You can make your own; or buy and extend a starter culture.
I've used an extended starter culture for years and continue to have good success with it. I use it extensively in the house and garden/compost/mulch.
I've made a rice wash/milk method as well. I use it extensively in the garden/compost/mulch.
Purchased starters will usually have a 'known' biota. Collected starters will not. Some people think one is better than the other. Usually EM will have a set of defined organisms. Homemade EM could possibly have a more diverse and local population of unknown organisms. It depends on what your needs/uses are going to be, and I would wager, it also depends on your personal view of microorganisms, disease risk/causation, and health. I use my extended EM around my house to pour down slow drains, give to my dogs, I drink it, and there are many more uses. I, personally, wouldn't do this with my past collected cultures, based on smell and not being positive of what they contain.
if you buy the 20$ bottle and make your own activated EM. you can make enough to apply on acres or hundreds of yards of compost.
making your own "EM1" is a little more complicated, making your own beneficial microbes for soil and gardening is easy. it really depends on your intended use and goals.
The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings. - Masanobu Fukuoka
Location: cool climate, Blue Mountains, Australia
posted 4 years ago
Thanks. It seems that it is better to start with a purchased batch. The thing is our garden is on fill and since four years I am working to build the soil. EM started with native forest would certainly not work for me because we are in Australia and the forest is bush and the plant population very different from our edible plants. Maybe I even try both.
This guy describes a way I've done in the past and it 'catches' organisms out of the air. Make a rice wash, let sit, pour into milk, let sit, separate. Kind of a lengthy video, but he gets there, I promise.
I would encourage you to try it. It only takes a bit of time and a few supplies.
I'm sure you can find some healthy woody type places with good soil and natural mulch on top for making BIM.
Second source you need is compost for another batch of BIM.
Now you only need LB-serum and then you can make your own very efficient EM mixing both BIM's and LB together.
Videos from Bryan are good, a bit long, so you can read short versions from one of his teacher here: http://gilcarandang.com/recipes/ LB (lactobacilli) is first, BIM is the third one.
They weren't very bright, but they were very, very big. Ad contrast: