sweetheart suggestions:
Remeber you can go to the www.emamerica.com website and read both basic and advanced articles. It took awhile for me to keep things straight so let yourself go over stuff several times if you have to.
Here's the BASICS: EM is the brown liquid in a bottle. When mixed with molasses and water it becomes AEM (activated em) which you can mix with water the same as the basic EM. By activating it, you are extending it and geting a lot more for your money.
Bokashi is made by adding EM, molasses and water to a "base" to get dry stuff to sprinkle on garbage to pickle it. The same results can be achieved by spraying the garbage with an EM solution.
You might think of EM as being like yeast it gets a chemical process going and can be used in a lot of different ways.
One thing to remember is that it works anaerobically (not sure that's spelled right) - without air. The more air gets to it, the more likely it is to rot, rather than frement, at least in my experience. I make bokashi with sawdust. I mix it in a heavy trash bag in a garbage pail. This allows me to remove most of the air by pressing it down and twisting the top of the bag. Nothing high tech, any smells are sealed in by the bag and the cover of the garbage can. To me, it has a kind of sourdough odor when I open it.
Hope this helps you to with the basics. There are so many uses for EM and so many products being developed that iti's easy to get confused. It begins to sound like snake oil.
You can read over some of the many uses for EM on the website and try a few of them out. If you start to feel overwhelmed just do the bokashi for awhile.
My trees have responded so quickly to the bokashi that I was an instant convert.
Capecod - I'm going by the info that I have gleaned on the other threads and have tried and found sucessful - I'm fairly certain that someone pointed out that the juice lasts about a fortnight, depending on the temps/conditions - mine stays with a very stable light vinegar smell and continues to make the white flakes with a very steady 3 to 4 litmus - so I am assuming that it is still the same juice - I've never held it longer than that because we get through quite a bit. The results have been noticeable - so I think it is working.
Laurie, I'll be following your advice for now, keep using the b mix. I'll test the liquid & spray on some plants this weekend.
Katie bear I'm definitely a cost efficient person (some say cheap, whatever) & I love the way you're mixing your bokashi? up. I didn't know sawdust would be an option. Doesn't have to be bran? Pros & cons? I hate the ambivilent wording used with this method.
emeric, you must have some sort of cheat sheet, that can be posted. It's when I start reading everything from everyone that I get confused. When i feel more comfortable, I'd want more input. I understand there'd be a conflict with you, but others are selling this or promoting this method. Is there an "uber" who would have to post a sticky?
P.S. I recommend making bokashi because it's a fairly easy way to get started with EM. If it does develop a nasty odor, bury it in your compost pile. Or dig a few holes in the garden and bury it,
When your first batch is done you will be so happy. Like baking a cake or making bread and you'll know you did well.
You don't have to spread it out to dry as long as you keep as much air as possible out of the bag and keep the bag top twisted tight between uses. As my bag empties, I also put a weight (like a brick) on top of it to discourage it from opening.
[quote] I'm fairly certain that someone pointed out that the juice lasts about a fortnight, depending on the temps/conditions - mine stays with a very stable light vinegar smell and continues to make the white flakes with a very steady 3 to 4 litmus - so I am assuming that it is still the same juice [/quote]
Laurie, this must be correct because come to think of it, sometimes I don't drain the juice out of my bokashi buckets every day either--sometimes it goes for 4-5 days--and when I finally do, it still smells vinegary and looks "right."
I'm glad to know this now. Thanks for taking the time to answer.
You can also use the spent coffee grounds from Starbucks/local coffee house to make the Bokashi bran. This works well too. The key is to keep the air out while everything is fermenting.
I've had occaisional batches of kitchen scraps go "bad", but only when I've been lazy and didn't keep things air tight. If a batch does go really stinky on me, I spray it well with the EM or AEM, seal it up well for two weeks, and then bury it in the ground or compost heap. The local earthworms still seem to love it, and the plants haven't complained yet.
I got some liquid from the B bucket & OMG does it smell like poop. UGH! I tested it and it was close to the 5 on the litmus paper test. I find it hard to believe you can clean your house with this stuff. I'm guessing it doesn't smell right & I've done something not quite right. Or is this the smell & I learn to be ok with it? Pls someone answer quick.
My dog is running around whining now...& I had to put the liquid outside.
Davis, I don't think it is supposed to smell THAT bad. Mildly or even strongly vinegary is OK. The sense of smell varies among people, however; I think that my drained-off juice just smells pleasantly vinegary, while DH makes rude gagging noises when I decant it in his presence.
I suspect the scraps and bokashi weren't kept anerobic enough in the bucket.
I will be interested in whether the experts on this thread counsel you just to discard the "bad juice," or whether you can still use it.
thanks for the reassurance CCG. I hope it's not suppose to smell this funky. When you say not kept aneorobic enough, could that mean we opened the bucket too many times while waiting to fill it up? It didn't smell this bad when I sat it in the garage to ferment for the 2 weeks.
I use the straight EM or extended EM for cleaning. I only use the bokashi and its juice in the garden.
I use just a few drops of the EM on my ceramic top stove and it works well to clean up the gunk that is very resistant to soap.
If it gets too much air (i.e., is not anerobic) it might not ferment properly and that may be the cause of the bad smell. If it smells awful, bury it. Again: IF IT SMELLS AWFUL, BURY IT!!! If you have animals that dig, put something heavy over the spot.
As GM suggested, you can spray awful smell you can spary it will EM and seal the bucket and leave it for a couple of weeks.
davis, it sounds as though you might have Bokashi juice confused with the EM mother culture or extended EM (AEM).
The liquid that you drain off the Bokashi bucket goes on the plants and in the soil only. The original mother culture (or straight EM, as in, the liquid you purchased from the supplier) and it's extended version is the only thing I would use for cleaning or in the drains. It smells like molasses and vineagar. Sometime the contents of my Bokashi bucket smells more like strong cheese than vinaegar. If that happens, just bury it. The ground will still be enriched and the earth worms will still turn it into good soil.
Davis, regarding "stinky" bokashi juice and its uses, after reading the above posts here is my take on it:
1) Noxious-smelling bokashi JUICE means that the beneficial microbes have died, and the juice isn't "alive" anymore and won't have its properties as a soil-improver. It won't help your compost heap, or soil, but won't necessarily hurt it either. Noxious-smelling bokashi SCRAPS in your bucket also means that the microbes have died--too much air present during the fermenting process. But you can always bury the contents of your bucket of bokashi and kitchen scraps in your garden/compost heap, even if they smell terrible. The worms seem to love coming to the cafeteria and working their magic no matter how much they smell like "bad cheese" (good descriptor, garden_mermaid).
2) The best way to keep the process of fermentation going well is to be sure that the lid of the bucket is on very tightly and that you have added a GOOD HANDFUL of bokashi (or a healthy spray of EM) for every 2-3 inches of scraps and mixed it in. This seems to ensure good (e.g., non-stinky) fermentation of scraps and juice. I also press the scraps and bokashi down tightly and cover with a layer of plastic wrap each time.
3) As katiebear and g_m note just above, the drained-off bokashi juice is only meant to be a soil-improver and method of fertilizing your plants. This juice must be diluted with water before being added as a soil drench--Laurie uses a ratio of around 2-3 teaspoons per gallon. Some people use it as a foliar-feed spray but I do not because I have found that it can burn some tender plants' leaves.
Who would have thought that I would find all this so fascinating, before I entered the wonderful world of bokashi six months ago?? LOL
I'm happy to stand corrected in any of these conclusions by the real experts on this thread.
hmm...dead microbes, not what I wanted to hear. Thanks for all the responses guys. I believe I probably need to add more dry bokashi or spray with the liquid em. Full strength? I need to limit opening my active bokashi bucket to once a day, maybe toss everything in at night. B liquid is used to fertilize.
Is it too late to try & save the completed B bucket (the one finishing fermenting)? Can't spray EM to bring it back to life? Ok.
I feel like I've crossed another hurdle & it's all good. I learn. Hopefully I can get things working right now. Definitely appreciate all your help.
Hey Laurie, I'm not sure it's dead. One site I checked out (I probably read it wrong but..) said if you don't take the liquid out as you go along, it will get into the rest of the bucket & it'll start to stink, signaling a problem, so you knew to remove the liquid. I'm sure it didn't mean weeks later, but here I am. Is there a way to test, to see if it's still alive? If not, I'm still burying it, still real deep & w/cinderblocks on top.
One gal saved scraps in fridge for a while then added to the bucket, every few days. Heck, I was opening it just to put potato chip crumbs in. I've got gnatt butts flying around everywhere, DH thinks they've made their home in the kitchen sink drain. Anyway, I need to address that problem (potted plants are a factor too) next.
I'm not giving up on this. thanks again guys.
I think that is incredibly dilligent putting potato crisp crumbs in! Good going! I don't think opening it often is a problem as long as you tamp down the material when you add (that takes the air out in the actual material), and then when you put the lid back on, burp it like tupperware. I open mine most kitchen use times - there's always a banana peel or the salad trimmings to go in - so I don't think you have to worry about it.
Davis, how long has the bin been going? When did you start it?
I'm with Davis. I've read the three threads, I have my EM1 and PH paper. I've "extended" the em and it is ready to go.
Now, I am ready to start composting kitchen scraps and weeds. I have lots and lots of weeds that I want to get rid of without the risk of the seeds going into my compost pile. I don't have the dry bokasha. I am going to try the liquid (KimChee) method. I've got a 5 gallon pail of weeds and am working on another. But, I don't have lids. So, I am looking for a suitable (cheap) container. Then I'm not sure how much activated EM1 to put in with the weeds. Any suggestions?
For making my activated EM1, I used a igloo style cooler (It's summer sale season here in the Midwest.) It worked very well. To test the PH of the EM, I didn't have to open the lid. Just pour a little from the spout.
welcome lulabelle! Glad to see you rocking & rolling with your EM1 already, so you did an activated liquid to begin with, huh? Good deal, lots of folks here to help you out who know things so pls keep posting.
Laurie, it took me a good 2 weeks to fill up the first bucket. It's been outside for a bit over a week, it was suppose to be ready on Sat. I'll probably still wait till Sat to bury it. Hope you're right & the worms will like anyway.
Yes, I made the activated liquid. Put it in a week ago and it showed 3.5 ph yesterday. I'll let it rest a bit and then try adding some to a bucket or two of weeds. I have enough weeds to fill a 50 gallon drum.
davis, you may want to get one of those smaller, decorative, counter top kitchen compost containers to put the scraps in during the day, and then empty that container into the Bokashi bucket in the evening.
That's what we do. The tea leaves, coffee grounds, fruit peelings, bread crumbs etc go into the counter top container. I empty that into the 5 gallon bucket when I put in the peelings and trimming from dinner. So we only open the fermentation bucket once per day or less.
Would it be a good idea to use my pickling jar to make the activated EM? It is a gallon size glass jar with a spigot at the bottom. The plastic lid screws on tight and has a thing poking out the top (originally intended for wine making) that lets the gas out but does not let anything in. I've never used the jar. By the time I collected all the componets my garden had rotted from the 3 months of daily rains. Would it work alright to use it for activating the EM or even for making smaller batches of kitchen scrap bokahsi? Also, when making the kitchen scrap bokashi, can I use a spraying of Activated EM with each addition rather than the granular bokashi?
[quote]davis, you may want to get one of those smaller, decorative, counter top kitchen compost containers to put the scraps in during the day, and then empty that container into the Bokashi bucket in the evening.[/quote]
This is what I have, davis. I have used the square plastic compost pail (see link below) from Gardeners Supply for two years. I just set it underneath my sink, but it can also be mounted on a cabinet door if you wish. I add everything: vegetative scraps, meat, fish, and dairy left-overs. Because I empty my compost pail (and rinse it out) into my 5-gallon Bokashi bucket every 1-2 days, I haven't had any bad smell, and haven't needed to use the odor-reducing replacement charcoal pads that you can purchase.
Hi--I feel like "Bokashi-Juice Girl," because I keep having lots of questions about it. . .probably because I always seem to have so much "juice" from my two working buckets, that I then use up as a soil-drench fertilizer! My latest question is regarding the composition of the juice. Does anyone have any idea of what the proportions might be in terms of N-P-K? Or does this vary widely depending on the composition of the fermented scraps? I ask because I am wondering whether I should be relying on my Bokshi juice as a complete fertilizer, or just as a small part of an organic fertilizing routine?
Thanks in advance,
BJG, aka CapeCodGardener
Thanks for the link BJG, I'll look into getting one. I agree with Laurie, great question. I'd still love to know if there's any way to test if your bokashi is still alive or beneficial? I won't waste my time/effort to put the liquid on my plants, if not.
It's my understand that the Bokashi is not the fertilizer. The microbes in the "juice" help unlock the plant's ability to utilize the nutrients that already in the soil. So doing a soil test periodically is a good idea. I'm going to be interested to see what happens with mine. I had one done last year and want to do one again this fall using soil mainly from the areas I've added the bokashi or AEM1.
I am very excited and flattered to have been asked to teach a 3 hour class on Organic Gardening to the latest group of Master Gardeners. I've already introduced 2 of the horticulturalists to the EM1 websites and explained the Bokashi concept. There's enough scientific testing data there to drown ya..LOL
It's going to be so cool! I plan to use the Bokashi method with regard to both composting and soil maintenance. Still totally amazed at the results from using the Bokashi. And I got the pictures to back it up...LOL
[quote]the Bokashi is not the fertilizer. The microbes in the "juice" help unlock the plant's ability to utilize the nutrients that already in the soil.[/quote]
Doccat, that sounds right. So it would seem that one could also add regular applications of organic fertilizer in addition to the weekly soil-drench with diluted Bokashi-juice, without risking over-fertilizing/burning the plants--is that correct?
Wish I could come to your classes with the Master Gardeners!
It seems to me that the Bokashi juice would contain some nutrients as well, just as cold compost would. The heat of the hot composting method burns off a lot of nutrients into the air. Cold composting retains more. Bokashi seems like a way to have the best of both worlds - cold composting for nutrients plus the deactivation of weed seeds or potential pathogens like hot composting (via EM fermentation ).
The APNAN manual indicated that farmers were able to greatly reduce, and in some cases eliminate, their use of fertilizer using the Bokashi method. I'm assuming that some type of green manure/cover crop is used for the nitrogen fertilzer.
My plants repond to Bokashi juice as though I've fed them well.
[quote] Let the Bokashi do the work...:) [/quote]
This sounds good to me! I guess I just wanted some sort of quantification of nutrients (I get all uptight about those numbers on the front of the package) but heck, I'll just relax. That's what bokashi composting is supposed to be about, right? Letting those little microbial critters do their work.
As I understand it, you can either bokashi the weeds the same as you do kitchen waste or you can soak them in water with EM and molasses added. I've done both, both work. This is a very forgiving activator.
One important thing is to keep as much air as possible out and keep the containter on tight to keep air out. I make my bokashi inside trash bags in a garbage pail so I can tighten the bag top to keep air out as I use it up.
The worst that can happen - as far as I know - is you get a stinky, slimey goop that you bury in a far corner of the yard. It will still improve the soil and help your plants grow (ask me how I know this).
I've had a few batches that were more than "slightly tangy." Some that drew hoards of flies even when tightly-lidded. Don't ask for more details, please, it hurts to recall them. Some have recover somewhat with more bokashi,: other just got buried deep. Even the nastiest smelling "failures" have improved the plants near their burial sites.
The worms will still come running when you bury the stinky, slimy goop...at night, by moonlight, so that no one knows you have a batch that when bad due to excess aeration.
I've succeeded in recreating wgnkiwi's rubbermaid bin batch of green mold upon coffee grounds too. Conclusion: the lid on the rubbermaid storage bin does not provide adequate air seal, even with the plastic bag pressed on top. No matter - into the middle of the pile it went. The worm banquet became wonderful compost in the end.
I fell upon some wonderful 4and/or5 gallon buckets at a bakery/deli. Their pickles cames in them...and lots of other stuff too. So I drilled holes in the bottom of one and slipped it inside the second one: the second one collects the juice and the lid is airtight and pops off. Makes it really easy. Am looking for more of them around town.
I WONDER: Could you make it out of dried chicken poop that comes in a bag...and then have a wonderful bokashi/fertilizer (and champion stinkeroo). Or potting soil - it is fine organic material?
AHA! This may be the answer to my problems. My bokashi bucket doesn't snap when I put the top on. It has never had what I'd call a tight fitting lid. I'm gonna go with the plastic trash bags in the bucket next & tie them off. In that case, would I put holes in the bottom for the liquid to drain? It sounds like that would sort of defeat the purpose. I'm obviously still looking for something that'll work for me. I'm more than willing to take your suggestions.
Here is a link to a teacher's guide that is geared for teaching elementary school kids how to start a food waste recycling program in their school. This is EM Hawaii's website. You can download the PDF and start reading.
I bought my buckets at a bakery for 2$ - any restaurant would have them and I know that ACE hardware sells them. When I am making Bokashi, I put the innoculated material in a plastic bag INSIDE the airtight bucket, press all of the air I can out of the bag, tape it down and then close the bucket.
My next experiment is going to be spraying my gh with diluted EM1 against fungi.
Eric, I use flower frogs wrapped in cheese cloth for our homemade buckets. I found some huge frogs at the local thrift store and grabbed them up. They work fine and I can wring out the cheese cloth when we dump the bucket. Works like a charm.
I have to tell you the horticulturalist at the Mary Washington House has used all the Bokashi juice I gave her. The was 2 full 2 liter coke bottles...and is looking for more! LOL I wish I had taken before pictures of those boxhedges I mentioned in an earlier thread. The change is amazing! They've grown about 4 inches all over and are a bright deep green. She is so pleased. I'm going to take both some Bokashi juice and some AEM1 with me when I go Thursday. I also talked to her about redoing the compost piles so they actually make compost. Gawd, that is a mess. But it can be fixed. Talked one of the other MGs into donating 2 30 gallon trash cans with lids. I'll buy more EM1. My DH is going to install the spigots and we are going to make Bokashi for the site. We are always pulling noxious weeds and they've been going to the landfill. I explained about Laurie using the weeds to make Bokashi, so we are going to give it a try. There is an area next to the little shed where we can stick the trash cans. I've got a bunch of excited Master Gardeners. These guys have seen what's happening to the gardens using the Bokashi and I've been giving out the websites right and left. I'm sooooooooo pleased!
I am very flattered as I have been asked to do a 3 hour presentation on Organic Vegetable Gardening to the newest class of Master Gardeners. I'm also scheduled to speak to 2 of the local gardening clubs about vegetable gardening. Evidently both the local extension office and VA Tech are getting a lot of questions from both experienced and novice gardeners on using "green" methods in their gardens. Score one for us old tree hugging nuts!!! WOOHOO!!
That is so cool doccat, congrats on such an honor! I must say you're such an enthusiastic, dedicated person when it comes to Bokashi & composting in general. Your posts make me want to keep trying. Your new group of MG's will be getting an awesome instructor. Wish I was going to be in your class. Hope you have fun with it.
WTG. doccat. The changes are also very noticeable in my plants. I have a tangarine tree that has grown about a foot in every direction. And, as you mentioned, the new growth is bright green and shiney.
Hi--I've leaned so much from this forum, but I always seem to have a few more questions--maybe that's related ;-)
My question this time concerns EM1 and Bokashi-Juice. As I understand it, the "juice" acts as fertilizer and EM1 is a soil conditioner. Does this mean that I can use both concurrently? Spraying with EM1 as well as applying a soil-drench with diluted Bokashi Juice?
Is there a limit on how often one can apply EM1? I have a large bottle to use up!
Thanks in advance!
CCG, when you say EM1, are you referring to the stock bottle (eg, mother culture) that you purchased, or the activated/extended EM (aka AEM) that you brew from the mother culture? I don't think there is a limit to how often you can apply the EM or AEM other than cost. The original mother culture keeps quite a long time and has many uses. How big of a bottle did you buy (if I may be so nosy)?
[quote]CCG, when you say EM1, are you referring to the stock bottle (eg, mother culture) that you purchased, or the activated/extended EM (aka AEM) that you brew from the mother culture? I don't think there is a limit to how often you can apply the EM or AEM other than cost. The original mother culture keeps quite a long time and has many uses. How big of a bottle did you buy (if I may be so nosy)?[/quote]
Thanks, G_M for the reply. I was referring to a 1 liter bottle (heavy quart) of the original EM1. So you're saying that there isn't really a limit on how often I could spray it?
Thank for the reminder that it can be used for other things--because I have quite a lot of it left at the standard dilution rate to use up before winter sets in!
What's the expiration date on your stock bottle? Mine have usually been good for over a year. Do you not want to use more in the spring or are you trying to build up the microbe levels to help the snow melt? :)
[quote]What's the expiration date on your stock bottle? Mine have usually been good for over a year. Do you not want to use more in the spring or are you trying to build up the microbe levels to help the snow melt? :)[/quote]
Oh G_M, I'm really glad you prompted me to look for my stock bottle's expiration date. It says "best used by Dec. 8, 2008," which is three months away. I plan to use it as an innoculant for my compost heap, and also for my Bokashi Buckets. . . is there another usage for this time of year? The information I read says that it is good as a foliar spray on GROWING plants, but we are coming into Fall and Winter now.
Are you saying that building up the microbe levels in my soil during the winter would cause some increase in soil-temperature (makes sense, actually)? Maybe I should spray my compost bins with EM1 all winter!
[quote]What's the expiration date on your stock bottle? Mine have usually been good for over a year. Do you not want to use more in the spring or are you trying to build up the microbe levels to help the snow melt? :)[/quote]
OH G_M, I'm so glad you prompted me to look at the expiration date. . . It says "Best used before Dec. 8, 2008." I would actually rather use it in the Spring, but I think I should probably use what I can pretty quick. Is there a downside to using EM1 as a spray at this time of year? I know that Bokashi-Juice is a good fertilizer, but truthfully,I don't know that much about spraying with EM1.
(edited to add something I left out the first time!)
I asked that same question of the EM Rep. here...and he said that it should be OK long after the exp. date. When the color starts changing is the time to toss it...I think I will do a big spray in the greenhouse with it...pour it down my drains and spray down a bunch of yardwaste, banana trunks etc. to later cover with soil and let 'cook' all winter...
CCG, I'm not sure spraying during snow storms would be a good idea, that would probably be too cold for new microbial activity. Hopefully EMEric will chime in here sometime of cold hardiness. I did post a link to a photo of a biologically active field in Iowa or somewhere thereabouts. The fields with high microbial activity had no snow on them. They were surrounded by fields buried in snow.
Aloha, I've also used the stock culture many months after the expiration date without any problems.
Ah, you all are getting to be experts yourselves... The best way to learn about EM Technology is to use it! Don't be afraid to try something new.
I use the activated EM1 more than anything. I use hose end sprayers to apply it. I usually fill the reservoir and spray everything, plants, grass, trees, etc., until the container is empty. I have yet to harm a plant.
During fermentation, I have added hot pepper flakes, garlic, hot peppers, herbs, etc., for various known benefits of these. For instance, add one teaspoon of hot pepper flakes to a gallon a AEM1 (before fermenting) and don't spray into the wind!. Garlic smells so good you'll want to make something with it...which you can...take a look at the recipes on the EM America site in the Health Section. EM1 is also a great probiotic!!!
You can add the AEM1 to compost piles throughout the winter.
For soils, often the way to get the best results in soils is to do a heavy application in the fall and a follow up application in the spring. I would also look at using it to spray in any plant residues you leave in the veggie garden.
Yes, so when it warms up, they are there ready to go.
Also, temperatures 32F and below cause about 10-15% die off. However, experience has shown that the best results are when the EM1 is applied in the fall.
Due to hurricane Ike and a week without power, I am cleaning out the fridge and have a lot of bad milk and other food to get rid of. I still need to get the right size drill bit to make a bucket with a tap on it. Until then, could I make a "liquid" batch and throw in some of the bran bokashi stuff? Would you let it ferment for two weeks and pour it into a hole or dilute it and water the garden with it? Let me know what ya'll think.
[quote]I use the activated EM1 more than anything. I use hose end sprayers to apply it. I usually fill the reservoir and spray everything, plants, grass, trees, etc., until the container is empty. I have yet to harm a plant.[/quote]
This sounds like an excellent way to use up my EM1 bottle. Does it matter how big the sprayer is? Can I just use a relatively small (holds about 3 cups) left-over hose-end sprayer that came with a supply of Miracle-Gro? (from the bad old days before I knew about organic fertilizers.)
Or would it be better to purchase a larger, more "official" hose-end sprayer?
You can see that I don't know much about this!
Aloha - I just bought the Miracle Gro sprayer (wonderful - at the check out I just pulled out the sachets of Mir. Gro and all of the wrapping (surprisingly little) and handed them to the cashier and asked her to throw it away - the faces behind me!!) the sprayer has three settings, although I have to say it doesn't seem to work terribly well: I seem to have dribble, plonking spray, and a slanted vertical spray. fortunately it was on sale for £1.99. The plonking spray (named for the sound as it puddles) is sort of like summer rain - rather nice, but efficient even cover? I doubt it.
I saw some hose end sprayer attachments on bottles of liquid organic plant food at the local Summerwinds Nursery. I'll check the brand next time I'm there. These are designed to dispense liquid foliar feeds, so hopefully they are refillable sprayers. Must investigate.
Hose end sprayers come in a variety of types. I have tried Gilmour and found they work for a while and aren't too expensive. Another company, Hudson, makes many types, including some commercial grade ones. I think they may be the sturdier ones.
I've got a pump sprayer (2.5 gallon) I bought at The Home Depot...Says Roundupô on the side...which always makes me feel good...right! It was $10.99 and worked for a few years. Don't pump it up too much, it will blow the seal and not work...I speak from experience.
Spray either AEM1 or EM1, the effects are the same. The difference is that the AEM1 is about 1/20th the cost per ounce/gallon.
This thread has been really helpful - and I've learned so much here as well as on the other ones. Thanks to EMEric as well - a wealth of information both here and on the phone. I'm excited to get started with this. My first problem to solve is a serious problem with my lawn which I think is brown patch - a fungal disease common in cool humid weather here. The beneficial microbes will consume the fungus if I understand it correctly. The info above on sprayers is very timely!
After that, my goal is to compost as much waste from the kitchen and lawn as possible. Keep the great discussions going. Thanks all!
Now I have an interesting problem. I've been bokashing away - loads of material, and digging the finished bins into trenches in the vegetable beds to over winter. so far so good - except the d'#%ed fox loves bokashi!! Any suggestions on how to discourage this animal from digging up and munching through all my buried treasure!? Or do I just have to share and enjoy? He (I'm convinced it is a he!) can clear the lot in a couple of days!!
Line the trench with chicken wire? That would probably be expensive though.
Trench inside a fenced area with a fox hound on guard?
I'll have to ponder that one. What do you usually do to control fox in your area?
Do the offending invader show signs of better nutrition and nicer fur from all that Bokashi in his diet? (might as well study him while figuring out how to deter).
Because we are plagued by wild pigs and my labrador who loves bokashied garbage, we have cut the bottom out of a large rubbish can and dug it into a 2' hole in a planting bed. That is where we put all the 'finished' kitchen waste when the 5 gallon can gets full. I also layer other waste in it as well...like piles of fallen fruit etc. DH put his hand in it the other day and said it was HOT! We may have to put more rubbish cans around...DH (a Chemical Engineer and a skeptic) is slowly embracing this EM technology - at least for garbage!!!
Mermaid, I just absolutely chuckled at the image of this extremely shiny coated fox racing around on bokashi health!! Just read another thread where someone is going to put their poorly pooch on a 'raw' diet - maybe I should suggest to just let them eat bokashi! Our fox will attest to its health giving qualities.
We do nothing about controlling fox other than letting the terrier set up a bark and chase within the garden boundaries. I see it as a fair trade off that he keeps my terrier in trim by running him around abit. One night there was a particular racket going on, and I took the torch down to see what he was barking at. Fox and terrier were face to face at the fence line, both panting and at a stand off. Because the terrier was so close the fox couldn't get a good set to jump the fence. Then they both looked at each other as if in agreement, the terrier looked away, the fox jumped, and then terrier went back to barking. A definate gentleman's solution. Because we don't keep poultry, the fox really hasn't seemed a problem (and he does deal nicely with the squirrel ground nests) so I don't consider this a real problem - more of a surprise and hands on hips sort of moment. Just funny really - never dawned on me he would find it so yummy! Putting chicken wire down while it is fresh is not a bad idea - I'll try it. although I'm suddenly feeling a little mean.
Aloha, nice idea about the garbage can, not high on the aesthetic rating, but I can see where it would be effective.
Hi, I know this post is sort of old. I just got done reading the whole thing, can you use paper shred the same as you would use sawdust, or bran? I have not started Bokashi yet, but I will soon. Thanks Leah
I'm using newpaper in my Bokashi buckets, although I'm not innoculating the newspaper. I just spritz the scraps with AEM, then press them down with a folded page of newspaper and close the bucket. The newspaper absorbs the extra liquids in the bucket. I like having a clean piece of newspaper to press on to compact the contents of the bucket. Seems to be working fine. The worms eat up the paper along with the rest when I bury the bucket contents. They seem to enjoy the sports section.
The only problem I see with shredded paper is that when you moisten it, it would be hard to get it uniformly saturated with the AEM and the same would go for when you dry it... If the shredded paper where then cut into little pieces, like confetti...maybe that would work.
I tried it with Peat but it was not too successful as the peat absorbs SO much ...and is it completely absorbed? Hard to tell.
I layer a folded whole piece of newspaper with the kitchen waste. I don't bother to shred it. I've done four buckets this way. Beautiful white mold in the *finished* buckets when I'm getting ready to dump them in the ground. I think compressing the contents helps it ferment better. I used to use a paper plate to push everything down. That would get messy. Now I just layer in a newspaper section. It makes it easy to compact. The newspaper gets soggy over time and the worms chow it down.
Brilliant - absolutlylutlybrilliant!!! Thanks GM! I am desperate for more bokashi for my gardens so this would do it!!!! I have been trying to compost computer shredded printouts...and there is just too much binder in them!!!
Tell me, please, how long does your AEM last mixed in a spray bottle. Man, that would eliminate the whole bokashi dance.
Carol, I am going to assume you use bokashi on your hoya, is that correct. I am just trying to find something we already have like paper shred. I will try that, see what happens. one less thing that will be thrown away if it works. If not I'll be using coffee grounds, most likely. Here the city recycles lots of stuff but they only take paper shred if it is in a box or paper bag labled"paper shred". I've been to the recycle plant and seen the sorting "process" I don't see how they'd would even have time to read the box. I think they'd just throw it away. Leah