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Sergio Santoro
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Location: Nicoya, Costa Rica
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I just made a search for bokashi in this forum, but nothing came out. Is the search engine freaking out, or really no one has experimented with it?

 
Saybian Morgan
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Compared to the yield of a 1+ cubic meter compost heap the effort is as cosmetic as those machine's that cook your food scraps to ruble and call it compost.
I researched it heavily and when something wreaks of you have to buy these elements from us, I know there's a blindsiding downside to their belief in how to solve the worlds problems.
In the context of the apartment dweller who's trying to take the green steps but is locked in by prevailing social positions about sterility I think it's a great way to biodegrade organic matter. Yes anyone who's taking green steps is going to pay through the nose for something why not let it be the EM component of bokashi.

In my excited over everything that could condense effort and education into the new wave solution, yes I did wrack my brains against the wall trying to make bokashi work as a permaculture designer solution.
If it's limited in it's regional availability and it's cost truncate large proportions of the people I could help through consultancy, then it doesn't belong in my tool-belt.
The secrecy over being able to produce your own main ingredient or even being able to identify whats in it, was to contradictory to the scientific ethics of discovery.
So I went back to putting more hour's in on the road to becoming a compost master, that's the kind of tool that can allow you to create out of nothing, bring life to where is desolated.

I don't think many people on this forum get swept up in eco solution waves that bend the structure of sustainability. If something isn't at least scalable in it's appropriateness of application its to limited to invest time in.
 
Neal McSpadden
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I ended up being turned off to bokashi by 1) the amount of work involved in keeping everything in the right conditions and 2) having to buy super-secret stuff from some biotech company (both EMs and the reflective powder).

Like the previous comment says, it may be appropriate for apartment situations, but even then I think a worm bin would be easier.
 
Sergio Santoro
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Location: Nicoya, Costa Rica
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Good thing you mentioned the comment above yours. I was just about to flag it as spam. I'm sorry, but I tried to read it again, and it really sounds like those Ukranian spam messages translated with Google. No offense.

At any rate, no way I was gonna go with those ready packets of fancy powders.

I did my reading, too, not even that much of it, and I immediately found websites telling me how to harvest my EM. I have this thing from Indian agriculture (used in biodynamics, too, I believe) called pancagavya. It's nothing but a brew of cow dung and urine, milk, yogurt, clarified butter and sugar water. So plenty of lactobacillus and whatever is good for the soil.

I was going to use a small sample of that plus maybe a sprinkle of yeast as my inoculant, and then get a water tank I'm not using and fill it with saw dust and some water and EM, close it tight, and two weeks later use it as a mulch, because in the farm where I leave they have a North American sensibility and chop&drop type of mulch looks like a mess.

Anyway, I'm still gonna do it, just for fun, but I was sure that in a forum like this there would have been at least some talk about it, and someone had already come up with their home-made adaptations. Yeah, no way I would have bought the fancy bin and the fancy starter.
 
Graham Buckley
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You're right, Bokashi is nothing new. It's been around for years, although it is becoming more and more popular.

Bokashi Composting is more of a fermentation process than a normal rotting process, so what you're left with at the end may not be the best for a mulch. After a couple of weeks of fermenting, the matter usually needs another couple of weeks buried, or in a worm composter to break down fully.

As you say, there is no need to buy the ready made "Bokashi bran". You can make your own. I can't find the link now, but search for "newspaper bokashi" and you should find some interesting results. There are a few sites out there which offer step by step guides to making your own.
 
Sergio Santoro
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Location: Nicoya, Costa Rica
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Hmmm... I just need something fine and uniform as the top layer, so it looks pretty. The real mulch is underneath, I'm using shredded banana leaf, or any other broad leaf I find around. I heard that plain sawdust might lock in the nutrients, so I thought that if I processed it somehow, like with bokashi, while looking good and uniform, it will become fine soil in time. No?
 
Graham Buckley
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Ah sorry, I misunderstood what you meant. If you're just using sawdust in the bokashi bin, that should be fine.

I've never used it as a mulch myself, but I'd expect that it will work just fine. Nutrients will be locked in and it'll still be nice and uniform (even if its a little soggy!). It'll probably decompose quite quickly once you've applied it as a mulch though. Id be interested to know how it goes.
 
Sergio Santoro
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Location: Nicoya, Costa Rica
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Oh, soggy, inoculated sawdust sounds perfect to me! The rains are just about to be over in Costa Rica and we are going into 5 months of scorching sun, so the more moisture I can retain the better.
 
Graham Buckley
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Sounds good to me!

Let me know how it turns out
 
Steven Baxter
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I know if you make EM and spray that on compost it really helps develop lots of beneficial bacteria. is also a way to make EM with rice, a google search will lead you in the right way for the recipe.
I made bokashi 1 time using bran. Didn't really see any benefit to it, but I may have done it wrong.
 
                        
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I'd never heard of this so looked it up and here is the link for making your own ;
http://www.wildlifegardeners.org/forum/fertilizing-soil-amendments/1292-extreme-bokashi-make-your-own-innoculant.html
 
Saybian Morgan
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Hey I appreciate how this thread has turned out getting the link to that recipe makes me realize I have allot of fermenting projects when it comes to making innocent's that essentially are no different than the recipe for bokashi. I don't know where you found these beneficial links but I must have not tried enough keywords to get past the massive marketing in regards to the subject. I have 25 jar's of all sort's of lacto fermented foods in the fridge, from salsa to plums and where experimenting with pumpkin. Had I realized those effective microrganism had a real name and wasn't just a slogan I wouldn't have drank all the ferment juice from all those pickled product's, I could have thrown them on the foodscraps and shut them up in a bin. I'm glad to have changed my perspective, these green website's that market market market can so quickly leave a bad taste in your mouth that you can end up not wanting anything to do with the craze like I did.

Since my mind is reeling from the door being reopened, I guess I have a newbie question.
I've been picking up that there are different wait periods for different blends and there seems to be a theme of the final process being completed in the soil.
If I didn't want to overwinter bokashi because my ducks will dig it up, and I didn't want to risk upsetting plants while the growing season is on.
Does anyone have any behavioral analysis of if it's used in composting? It seems in my mind that the process would be highly accelerated but now I have to spend all night redo all my education on the subject because my previous context I was holding it in was distorted. I'm all as this would blend well with me trying to ramp up being able to feed my worms only compost. They work the material down much faster than food scraps especialy in the winter, I could seal bucket after bucket and store it outside and then make a cubic meter or two of hay mixed with it. I would assume id still want manure in the mix, but i don't know if it's necessary.

Ok that's too much speculation for me, I gotta slosh through the net to collect as much reference as I can before thinking on my own.
But like I said, thanks for persisting on the subject in-spite of confrontationalism. I've got lacto b coming out of my ears and fat coming off of my buttox since we now eat fermented food everyday.
 
David Miller
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Location: Harrisonburg, VA
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Maybe someone who's got mastery on the subject can give me a rundown on what this process is all about? I have no background or previous exposure to this process, seems that the interwebs on the issue are quite commercialized so I figured a definition from you folks would serve best. thanks
 
Graham Buckley
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There are some great questions coming up here, and I agree with you that most of the information on the internet about Bokashi is designed as a marketing pitch.

In fact, because of that, I've recently started writing for Bokashi Composting HQ. There is some advertising on there, but no direct product sales. The main agenda for the site is to promote Bokashi and to bring all of the best information into the same place, NOT to make sales of bran, buckets or any other equipment. There is only a bit of information on there at the moment, but I'm working at writing more.

McCoy - For a quick overview of the Bokashi process, have a read of this:What is Bokashi Composting?

Saybian - Once the fermentation stage of the process is complete (ie the organic matter has been in the Bokashi bin, with bran for a couple of weeks) you then have a few options with what you do next. You're right that the final process it usually completed in the soil (Have a read of this for more information: Bokashi Compost In The Garden). The process is quick. Often, the waste will be unrecognisable within a couple of weeks. However, there are other ways to use your Bokashi compost. I haven't finished writing the pages for these options yet, but you can add the Bokashi mix to a worm composting system or to a regular compost pile. Because you can add cooked food, meat and dairy to a Bokashi system, this is a great way of getting these types of scraps into a regular compost pile or worm bin.

I've got a bit of a list of other topics I hope to cover on the site, but if you have any specific areas you'd like to read about please let me know and I'll try to address them. I'll also keep checking back here to help answer any other questions you might have...

Also - please share these links with anyone else who might be interested. The more people using the Bokashi process, the better!
 
Saybian Morgan
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Graham just a quick question, I'll respond fully and with more questions after dinner and the new URBAN PERMACULTURE DVD that arrived today.

What is the deal with the bran? anytime i try to find alternative lacto b. or EM substrate information it just get's mangled through the net and turns into, "So add your em bran to your substrate"
I've done strange things in the past, brew urine and hay and rabbit poo and when i open the buckey in a week it smells like pickles.
I'm not getting why there is this limit with bran. I'm not going to buy bran nor could I produce with it in allot of places a permaculture consultant can hit the ground. I can get whey though, every barren landscape has a goat to milk.
I'm not saying I want to be able to use paper, or hay or shoes or anything. I just can't find an explanation for the brand that would give me enough data to find a parallel substrate for the Lacto B.

I would prefer to say do we have any bran I'm going to ferment up some EM, they say no and I say ok does anyone have an hair etc...I'm going to ferment up some Em.
Once I got the framework right I can supplement anything with anything. If I got woodchips for compost I plant tree's if I got grass for compost I plant herbs. Any method i would consider adopting must be dynamic, must be appropriated to all circumstances. I don't like guessing games, sure i'll be guessing an learning when it comes to finding alternatives to things, but I dont want to be getting if there is an alternative to things.

I had to spend 40 dollars on a half page article from a college magazine from the early 1900's because it was the only trace of how to make humic acid I could find on the internet. I dont mind buying it for convenience but if I dont know how to make it I shouldn't be using it, there's no sustainability in that. It's not self reliance if youve simply switched to relying on things labeled tools for self reliant. No i dont want to forge my own hammer, but if S#@T hit's the fan i'm melting something to something and getting back to hammering.

I think i'm starting to have a real problem with the word bokashi, the western culture's doing something really weird to it. I'm just going to stick to lacto fermented composting, cuzz that's what im doing and those words are appropriate to to my culture. It's like hearing someone define permaculture, it makes me want to barf now, and the more mainstream the definition the quicker i start dry heaving.
 
Saybian Morgan
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Oh also do you know of any sources or are you going to write any articles on lacto fermented waste as a compost innoculant.
My main goal is improving and rapidly converting transitional compost into a possibly salable quality compost. I don't want to bury material, work in small batches, or add to my worm bin as there already ripping through finished compost that will now turn into A1 worm castings.

Essentialy if while stockpiling waste to perform a 2+ cubic meter compost, I want to ferment it so in theory any manure+ carbon i mix up to make my compost get's an ilegal boost of quick to break down bokashi.
In theory I want to fill a 55 gallon drum, keep all the juice, then when it's time to build a pile wet the carbon with the juice, mix the bokashi compost with my manure's "rabbit and duck bedding" and then come back to a 65c roaring compost heap in 4 days, and begin my turning or possibly not turned compost heap. I'm after accelerated breakdown of carbon, I'm thinking with bokashi I wouldn't have to fight so hard for woodchips to go bacterial for gardening purposes. I want to work with the most difficult material to breakdown, I wanna get a better edge on the cedar's, pine's, hemlocks of the world that really delay the composting process. I've done pretty good so far, I've triple composted massive 7 cubic meter piles of woodchips in stages. But depending on where I have to stop in the breakdown some resulting compost can still take a year to go from blackened woodchips into true colloids.

I mean if I don't get an answer i'll find out for myself by doing it, but if theres experience I can leverage like don't use the juice etc I would really like more intense information. When it comes to permie toolkits I want to wield the master saber of composting as my main weapon in the fight. Guilds and everything else are great tools but the one who can create high quality soils with conviction can lay any obstacles in their way to the ground. I'm greedy for potting soil quality compost, it's probably why i feed my compost to my worms so it's as loaded as legally permissible.
 
                        
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not sure if this is bokashi, exactly, as it seems to be a process as much as a "recipe". However, there are several people making what they call biofertilizer including Milkwood at this link http://milkwood.net/2010/09/07/biofertilizer-recipe-1/ There are other links as well which can be tracked from there.

The thing that struck me was that they were talking about running the off gas through water so the gas could escape but air could not get in. Seems to me they should be capturing this gas.. If it is methane as it appears to be, then it's both useful and highly problematical to release into the atmosphere. They may be doing it this way because methane is explosively flammable when it contacts air if there is a spark or flame anywhere near, so this way it is likely a lot safer.

Nevertheless, given the sort of outfit Milkwood is, and the position they are in of teaching others, it seems to me they ought to consider running the gas through water and into an inner tube or some such, as did Jean Pain. Two products for the price of one. Nobody who is using this sort of technique of fermenting stuff for soil enrichment seems to be doing this.

The other thing I noticed was that in the comments there seems to be quite a lot of people having problems making this stuff work properly. as in it doesn't behave as it is supposed to in the fermenting stages. The way this guy http://www.rodaleinstitute.org/20040401/Hamilton does it makes a little more sense to me but the article is long on enthusiasm and a little sparse on details. So it seems he's not dealing with the gas issue either. I wonder why?
 
Graham Buckley
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Pam,

Interesting link - thanks for sharing it. I've not seen that approach before.

The method described at milkwood is not Bokashi. The Bokashi process releases no gas (so this is why people don't deal with the gas issue!). For me, this is part of its appeal, because it means that a system can be fully sealed - trapping in any odours (although there arn't any unpleasant odours with Bokashi) and keeping out pests.

I'd expect that the process described at milkwood releases mainly carbon dioxide. This looks very similar to the beer brewing method. The tube and water is there to allow carbon dioxide out, to release pressure, without letting air in. This provides a CO2 rich, and air free environment inside the composter, allowing the yeast to work effectively at fermenting the mix.

As for people having problems with Bokashi - I think the most common problem comes from people not using Bokashi Bran, or using a low quality home made bran. Whilst there is nothing wrong with making your own bran, and it can be highly effective, the key is to make sure that there is a high density of Effective Microorganisms (EM) present. It's the EM that does the hard work, and without them Bokashi composting will not work. A lot of people seem to forget that the EM are absolutely essential. For people starting out with Bokashi, I'd recommend buying your bran from a reputable seller. Then, once you've understood the process I recommend experimenting a bit, and perhaps making your own bran.

You can find full instructions of how to ferment food waste using Bokashi at Bokashi Composting HQ. Just don't forget your bran!
 
Mel Woods
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We have a Bokashi bucket.

We use it mainly to reduce the waste we could not give to the chickens. The bokashi bucket will digest meat and leftovers (like the curry from 3 days ago and the week old spaghetti bol). We feed our hens a completely vegetarian diet (and let them get their protein from natural free range foraging) so they can't have spicy or meaty leftovers.

I'm even able to compare composts because my parents own a Bokashi bucket too. They are vegetarian and my Mum's Bokashi bucket only requires a few tablespoons of bran to break down nicely into a pickled liquid. She goes through very little bran even though she uses her bucket regularly. With all of our meat left overs we need a bag of the stuff every few months. It takes more practice to get right than worm farm or chickens - but it has a purpose.

Why do we use a Bokashi bucket instead of a compost bin? Because a Bokashi bucket fits nicely under the ktchen sink and doesn't require extensive turning, heat control, labour or pest control. I also have a number of worm farms (with mice and spiders in them) a mulch pile (for large woody garden waste) and chickens - so between all of our waste reduction strategies I dont actually have that much waste left! My hubby and I fight over who will get the scraps - the bokashi bucket (his baby) or the chickens (my babies) lol.
 
Graham Buckley
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Saybian,

Sorry - Only have time for a quick response tonight...

You can inoculate a variety of different substrates with your EM. I've not experimented too much myself, but common choices for home made Bokashi are paper (often newspaper) or sawdust (just make sure that it is clean and untreated).

Bokashi is a great compost innoculant. I'm planning on writing a little bit on the subject, but probably not in the detail that you're looking for. My aim is to encourage people to get started with Bokashi really, rather than aim for the large scale composting you're talking about! For now, at least. You can definitely add your Bokashi pre-compost (or lacto fermented waste) to a regular composting system. It should roughly double the speed at which the matter composts. However, for the system you describe, I'd expect that if you used the Bokashi pre-compost in enough volume it could act as a great kick starter for the break down of carbon. With the approach you're talking about, the most important bit can just be getting it up to the right temperature so that the heat takes over and things really get moving. I've never tried anything on this scale though, so would love to hear about anything you discover.
 
Hanley Kale-Grinder
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I've used bokashi composting for many years and think its great. I also do hot composting and worm composting. The main advantage to bokashi in my eyes is the ability to compost any food waste including animal products. For instance, I once composted a load of uneaten chicken wings by first putting them through a bokashi bucket, then into a worm bin. It worked perfectly. Buried bokashi will grow a fantastic garden...I've done it several times to kick start patches of barren desert soil.

There is a lot of hype and marketing around bokashi....most of it is for people who are brand new to composting and diy. If you are going to buy EM, I would recommend the products from mighty microbes. EM can also be used as a cleaning solution in the house, as an additive to animal feed, in toxin remediation, and to de-oderize animal housing. I believe there are some credible studies about its cost effectiveness in producing eggs, dairy, and meat. My site Quick Compost has a full rundown of the process.

As for home recipes, a credible source told me to put aged horse manure and molasses in an air tight bucket and ferment it until it smells like earth. I have not tried this personally and always end up buying EM, which is really not too expensive.
 
Jonathan 'yukkuri' Kame
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What happens to bones in a bokashi culture?
 
Hanley Kale-Grinder
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What happens to bones in a bokashi culture?


They ferment. Once incorporated into hot compost, a worm bin, or buried, they break down into soil.
 
Diego Footer
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You can also check out my site for more information. BokashiComposting.com While I do sell bran and the products, I also try to post a much free information as I can. I am also trying to create a resource site to spread the word about bokashi and traditional composting. Cheers.
 
Saybian Morgan
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I'm almost at the end of my education on the subject and I will post the best links of what got me there. I finally found a few 40 minute videos that actually dig into the process instead of the usual 3 minute spiel for the general public.

I'm still gathering info but maybe someone here already know the answer to this cuzz I havn't found one yet. What is the reason there's a constant draining of the liquid? it doesn't make any sense to me. Lacto B can go aerobic or anaerobic, bokashi is claimed to be anaerobic but im suppose to remove liquid every other day which would introduce air into the spigot? that's not making any sense, and why would i put partially digested leach-ate on my plants?

I've done enough lacto fermenting to know causes for failure include not properly submersing all material, i thought the goal was to ferment the waste so when it's added to it's next composting state "pile, worms, or garden" it's breakdown becomes rapid in an aerobic environment.
Like I said I'm finally finding proper detailed instructions, but everyone just says "you must" and get a bucket with a spigot, but I'm not seeing the logic to justify the effort. The only reason I can think of is to keep the container from exploding. As my jar's will explode if I dont get them in the fridge in 3-5 days from the onset. But that can be resolved via a harsch crock style lid, I make kraut that sit's unrefrigerated for months via that lid design. The only time I want to play around with liquid is when im ready to harvest and things are well and truly broken down. I feel like im detecting nonsensical steps that are more for pretecting a wider audience from failure, people who want to do something good like manage their own waste, but don't want to turn doing so into a real craft.

Did I just answer my own question?
 
Diego Footer
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I don't ever drain mine. The liquid leaves the bucket when I dump it out. I agree with your reason and do not think that it is needed.

I have done some experimenting with completely closed systems with no room for drain out. I want to see more results before I would heavily recommend it, but so far I would say results are good.
 
Saybian Morgan
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How long do you leave it for, if it's in a truly sealed system it should explode eventually. it only takes 3 to 5 days to ferment submerged material, this whole 2-3 weeks of sitting doesn't make any sense unless you factor in people are being told to drain the bucket so it doesn't explode therefore making pseudo anerobic conditions that would take longer to get the job done. If I designed a lid like this, it could be kept for a long time with minimal management.

harsch_crock_detail-01.jpg
[Thumbnail for harsch_crock_detail-01.jpg]
harsch_croc
 
Diego Footer
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- I don't think that the container is 100% airtight. There is probably some slight air leak through the lid.
- I am not fermenting fully submerged material. I don't fill up the vessel with water to remove all void space. Although that might be worth playing around with.
- I do not believe that it would explode. At some point the fermentation would shut down or slow down. I have fermented scraps in sealed jars and the lids push out, but no explosion. The danger comes in when you have to open those jars.

From my experimentation with bokashi as long as it is mostly air tight you are fine. I don't believe that you need 100% perfect conditions to get a fermentation. I am just trying to speed up decomposition and a 95% fermentation is just as good as 100% in my books where the extra 5% costs you a lot more in effort.
 
Saybian Morgan
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Now where talking, I'm into speed and I understand why foolproofing bokashi reduces speed.
I didn't exactly mean explode like combustion, but it sure as hell fizze's up a storm, Lid opening day just because rubber apron day.
I've pickled mulch without knowing it in my early days, I thought I was soaking hay in urine and rabbit poop just to boost the quality of my mulch but I tipped a jug of worm lechate in it just for fun at the time. When i came back 3 days later to spill the goods on the yard the urine smell was gone and the hole thing wreaked of pickle action.

Going the submerge route is more about time than nessesity, If I can turn a delivery of food scraps into ferment in 3 days like mason canning would a batch of pickes, I can then add it to a 1+ cubic meter thermophilic compost heap that would finish allot sooner than a standard 18 day hot compost.
geoff lawton threw around the fact he can cheat and make compost in 11 days, but he didn't teach the method to the student's he stuck with the 18 day compost. He kept alluding to his inoculanttechniques but didn't elaborate what he uses to get the job done so quick.
I feel like i'm edging into that territory if I can get my ferment speed back up. It allows for results to come into play within a 2 week span which would be the average consultancy. Same thing if I was putting in a school garden or some other project where importing soil enhancements wouldn't be realistic.
I'm big on stockpiling and that's where my heads scratching when it comes to working with fully submerged material and fizz explosions. I either have to design a 1 way off gassing lid like the harsch crock or use the stuff allot sooner than I would want to.

I'm getting excited, i'm really started to get excited, I love the feeling of being on the verge of adding another tool to the permaculture belt, and although all the options are great. A tool/technique that can compress time is simply on another level than your average public tools or techniques.
Even in the middle of the desert I can get my hands on milk , sugar and a barrel, I don't think i could as easily get my hands on a bucket with a spigot.
I'm getting pumped about it's broad scale applications oh man if I could get 3 cubic meters going off of 10 bales of hay and 2 55 gallon drums of waste it would be ON! I don't have time to be burying things and waiting on a job site.
 
Diego Footer
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Agree with a lot of what you said and it is worth pursuing. Why don't you just play around like an airlock like you use for home brewing.
 
garrett lacey
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Interesting indeed. I have dumpstered yougourt and whey protein containers. Add kitchen scraps and see what happens i guess.
 
Saybian Morgan
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Air lock home brewing, hrm yet another subject to delve into i might not know anything about now but in 3 days I could be on the other side of the coin.
Yep gunna have to run some trials myself the data just isn't out there, this air lock might be the icing on the cake
 
Graham Buckley
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If it's pure Bokashi - it will not explode. This isn't fermentation in the same way that homebrew ferments. It's more of a pickling process. There shouldn't be any carbon released in gas form in a Bokashi system (unlike homebrew where the yeast produce CO2).

Have a look at the link posted above by Pam - they have a large scale BioFertilizer process there, using an airlock to allow gas to escape. That sort of system might be more helpful for you.
 
Saybian Morgan
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I checked out the airlocks and it looks like the perfect tool for the job.
I just don't see tipping off water constantly as a viable element in management, when I could submerge the mass in water add my whey,molasses and worm lechate and let it cook up and gas off. I don't mind draining the water when im ready to harvest and spraying the garden down with it, I'm just trying to ensure against being drowned by a mountain of fizz when opening a completly sealed system after 10 days. Whether your adding sugar to the mix or salt in the case of lacto ferment pickling vs beer making doesn't really seem to mean much since the theme ingredient is whey. What I don't have allot of details of is the resulting ph of the vegeteble matter, there seems to bit a bit unsaid in regards to that because people are using it in such small amounts. I think it was in regards to plant burn if the juice wasn't sufficiently diluted, but I was more concerned with potentialy over acidifying my worm bin. I might take a ph test off my pickled carrots and such to see if it's some amount reasonable I wouldn't worry about like ph 5.5-6.5 but if it's starts coming out like true vinegar i'm probably going to start chucking wood ash into it which may wreck the ferment if not done just prior to application.
 
Melissa Noo
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I also had a hard time finding info regarding the "bran" to use when making homemade bokashi bran. I dont want to use wheat bran because it is too pricey, in my mind, for a waste system, not to mention buying it in significant quantities would require a drive out of the city. I am hesitant to use paper, because I am skeptical about any paper product being all that safe, soy based ink or not. I read that you can use leaves, but I missed out on the fall leaves this year. I emailed the lady who I ordered my EM mother culture from, and she said that any material that has a high carbon content can be used.

I decided to make my first batch of bokashi bran with coco coir, which I have lying around for my worm bin. It will be ready in a couple of days. It is cheaper than wheat bran, and I can obtain it easily. It isnt really local, so maybe next year I will try the leaves, or chopped straw. As for the bucket itself I am using a couple of five gallon pails one inside the other, the inside one having a few holes at the bottom so that liquid can drain into the outer pail and be poured off when needed. If the liquid is excessive, I might invest in a spigot and attach it to the outer pail. I also invested in a easy open lid from Lee Valley that cost more than the rest of the set up, but I figure it is worth it since opening 5 gal pails isnt exactly easy.

If anyone sees any issues with my setup, please let me know!
 
Saybian Morgan
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I wanted to post a correspondence I've been having the past few days, I don't want to claim it to be advanced discussion but I'm more or less stretching the appropriateness of the biological technology. It literally takes off right where we left off on the issue of the air lock and how to bypass the using of bran all together. In my hunt to find advanced applications very few were outside japan and none of them went into detailed DIY talks in regards to multiple subjects. I really do beleive all these abbriviations and shorthand terms utterly mystify a very simple process. It becomes shrouded in misinformation like allot of the bio-dynamic literature, I don't want to find out the difference between an EM1 preparation and an EM2 prep is simply someone added molasses to a jug, that's just uncalled for confusion that makes you want to give up self reliance and buy from other people. This guy is really good he totaly took a 40 minute youtube video and broke things down well enough that I could see where the processe's could be modified or enhanced based on what's available to me.

Ryan from Prokashi.com
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sAl3HrEqHvk&feature=related
By my own education I can recommend his fluent understanding, I'm just digging into his research papers on hotels who use it and other studies.
Anyhow let me paste our talk that brought me up to speed and hopefully my frenetic newbie bantor will be of value to the group.

• I have a question that's really standing in the way of me going full tilt with bokashi fermentation on our homestead. I do alot of lacto fermenting in regards to foods, what I can't understand about the anaerobic fermentation conditions is why the spigot and the intensive drainage management. Is that more of a suggested technique that helps reduce mainstream user error, or is there some reason why it's being drained which will ultimately create airspace in a purposely sealed container?
saybianTV 4 days ago
• I would never drain the liquid in my mason jar during pickling, and it's instrumental to properly submerge all food stuffs. Now I know if I don't burb my jars a fizzy explosion awaits, but with a 55 gallon drum of soil food fermenting. Couldn't I simply install a homebrew airlock so all excess pressure goes out but never in? I'm struggling to convert what I know about lacto fermentation to bokashi when it seems there's a clash in the principals of physics behind what should be the same process
saybianTV 4 days ago
• The drain is suggested for the fact that most of our food wastes are in excess of 60% moisture and on occasion it pools in the bottom of the bucket - especially as we push down on the food surface to exclude the air. Improper drainage or moisture management is a source of bucket failure on the few occasions that one may fail. I get liquid only about 3 of 10 times due to the way I manage my bucket. I compost even chicken soup left overs and spaghetti sauce. As I state on several of my videos,
dkpd1581 4 days ago
• Bokashi is anaerobic in as much as we are excluding air from the waste SURFACE. There most certainly will be air in the bucket above the upper most level - this is of no consequence. I wouldn't worry with an airlock because bokashi compost is a
cold composting and gas generation is of no consequence. Do not confuse using an airlock withe keeping air out of the bucket - we are keeping air off of the surface
That is it's superiority, there is no loss of ammonia - it is consumed by lact bacillus,
dkpd1581 4 days ago
• There is no loss of nitrous oxide,CO2, or sulfur because it is consumed by phototropic and fermenting fungi. Your pre and post compost has a higher nutritional value than traditional methods and a much lower greenhouse coefficient. Nutrient cycling is accomplished by a wider spectrum of micro/macro flora in the soil than traditional methods.
dkpd1581 4 days ago
• In food fermentation for human consumption you are most concerned with arresting microbial activity and reducing microbial diversity. Bokashi is concerned with the exact opposite. We are not eliminating pathogens, we are keeping them at bay through out competition of beneficials and diversity. However, both use the lowering of PH, employing similar microbials, the secondary production of enzymes ,catalysts, proteins, and antibiotics, nutrient uptake, and increase the overall value of our end
dkpd1581 4 days ago
• Thanks for the great reply, I'm looking to integrate this method as one of my governing tools in composting. My worry with needing spigot's and seperation bucket's is implementing this method in 3rd world countries where rural farm scale bin's would have to be DIY. Just trying to better understand why it goes off if the juice builds up, my main fear in trying to teach this in low resource regions is not being able to get the bucket right. Id like to do this at the 55 drum scale and I'm worried.
saybianTV 3 days ago
• Bokashi can go wrong for several reasons. Some of the most common are: too much liquid collecting without draining, fermenting wastes in direct sunlight, to high or to low and ambient temperature, adding heavily spoiled or pathogenically dominated food wastes, poor quality Bokashi Bran, not reasonably excluding air from withing the layers or top surface of the waste. I have only had one bucket ever go bad from my father's fermenter- the ambient temperature was to high at over 100F
dkpd1581 3 days ago
• I'm worried it seems like the only way it can go wrong, is also linked to the major reason why it works. I thought if I could twist the technique more towards jar pickling I could work with any seal able container I can find worldwide and I only need the airlock to make it fool proof. But I guess I missed some fundamental principals to understanding why it Must be this way. I was trying to simplify the management by upping my labor, but I do like the cold composting aspects of bokashi.
saybianTV 3 days ago
• That advise is good and I have done it myself. Be careful with what saw dust you use because some woods are treated to reduce or arrest rotting. The chemicals used to accomplish this are very well able to kill the microbials in Bokashi Bran, Lacto, or any of the IMO preparations. There are strains of mushrooms in nature that can perform mycoremediation of these poisons and heavy metals; however, that complicates a simple solution of using non-chemical sawdust.
dkpd1581 3 days ago
• I've done some more research since posting an hour ago, people seem to be suggesting for containers with no tap to add a 2-3 inch layer of dry material like sawdust or paper to the bottom to absorb excess moisture. I thermophilicaly compost allot so I'm pretty in tune with moisture management and proper layering if that "truly" is all there need be to avoid having to drain material. For an experienced composter does this sound viable. I don't want to just be hearing what I want to hear.
saybianTV 3 days ago
• to water and fertilize the crops. Save the physical space in the barrel for compostable materials. Bokashi is an extension of Korean Natural Farming where we take a small amount of input, cultivate it, multiply it, and use it in the most frugal yet achieve our state objective. This objective can be to increase soil fertility through microbial diversity and population, increase biological matter in the soil, increase nutrient cycling, reduce pest and disease, or self source animal feed.
dkpd1581 3 days ago
• Lets round down and be real conservative and say that you have 10,000 lbs of Bokashi Bran and lets assume that 1.5 lbs is used to ferment 10 gallons of waste by volume. Your conversion is now 6,666 gallons volume or (133.33) 55 gallon drums of materials with which to bury to improve soil or silage with which to feed live stock such as pigs. Your resources are best used in the dry bran state. As to the valve issue, simply cut a hole and literally cork it shut, save the drained liquids
dkpd1581 3 days ago
• Submerging the food scraps is a waste of the EM. Lets assume that you use 10 gallons of EM1 mother culture in order to cover the materials in a 50 gallon drum. That same 10 gallons of EM1 along with 10 gallons molasses can be mixed with 1000 gallons of water to reach a standard/traditional 1:1:100 mixture. Assume 10lbs of carbon (wheat or rice or sawdust) per gallon to reach the correct moisture content. Your 1002 gallons of liquid now produce 10,020 lbs of Bokashi Bran.
dkpd1581 3 days ago
• I plan on bringing in large amounts of waste in batch volumes so it's why i gravitated so heavily towards simply submerging the waste in an EM solution but theres no point if its in contrast to the physics of the bokashi process. I would way rather devote 1/4-1/3rd of every container to a dry carbon layer and just not have to worry i'll ever hit a liquid buildup if it is truly viable. I want to know what you think in the case of my experience base rather than as a general method for the public.
saybianTV 3 days ago
• Just as a simple sneeze can infect a room of people with a cold or the flu, a misting sufficient to wet the surface of the material is enough. 1 maybe 2 spritz for an area equivalent to the 5 gallon bucket or 4-5 for an area equivalent to a 55 gallon barrel. The issue with the spray bottle is that the EM mix will activate given enough time and has a definite shelf life. The dry bran properly stored is viable for years, easily transportable, and requires less to distribute (no bottle)
dkpd1581 3 days ago
• Hey I just wanted to say thanks allot for your time and these "At length" videos, I get so exhausted with modern snippet education, it's no way to gain understanding.
Your video showing this different states of innoculant and storage really helped me wrap my brain around the life process. One thing I didn't see was, if I want to skip making the dried inoculate bran etc. How much Em/molasses/waster is an equivalent to a handfull of bran if I'm spritzing waste down as I layer it with carbon.
saybianTV 3 days ago
• Make sure to write back and let me know how it goes for you.
dkpd1581 3 days ago
• My problem is drying the wheat bran, I don't have the surface area. As for a gallon bucket of serum I can travel with that, the shelf life difference minor as the cost is so low I'll be using it all the time. I did some 1:1:1000 calculations and I can cover an acre with a 1000l tote brewed up. This is so ultra efficient It's practically at no cost so spritzing down layered sealed containers with the 20:1 mix will again last me a good deal of time.
saybianTV 3 days ago
• No worries there, the bacteria are small enough that a few hundred million can happily fly through the spray head and not even rub elbows
dkpd1581 3 days ago
• I probably prefer straw or wood chips, sawdust is hard to trace. This is really getting exciting, the benefit to me absorbing all liquids with carbon instead of draining is it would go directly down as lasagna sheet mulch or for an instant gardens. Top off with a layer of compost and spritz'd straw on top and she will breakdown in place in no time. I prefer liquid applications to mulch, rather than sprinking bran on the soil surface. Is there any bacteria damage if the sprayer head is to fine?
saybianTV 3 days ago
• It putrefies. The thing to do then is to go and bury it with a healthy dose of Lacto, or EM1, or Bokashi Bran. The Lacto is the main decomposer and is 50% +/- of EM1 or the bran. It will go in and break down the bad waste as will the rest of the micro biology in the soil.
dkpd1581 2 days ago
• When it goes bad from excess heat, is it a matter of putrifying? or is it some negative microbe going rampant? I do only aerobic hot composting 122f-150f and I presumed when exposed to air EM would function as a heat activator to help the pile cook up. But it sounds like in anaerobic conditions going over 100F seems to kill off beneficials, is it the same when there in an aerobic state?
saybianTV 3 days ago
• Thats a good place to start...if not just change the ratio.
dkpd1581 2 days ago
• Got it, that doesn't even sound like a problem to me if I hit that wall, I want to use the majority of the waste material for improving my inoculate high quality compost for potting soil. In my personal case my ducks literally ride my shovel if I do any digging, and subsequently dig anywhere I loosen the ground. But when I compost I can bring in 1000's of worms to feed them before I sift it for later use. When spraying bedding or manure in a bad situation can going 20:1 leverage the remediation?
saybianTV 2 days ago
• I'm thinking of modifying the recipe but I don't have the science yet to prove it's efficacy.
I once soaked some hay and manure under water that had about a gallon of worm juice added, in 3 days urine soaked hay was smelling sweet and pickled. I was messing around with the mulch at the time I didn't really think about the bacterial ferment aspect . If I used 1 part whey, 1.5 parts molasses and 1 part worm juice. I'm thinking I'll have all the bacterial microbes in combination i'll ever need?
saybianTV 2 days ago
 
Graham Buckley
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Melissa,

That all sounds great. I've don't know anyone who has used coco coir for their bran, so would love to know how you get on. The home made buckets sound brilliant too... Do you have any photos?

Best of luck with it - make sure you let us know how you get on

Graham.
 
garrett lacey
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Thanks Saybian!
 
Saybian Morgan
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Quick note on I think it's EM2, I think but i'll have to recheck, basically when you've stabilized your lacto B. + equal part's of molasses for the purposes of non refrigerated storage.
I had the cunning concept of mixing it with the appropriate ratio of urine for greenhouse plant inoculation x fertilization. I've had it up to "Here" with the concept urine must be used fresh, that has more to do with the conversion of nitrogen into it's available vs unavailable states when applying. Not because of some pathogen nonsence, or it gassing off all the goodes. Who would leave a jug of urine with the cap off, nobody wants a bathroom that smell's like a slum elevator.

Anyways I got a 18L sprayer so the right ratio is about 3/4 a cup if I'm going bullheaded and I want to use the 20:1 ratio instead of the 1000:1 ratio typicaly applied in the broadscale. I just wanted to see what happened if it was truly a waist of organism's or could I cheat time by overloading the situation with bacteria. I figured the excess would die off and the ecosystem within the plant pots would stabilize to each conditions finite limit. Now I want to feed the plants at the same time so I'm going with a 9:1 ratio of urine mixed with water.
I got greedy and with all I've learned about applying Lacto.B to livestock feed, bedding and manure when it came to digestion and the amelioration of off gassing. I decided to put the Em1 or EM2 "pending fact finding" in the jug I was collecting urine in for future application.

It's been 8 hours of collection and I can't find a single hint of urine, which would imply the volatile nature of urine has been leveled. I'll run a trial of some more longterm storage of larger scale urine collection when I have more contributors to the jug's. But at the moment these are some really sparkling results, if urine can be stabilized in liquid form so the nitrogen remains in an available state. Hence bypassing the downside of applying stored urine which conventionaly has to then be reconverted into an available form by soil bacteria over a longer period of time.

I'll have enough by wee wee by morning to do my first application, I'll even try foliar feeding a few plant's I can risk going funky if the urine which shouldn't be applied to leaves retains it's damaging characteristics.

I've already inoculated the two duck ponds with about 2 litres each which should balance out as the ponds are around 500 gallons or 2000 litres. I'll be measuring how long it takes a pond that's totally green with duck poo and feathers to fall back into balance in the middle of sub zero temperatures which I figured would render the bacteria inactive.

Anyone else have any experiential results from non conventional uses for Lacto B.
Oh I'm also going to be adding 2 litre's of worm lecheate to the urine/lacto mix when I mix up this brew in the sprayer. Short of making up worm tea, I don't think theres a better way to get your hands on every beneficial microorganisms you can get with so few steps.
 
Melissa Noo
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Just an update. The home-made coir bran seems to have worked.

My first few buckets were really stinky (REALLY REALLY stinky), but now I am being more serious about packing things down to get the oxygen out as much as possible and not being so skimpy with adding bokashi bran. As a result, my last few buckets smelled very pickle-y and nice.

 
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