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Beginning bokashi  RSS feed

 
Thekla McDaniels
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Location: Grand Valley of Colorado's Western Slope
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Hi Folks,

We don't have a thread on Bokashi methods and experience yet-- or at least that I can find.

I just learned of Bokashi today from following the idea of EM posted on the thread about fly problem with dairy goats, and I need as much information as possible.

I've read everything I can find in these wonderful forums, and what I can find on line, and I have plenty of questions. The discussion on the deep litter thread made mention of Bokashi, but not much more.

So can all or some of you experienced and successful Bokashi practitioners lay it out for me?

It looks like a container is not that difficult to build, but then:

Why do you have to keep adding inoculant? Can't some of the material be used to keep the culture going?

Could a person not add a fermentation lock to the top bucket to allow the escape of gas and not let air in to ruin the anaerobic conditions?

Maybe I misunderstood her, but I thought Dr Ingham spokes of anaerobic conditions as always being extremely toxic, so I'm reluctant to go further with the process without some assurance from someone not selling anything.

It seems like if this is what I think it is, it would be a wonderful tool.

We are having a very wet summer here, and I am having to keep the goats in the same enclosure much more often and for longer than I like. Outside the shelter the organic material- bedding, wasted feed, feces and urine are getting compressed, and there is no way to prevent that. It surely is anaerobic (sometimes I can smell it), and I would love to introduce some helping microbiota. If they could prevent the foul anaerobic conditions, that would be wonderful. If the flies and other insects did not breed in the material that would be better still.

Thanks so much

Thekla
 
Thekla McDaniels
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Posts: 1832
Location: Grand Valley of Colorado's Western Slope
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Got another question. I was following links and found a site that inoculates then ferments newspaper, then dries it to use for layering into the fermentation bucket. That site talks about getting lactobacilli from air or yogurt whey. Some other sites talk about a total of three micro organisms. Possibly, lots of people are calling more than one thing bokashi. Anyway, I've fermented vegetables with whey, packing it down and covering it with a plate. It seems almost the same process, so here is my question:

I make several pounds of cheese per week, and with that several gallons of whey. Could I not pack the organic materials into the bucket, fill with whey, cover it and let it pickle for a couple of days, then drain off the whey and what ever came with it? Let the bucket continue with the resident lactobacilli for the recommended two weeks?

What about just pouring the whey directly out onto the areas I think are anaerobic, the compressed straw and such as described above?

Thanks

Thekla
 
Thekla McDaniels
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Posts: 1832
Location: Grand Valley of Colorado's Western Slope
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And I was just reading at "the unconventional farmer" that lactobacilli are the work horses of the brew, and that if you collect beneficial microorganisms from various locations and ecosystems, you still should add an equal volume of lactobacilli "serum" which I wonder if is the same as raw organic whey.

I thought lactobacilli digested lactose, but they talk about multiplying the lactobacilli and or the local indigenous microorganisms by culturing with sugar or molasses, or other simple sugars. Does that mean lactobacilli work on more than just lactose?

They talk about adding the bokashi starter in ponds, too. Same question: can I put the whey in the irrigation water, in the swales and infiltration basins?
 
Judi Anne
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Lactobacillus as a name has to do with the fact that they all in that group of bacteria produce lactic acid as the fermentation by product. Some of the bacterial in that group do have an affinity for destabilizing lactose, but not all.
 
Judi Anne
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Whey (from fermented items not acid consulates product) certainly is a lactobacillus rich additive and I use it on my deep mulching system on the garden areas that have dry mulch. Tomatoes and raspberries seem to love it in particular.

I prefer not to add it to the barn mix just because it is a dairy product and could lend to disease processes within the dairy cycle. Then too.... I'm aiming to keep things dry and bedding aerated in the barns so inoculation and composting all happens in the deep mulching system.

I do use it to ferment-sprout any grains we feed the chickens beyond what they forage. I haven't noticed that it helps an manure rich, anaerobic stink pot areas.


Hope you keep digging up info. I find it interesting.
 
Judi Anne
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By the way.... I think the molasses and grains is the primary bacteria "food" in bokashi recipes though I've seen a rice-molasses- milk mix too.

I am extrapolating that using molasses (or whole or skimmed milk which still has the lactose) directly on the soil as an amendment in getting poor soil enlivened is doing roughly the same thing but with less effort and less steps, but using more of those resources than fermenting it before spreading.

On another tangent....
Can you use chickens in with your goats to help with the insect larval stages? I have to help them get started fluffing really heavy wet areas, but then they get right to it.
 
Judi Anne
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Correction in first post... not acid COAGULATED.
 
Thekla McDaniels
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Oh, right! Lactic acid, the product of anaerobic respiration! Now calling it the "work horse" makes more sense.

Hi Judi! Thanks for your ideas.

Good one, to distinguish whey from cultured dairy products as opposed to acid or heat coagulated. There would not be the millions of lactobacilli in those, and no telling what they might harbor with so many microbial foods in them.

About the molasses, are you saying it works as well diluted and poured on the ground as if one incubated an oxygenated compost brew with molasses as the feed? You could create a bloom in the soil with all that food, then a lot of it would die off, leaving the little dead bodies enclosed in nitrogen rich cell membranes. I guess to avoid osmotic shock, it would be important not to put too strong a concentration of molasses. Have you tried it yet, or are you still scheming?

So, do you think one could also use kombucha to inoculate the soil and or the Bokashi ferment?

If anyone is interested the post at http://www.permies.com/t/48180/goats/remedies-mosquitos-biting-flies-dairy#386303 mentions EM1 as a spray to decrease fly larvae, and suggests it might work to keep the flies off the goats and the walls of the milk room, and the EM1 is what I searched and stumbled upon bokashi.

The more different sites I visit and read content, the more I think Bokashi is a general term for the anaerobic fermentation composting process, as opposed to a specific set of organisms used in the process.

I wonder has anyone experimented with any of the available products, or with the process of capturing their own indigenous species.

Thekla

 
Judi Anne
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I did not run lab tests or anything, keep that in mind. This is observation only....

but I did use dry molasses(feed mill type) broadcast lightly and rained in on very poor soil to create a bacterial bloom to help jump start the "sheet composting- deep mulch" when I moved in here.

I did test plots of only molasses, molasses and whey from cultured cheese, leaf litter and whey, and EM liquid (I forget what brand I got-if there is more than one- but it was a new item at that point).
The plot that seemed to do the best was the molasses and whey plot.

I have continued over the years to dispose of whey from cultured cheeses by pouring on my garden on dry mulched areas. I've observed tomatoes and raspberries seem to get the most benefit.

I've never repeated the molasses or the EM on the garden area

I did try EM in a dry lot area that was mucky and smelly and seemed to be breeding flies a few years ago, but didn't notice any benefit. I have heard from others it worked. Not sure what happened in my trial. These days I try to prevent those areas from forming at all and use chickens to fluff in the fixed livestock areas if I want to leave litter or bedding in place for a few more days or weeks before cleaning it out.


I put kombucha scoby into the deep mulch. Doesn't seem to hurt anything. if you try it in bokashi please report back!


I'm very interested in the idea of using bokashi, compost tea, or other bacteria rich preparations for mosquito control!hope to see more of that being discussed.
 
Juan Sebastian Estrada
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Location: Medellin, Colombia
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Thekla McDaniels wrote:Hi Folks,

Why do you have to keep adding inoculant? Can't some of the material be used to keep the culture going?

Maybe I misunderstood her, but I thought Dr Ingham spokes of anaerobic conditions as always being extremely toxic, so I'm reluctant to go further with the process without some assurance from someone not selling anything.

Thekla


I think adding inoculant with every batch of waste helps to increase the carbon/nitrogen ratio and control smells. It also helps a rapid colonization of the substrate by the lactic bacteria.

I've also had concerns about fermentation based on Dr. Ingham's statement. However I believe what she is referring to is anaerobic conditions that lead to decomposition where a lot of toxic substances are produced, e.g. hydrogen sulfide (H2S). There is a site called the unconventional farmer which advocates fermentation as a great technique for making plant based fertilizers, isolating plants hormones and other stuff. One of the warnings that they make is that the fermentation process should never produce foul smells, only picklish or vinegary smells. I also think that lactic acid bacteria are facultative, meaning that they can operate under aerobic or anaerobic conditions, so when you put the bokashi back into an oxygen rich environment it can quickly go back to aerobic conditions. For what it's worth, I recently buried my first batch of bokashi and within a couple of weeks there were some very happy worms eating it, no foul smells and it seemed to be finishing the decomposition nicely and aerobically. I would love to hear the results on your experiments with whey, just try to do any experiments away from delicate or sensitive spots in the garden and you should be fine.
 
Juan Sebastian Estrada
Posts: 95
Location: Medellin, Colombia
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bike forest garden trees
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In sepp holzer's Permaculture he also describes how he makes liquid fertilizer by leaving weeds to ferment for a day to a few days in water and he doesn't cite any negative consequences from using it. He just warns that there should be enough oxygen around so the thing doesn't turn to the nasty side and he does this by stirring it regularly with a stick.

So I don't think fermentation per se is bad and generating lots of nasty stuff, you just have to be careful not to let the bad bacteria dominate.
 
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