Hi Soil Lovers!
My name is Morgan Coffinger, Founder of Bokashi Evolution (www.bokashievolution.com) based out of Tempe, AZ. For those of you that love Bokashi, EM, food waste fermentation, beneficial fungi and micro-organisms or want to learn more, I would love to connect/answer questions/brainstorm regarding soil remediation for our AZ soil on a large scale with compost.
If you or someone you know is interested in local, handmade with Love, Bokashi, or Kitchen Compost Kits I am happy to assist. I will be doing classes on Bokashi Composting, Soil Health, and Bioremediation options here in the Valley in the near future, as well as hold a booth at a farmers market (most likely Downtown PHX). In the meantime, I am back in Tempe and VERY excited to be a part of this incredible grassroots movement for a healthier planet through local food production and responsible waste management. Thank you VPA for your amazing classes and a big thank you to YOU!
Great to see the new product ! (And love the purple/wind shutters on the home :)
Jeff, you'd be amazed at how easy it is to make your own Bokashi. I've been doing it for years, using Effective Microorganisms I've purchased (currently I use http://www.Teraganix.com), unsulphured molasses, unchlorinated water, and a 25# bag of wheat bran I've bought for less than $10 at The Stock Shop. After I make my starter EM culture with the liquid ingredients I've mentioned, I mix it in with the wheat bran and more water. The whole thing takes me about a half an hour. I keep the result in very tightly closed double-layers of garbage bags, let it ferment a week or so until the PH is down around 4, and then dry it between two old screen doors laid on top of a chicken tractor.
The coolest thing about this is that you can now create a fantastic soil builder out of all that waste you can't compost - dairy, baked goods, meat...anything, really, so long as it's not bones or lots of oil. Here's a really informative website I just found; check it out if you want to see how to compost food waste with Bokashi: http://www.zingbokashi.co.nz/using-bokashi.htm. As far as the bucket you keep it in, any bucket with a tight-fitting lid will do. You want to keep air out of the bucket. Some people have found plenty of 5-gallon buckets for free out there, or they're not much to buy at Home Depot or whatever. You can get buckets and lids that can hermetically seal the buckets if you wish. The lids on my food waste fermenters aren't like that; they just seal tightly.
I also have a friend who took two 5-gallon buckets and made his own food waste bucket. He drilled holes in the bottom of one and put it inside the other, leaving room at the bottom for any liquid (great for plants) that may drip down. He installed a spigot down there also, so he can easily drain the liquid out.
However you choose to do so, Bokashi composting (and EMs in general) is a great thing you can do for your soil, and it doesn't have to be expensive. There's a wealth of information online about it - I see some folks are even creating their own Effective Microorganisms! I'm too chicken to do that, but the EMs I buy go a long way, because you use less than a cup to create a gallon of EM solution. You can use it as is, or make Bokashi.
Happy soil building!
I'm happy to hear you are well versed in EM Technology! I studied in Maui where EM Technology and Natural Farming Techniques were very popular, and was a little surprised more hadn't heard of Bokashi in AZ. Keep spreading the word! :) I would recommend using a food grade bucket so chemicals don't leach into your compost. If you do become interested in making your own inoculate, I am happy to offer help regarding Indigenous Micro-Organism (IMO) technology.
Jeff-thanks for your email! Bokashi is not a new product, its been around for a LONG time throughout Asian Farming. I'm just happy to be sharing the knowledge and encourage more people to ferment their food waste :) I look forward to speaking with you soon.
Jane and Morgan, I've been trying to follow all the info and discussions on bokashi and I think it was Morgan who answered one via FB a while back, but here is my latest question.
Re: using it to digest meat and food scraps
Are there any plants you should not/ would not use the resulting bokashi to fertilize? Like root crops? I am thinking of bacteria content.
Thanks for the info, I want to learn more about it.
I have never come across any information stating such or have ever experienced an issue, however, I will do some research and get back to you.
The bacteria in EM (Effective Micro-organisms) the microbial inoculate in Bokashi, is made of phototrophic bacteria, lactic acid, and yeast. These work together with your native soil bacteria to drive out pathogens and protect root zones. If you would like more scientific review I am happy to provide them, but at this time I'm heading out the door lol. Thanks for your question! There is extensive research out there regarding EM and all its beneficial qualities..most recently nanotechnology and solar energy research as phototrophic bacteria actually harvests light! It's quite an exciting time as science is providing more and more interesting aspects of Nature's complexities and incredible gifts :)
Thank you Morgan. I need to do more research on this to understand better. I've read what seems like conflicting information, so I need to get things straight in my mind. I don't want to confuse this discussion with unclear questions from me, so I'm going to go do some research and come back and ask you and Jane for your thoughts - thanks again!
Hello, Herb Lady.
As you do your research, pay close attention to the experience of the writer and methodology. A lot of people post "conclusions" based on one experience, but our gardens are far too complex for one experiment to draw conclusions, especially without a proper control. In fact, I have had many different experiences with my Bokashi buckets, and most failures were my own fault (I like to push the boundaries and see what I can get away with).
If too much meat is used in a Bokashi system, it can certainly go wrong. Animal products typically also require additional inoculation and sugars (molasses, sugar, or table scraps) to keep the microorganisms happy.
The bottom line is that many of us have successfully fermented animal products, table scraps, and yard waste to produce excellent soil food. Any plant on this planet appreciates improved soil, and Bokashi is one of many excellent ways to achieve this.
Ricardo, thank you for your thoughts, I appreciate that.
Ricardo and Catherine, thanks for pitching in on this. I think Ricardo's last sentence, above says it all.
Notwithstanding that, if someone can come close to a true scientific experiment on growing plants with and without using it, it'd be great to see it. As Ricardo indicates, there's always going to be something just a little different between the specimen being grown in Bokashi-supplemented soil and the control, but I think an acceptable home garden experiment could be tried. I keep meaning to do that...if I actually ever do, I'll let you all know! One thing I can say is that my strawberries love being planted over fermented Bokashi/food waste.
Nice Ricardo! I agree. We need to cultivate a relationship with what our own soil needs within our own garden space. I appreciate your input :)
When I was living on Maui, we (I lived with 2 other farmers who were massive microbial/permaculture geeks) used EM-1 extended to clean our bathrooms, counters, and the like. I wasn't a fan of the smell so I added some drops of essential oils. We used it to clean our jacuzzi, added EM-1 extended to our ponds that grew water hyacinth and was home to our fish (we harvested for our large scale outdoor compost rings as a source of nitrogen). There are lots of water cleaning properties as the bacteria is able to consume toxins, however, research produced in the U.S. is ongoing. Other countries such as Costa Rica, (actually CA comes to mind right now) Malaysia, Japan, Saudi Arabia, New Zealand, and Australia have all used (there are more I'm sure but these came to mind) that have used Bokashi Mud Balls to clean rivers, lakes, even oceans. This is something I am working on with some microbiologists and scientists as a course of action here in AZ. Dr. Higa's work has even lead him into the cancer research field.
Personally, I drank small amounts of my EM-1 extended as a probiotic 2x/wk.
I've seen incredible results using EM-1 extended as a foliar spray early in the morning on struggling plants or beginning plants. Some research has shown soaking seeds can increase yields as well, although I have not yet tried my own experiment.
I always found our drains to be clean and clear, and our composting toilet on the Eco-Village was odor free! After going, we would toss in a handful of Bokashi and it broke down so rapidly that we rarely had to empty it out!
I sprayed the chicken coops as odor and pathogen-control, even used a small amount in their water to extend the life of the water/very mild probiotic to the chickens. They were gorgeous! Very shiny feathers and produced well. There were pig farmers up the hill from our up-country farmers market in Kula and the smell was awful on Sundays. So we told the farmer to use EM-1 extended to reduce the odors (same method we used for the chickens) and the market was odor free there on out! His neighbors even asked if he was still in business lol.
I think I have covered all of my personal experiences. If I think of more I will let you know :)
Have you ever used your fermented food scraps in your outdoor compost to accelerate breakdown? I call it the compost bomb!
Thank you for your questions.