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failed bokashi bin of nastiness - using it on the garden?  RSS feed

 
S Carreg
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Location: De Cymru (West Wales, UK)
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We tried to do bokashi bins, and failed. We started about 2 years ago, filled up two small bins, we followed all the instructions of how much bran to add and all that but it just turned into a slimy, putrid, stinky mess. When we moved house the movers packed them by accident, and I haven't had time to deal with it so they've been sitting outside all winter, likely frozen in a solid block. I have no idea what's going on in there now, but I don't really have the motivation to get the system working now - we wanted to do it when we lived in the city and had no space, now we have space for traditional compost it's not a big issue for us. However I want to know if I can use the slime now? I have a lot of veg beds to prepare, poor soil, and limited resources to get us started. Can I just dig the slime in and leave the soil to rest a few weeks and then plant as normal?
 
Mark Livett
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I had some EM which must have just been sawdust. The bins went off. I was just going to bury the mess but I put it into a compost tumbler. Took half the compost out, tipped the mess in and covered it up again. It smelt bad for two days, really bad but as it was a tumbler the lid was well sealed and nothing could get into it (for some reason dogs and rodents find the smell irresistible). After that the smell went and I haven't seen anything of the bokashi. I have a lot of worms in my tumbler so they must have gotten to work pretty quickly.

I have changed brands three times now, finally found something that works and you can really tell the difference, I was about to get rid of the whole bokashi concept as I was sick of the smell and maggots. Now I just use it for chicken carcasses, fish, onions and citrus, things the worms don't like that much, they take longer to fill the bin and the EM gets more time to work on the scraps. The liquid which drains off is also better smelling.

Good luck with it
 
Ollie Puddlemaker
Posts: 148
Location: Houston, Tesas
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I really think, it's better/best to make your own EM. Yes, there is a little 'learning curve', but after you've been through the process a time or two, you know what to do/expect. The cost is so much cheaper, you have more control of the process and quality and you can better understand how/why Bokashi works. I'm thinking somewhere in both of the previous stated earlier attempts something/somewhere was out of balance and you got the results that you did, but you didn't know it was off/happening until the end. As, Mark, has discovered when it works, it works very well. It's a great tool to have, don't give up on it so easily...
 
S Carreg
Posts: 260
Location: De Cymru (West Wales, UK)
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Thanks both. As I said, our primary reason for wanting to use it was a space-efficient system, a concern which no longer applies. We have other ways of dealing with waste so to be honest I'm not interested in yet another learning curve at this time - got enough on my plate! I just need to know if I can make any use of the slime I currently have. Who knows, I may revisit the system at some point in the future, but not the near future.
 
Diego Footer
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Location: San Diego, CA
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S Carreg wrote: I just need to know if I can make any use of the slime I currently have.


Yes, you can you it no problem. Just bury in in a trench and cover it with 6" of soil.

If you still have some bokashi bran left then you can add it to the "slime" before you cover it with soil, but you dont' have to. The soil biota will take care of it no problem. I just wouldn't plant directly into it for at least 4 weeks.

Or just add it to your regular aerobic compost pile and it will quickly get assimilated in. It may stink at first, but the smell won't last long.
 
Diego Footer
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Location: San Diego, CA
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Ollie Puddlemaker wrote:

I really think, it's better/best to make your own EM. Yes, there is a little 'learning curve', but after you've been through the process a time or two, you know what to do/expect. The cost is so much cheaper, you have more control of the process and quality and you can better understand how/why Bokashi works. I'm thinking somewhere in both of the previous stated earlier attempts something/somewhere was out of balance and you got the results that you did, but you didn't know it was off/happening until the end. As, Mark, has discovered when it works, it works very well. It's a great tool to have, don't give up on it so easily...


Well said, completely agree. Making the bran is very easy.
 
Mark Livett
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Making the bran looks to be a messy job, anything involving molasses usually is.

I just wanted to make sure it worked before I committed too much into the process. I figure if it doesn't work with the professional set up then it is only going to go downhill if you let amateurs tinker with it.

Once I allocate an area to work in then I will probably look at making some but as I will be buying the bran in anyway I am not sure how much of a saving it is going to be by the time you add the wastage and amount of time it takes to get it up and running.

One thing I was desperate for was a way to test if the EM was anything more than a bag of sawdust. For all I know the storage conditions before I got the EM were so bad it could have killed them all off. I was looking for a simple way of seeing if anything was active, hopefully with things I have at home rather than bringing it into the path lab and trying to grow it in a petri dish.
 
Leila Rich
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Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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S Carreg wrote: I want to know if I can use the slime now? I have a lot of veg beds to prepare, poor soil, and limited resources to get us started. Can I just dig the slime in and leave the soil to rest a few weeks and then plant as normal?

That's what I'd do I wouldn't dig it too deep as I'd want the aerobic bacteria near the surface to get onto that anaerobic slime asap!
I might also add something to kick things off, like used coffee grounds/comfrey, as well as some carbon to balance things a bit.
I would put a very thick layer of mulch on top; I imagine it will smell pretty bad and I'd want to keep it safely buried.
On that note, if you have anything that might want to dig it up, a couple of layers of some kind of 'chicken wire' type stuff on top of the mulch will stop most critters.
 
S Carreg
Posts: 260
Location: De Cymru (West Wales, UK)
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Thanks Leila. It's going to be at least a few weeks before it's really warm enough to plant much out, so I will dig that slime in asap to get it going. I have a load of half rotted hay I can use as a mulch. And good call on the coffee grounds, got plenty of those too!
 
Mateo Chester
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Location: Zone 4b
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*Edit* I put this in this thread, as well as another, in the event that it helps someone in both:

After working in boots all day, I must admit, I develop a rather delicious form of "funk-foot"... Lovely, I know, but it's the truth.. I discovered this method after soaking my feet in neem cake, powdered, and diluted in water. After a couple soakings, and some supplemental aeration, we had lift off! Logically, I then bought neem tooth paste, and what my old man used to call "Alpo breath", was a thing of the past!
Anyways, though graphic, I felt it necessary to preface this with my deep seeded (pun probably intended) appreciation and use of- the neem tree.

I wanted to genuinely say hello to you all, as this is my very first posting on any forum anywhere, and I am just familiarizing myself with this whole internet forum thing.. I have been bokashi'ing all food scraps for about a year, and feeding the fermented material directly to my worms... I consider myself to be generally new to the whole permaculture paradigm, and absolutely LOVE it. I have learned of this method due to personal bucket failure, or what I like to call a "funky-bucket". If you do bokashi, you know what I am talking about

...This might be for people who already have this material laying around, or who can source it cheaply and locally.... neem cake. If you have funky (smelling) bokashi buckets, you may use neem cake... aka neem seed meal.. Powder it using a coffee grinder if you want to increase surface area. You can use this as a preventative measure, or if you have the beginning of a "funky" bucket, or even one that has been "funki-fying" for some time now, you can apply about a 1/2 inch layer of neem cake to the bottom of the bucket or bin that catches the "bokashi juice", or bokashi liquid. And then leave it... Don't dump it out or anything. You can leave the neem cake in there for the entire cycle of the bucket to completely control smell and to absorb moisture. I can safely say this puts adding sugar to the bottom of your bucket to control smell, "out of the water". It might cost more, but the versatility of neem cake in your garden is astounding, even in very minute amounts... Hopefully this helps someone avoid getting to the point where "slime" is even a factor.... namaste
 
Mike Dillon
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Mark Livett wrote:Making the bran looks to be a messy job, anything involving molasses usually is.


The proportions I've used for making a 10 pound batch is 4 tbsp innoculant (EM or other serum), 4 tbsp molasses, 10 cups water, 10 pounds wheat bran. It's not particularly messy when it's that dilute.
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://richsoil.com/email
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