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Alternative Bokashi substrate...

 
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First ever post! Been lurking for a while but wanting to get a bit more involved.

I'm looking at making my own bokashi bins, and was thinking of initially buying some premade bran while I figured out how to make my own.

Thing is I don't have ready access to a supply of bran, unless I bought it. Though I do have a few possible alternatives at work that I could "borrow".

I was just wondering what everyone's opinions were of the alternatives- I'll put up brand names as well in case anyone fancied doing a bit of research!

BedMax Wood shavings (big wood shavings, about 1 square inch)
ComfyBed wood shavings (small shavings, stuff you'd put in a rabbit hutch)
Snowflake Softchip (very finely chipped wood chippings)
BedSoft (finely chopped wheat straw)
MegaZorb (tree pulp leftover from paper making)

As far as I'm aware none of these are treated.

Any opinions, or ideally facts, on which would be the best option would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,

Rhys.
 
pollinator
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I'm not positive that the wood products would work well, the straw would be my first vote from that list. I made a successful batch last year (still chipping away at it cause I made so much) and used a mix of wheat bran and coffee chaff. I got the coffee chaff for free because it's a waste product from roasters (it's basically the bits of bean skin and little chips of coffee beans that flake off during the roasting). If you have a coffee roaster local to you they can likely hook you up with as much of the chaff as you'd like to take. I think that if you mixed it with dried out coffee grounds that you could also get for free you would have a solid free substrate
 
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Hey Rhys!!
I had the same problem. I can sometimes get (wheat) bran but $$$$$$!
but I can get sawdust and shavings for free.
I followed a thread I found here on Permies https://permies.com/t/11246/bokashi

and ended up here http://carazy.net/diy-home-made-free-em-bokashi-mix/

The last time I made my own inoculant (I make a new batch when I run out of my sawdust type mess) I was able to get bran, so I used maybe 3kg (was max a gallon and a half) with two very large feed bags of sawdust/shavings (i get them from a sawmill, so it varies from literal dust to pretty shavings). It made me two small trash barrels, should last me a good 6 months at least.

I have done it entirely without any bran, and I've also used some bits of shredded paper mixed into the sawdust (following a blog entitled Newspaper Bokashi).
(in case it matters, I'm making my inoculant from rice wash water and then skim milk, with maybe half a cup of molasses thrown in. I keep meaning to try fresh sugarcane juice instead but the sugarcane juice guy around the corner doesn't seem to have a schedule conducive to my inoculant making...... maybe next time!)

Edited to add: if I were purchasing these products, i'd be concerned if any of the stuff would not encourage bacterial and fungal growth. that post-papermaking stuff sounds likely to have something in there, although I'm not familiar with it. I'd go with as close to the source as possible, like maybe the chopped straw? But woodshavings for me have been great.
Have fun! I remember when I first stumbled into Permies looking for info on bokashi and it seemed IMPOSSIBLY complicated. Making your own is not difficult by any means, but it's pretty awesome to not have to buy it.
 
Rhys Wendholt
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Hi both,

Thanks for the responses and your tips.

I was thinking that the chopped straw might be best as it's quite as dense.

Thank you for the links - I have already done a bit of looking into making my own EM (1st attempt went bad!) - I'll try again at some point, just don't use rice as often as I'd thought! Is there anything else than rice that could be used as well?
 
Tereza Okava
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My first attempts were failures as well. It didn't help that I had never actually seen or smelled the starter culture before, so they might actually have been viable....

I am more good at the mechanics of making it rather than the theory..... but I gather that we`re just making a lactobacillus culture, and that yogurt whey could be used?
This is where I got my info for the actual starting (not the bran/sawdust). Scroll down to where it says "Yogurt Whey as a Starter Culture" https://newspaperbokashi.wordpress.com/tag/diy-bokashi-starter-recipe/
 
Rhys Wendholt
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Hi Tereza,

Thanks again for the tips.

I did come across the newspaper method in my 'research' - but you're right, I don't actually know what it should smell like!

I mean, I've read what it should smell like, but without actually smelling the right stuff I don't want to be putting the wrong bacteria in!

Whey might be a good option for me actually- got a 22 month old who doesn't always eat all his up!
 
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