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making EM, PH problem  RSS feed

 
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Hey all!

I've been trying to make some EM several times now and it doesn't seems to be working for me.
I made the LAB and it looks fine (separated curds and whey) although I tested the PH and it shows 5.5 and I think it spouse to be around 4
The main problem is that I try to mix the whey with brown sugar and water and the PH is rather high(6.1). The last time I've made it the PH dropped to 5.1 or so but not lower.
This time it might work- I used unchlorinated water and used an air lock. I'll be able to tell in a few weeks or so but I'm not sure it will..
Any advise?

Thanks!
 
gardener
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are you dissolving the brown sugar into the water first? that is one of the keys to getting things to work well. (this is why most folks use molasses for the sugar addition, it is already liquid and dilutes readily)
The pH should not be worried about as long as it is in the 5.5 to 4.2 range all should go fine.
The no chlorine water is a must and the air lock prevents accidental contamination by air borne yeast.

A lot of the pH is dependent on what you use as your acidic addition when making the LAB. Vinegars are usually around 5% acetic acid other acids that work are lemon and lime juices.

Redhawk
 
pjeter schornstein
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Hey Redhawk, thanks for the quick reply.

Yes I did dissolve it first. I have used rice water as my inoculate. I've also added a bit of sea salt. Most recipes I have seen call for lower then 4 PH
Are you sure lower then 5.5 should work as well?
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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You are attempting to grow bacteria that will live, eventually, in your soil.
Soil that has an acidity of 4.0 and lower will only grow mosses in nature, if you want to grow great moss, then that is your pH goal.

EM seems to work really well in a range of 3.5 all the way up to 5.5, as the pH rises, some activity goes down but not enough to worry about.

Most garden plants (vegetables for example) love a pH of 6.5 to 6.8, this also happens to be the range where the most minerals can be utilized by plants.
Since the purpose of EM is to help plants grow, I don't see where making the pH so low that you have to make a basic addition to not upset the pH balance of the soil you add the EM too.
Creating a rollercoaster ride is great in amusement parks but not in our soil, that disrupts the microbiome.

Redhawk
 
pjeter schornstein
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Thanks again for all the info!

I would like to use the EM for plants soil but I also want to use it for terra preta sanitation and composting as well as for house cleaning and mybe for skin care since I read that it can be good.
I suppose it's the same EM?
How long do you usually let it ferment before use?
 
pollinator
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EM stands for?
 
Bryant RedHawk
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The best way to inoculate terra preta is with nearly finished hot method compost, mix the two together well and set as if you were going to compost that heap.
The next step is to brew a compost tea either in an aeration tank or vortex tank and pour that over the "terra preta" compost heap.
Wait three days then you can spread the terra preta and cover with the removed topsoil and start your planting.

When I make a batch of EM I ferment it for about 7 days (I watch the bubbles, when they slow down it is ready), then pour that over a newly set up compost heap.
This will build up EM bacteria inside the heap and it should be ready for the garden in about two months, this type of composting you do have to watch and check once a week to make sure there is air getting into the interior of the heap.

Over the years I have used EM less and less, mostly because there are better methods for getting the 50:50 bacteria to fungi ratio I am looking for in my soil.

In raised garden beds or even separated row fields, you might find that EM is better in on situation than an other because of the crops being grown and/or the specific microbiome of that soil.

I used to have a large patch where I grew mosses for use with Bonsai trees, it was under a pine tree planted area and highly acidic (pH=3.4), it grew great moss very fast because it was watered weekly with EM solution both summer and winter, the only "water" it got was when it rained.

When you are trying to build terra preta, there are some short cuts but you also need to keep in mind how it was originally created, trash heap burns, with both trash and garbage creating the next "heap" on top of the last one.
When the ash got high enough it was spread out so they could start the pile up and burn routine again.
The horizon evidence bears this methodology out, with the terra preta spreading from a thicker layered "core" out and away and it thins out the further you get from that central core area.

Redhawk
 
Bryant RedHawk
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wayne fajkus wrote:EM stands for?


Effective microorganisms, it is a fermentation system of growing specific strains of bacteria which you then inoculate soil for planting in.
I believe it was first used for the rice paddies in Japan and migrated to their vegetable fields later.

EMRO This is one of the premier companies for EM, their web site is rather a treasure trove of accurate information.

here is a profound quote that explains the role(s) of EM

Lactic acid bacteria, yeast and phototrophic bacteria contained in EM・1 have the ability to ferment organic substances. Compost fermented and decomposed by EM is broken down in the soil and absorbed by plants. Also, EM contains many useful components to promote plant growth. In aqueous environments, EM decomposes sludge by fermentation and makes it easy for other microorganisms and protozoans to eat the breakdown products. Moreover, in addition to microorganisms, EM contains metabolites produced by various microorganisms and these will activate the microorganisms which already exist in the soil and help to diversify the microbiome. Microorganisms form the base of the ecological pyramid, so when microorganisms in soil are diverse, the ecosystem in the soil will be enriched in various ways, such as an increase in the number of earthworms. A healthy and diverse ecosystem will help to form rich soil.



Redhawk
 
pjeter schornstein
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I'll try that but for now I'm still in a city apartment trying to learn some skills for my next steps
Thought for now I see if I can mix it with biochar I make and add it to a sealed bucket try to anaerobically compost scraps from the kitchen. also would try using it on urine 1:10 see how it goes.

Problem is it doesn't show bubbles on the airlock (also last time) might be because I made such a tiny batch in a bucket that the air doesn't need to escape. It does have a few bubbles on the top when I open it...
 
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EM (effective microbes) is a proprietary microbiological consortium. It includes a blend of laboratory cultures of lactic acid bacteria, yeast and purple non sulphuric bacteria. It cannot be made, it was created in the 80s or so by Okinawan microbiologist Dr. Teruo Higa. It refers to a product you buy on a shelf, and it is licensed to be sold in this country by a company called TerraGanix. LABs is made from collecting airborne microbes using rice wash water, then adding 10 parts milk to it. According to the creator of LABs, Korean NAtural Farming, you do not measure pH. Measuring ph is nomenclature original to EM, and people often get confused between LABs and EM and use the terms interchangeably. If you search for my name in the Soil forums, I have provided explicit details on the differences of the 2.

https://permies.com/t/65452/Effective-Microorganisms-purchased-home

https://permies.com/t/65436/stories-microbes
 
pollinator
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Another awesome thread! That means that EM should be good on blueberries?
And Bryant when can we read all that in your book published?
 
jars lyfe
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LABs, or its laboratory-manufactured counterpart patented EM, breaks down organic matter and assists in unlocking nutrients in the soil matrix. It is used as a foliar spray as preventative measures against airborne pathogens, ie powdery mildew. LABs can be used to get rid of any odors; wet dog, smelly animal pens, cat pee. It can be poured down the toilet for the health of a septic system. It can be sprayed in a compost pile to help speed up the breakdown process. LABs is a marvelous technology that is the gateway to the world of biofertilizers
 
pollinator
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This is fascinating because it explains a lot of my farms soil fertility. For years we have spread liquid dairy cow manure which really is EM according to this thread. I say that because 97% of the mixture is water, with 3% being dairy cow manure and waste milk. All that goes into a huge lagoon where the solids settle out to the bottom so that the water over the top seals in the nitrogen. Upon spreading, the solids are mixed up with the water in a huge blender (literally) then pumped into trucks and sprayed on fields.

I am confirming in my soil the fertility that everyone speaks of, not just in growth of my crops, but also earth worm populations, organic matter levels (5.5%) and fertility for my soil.

It is great to know that this can be scaled up...and that it works, and works well.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Might I suggest that you have a pathogen test done on that liquid manure Travis.
In many of the recent (over the past year) episodes of lettuce containing pathogenic organisms (most recently it was romaine lettuce) the farms were using that same sort of manure on their fields.
It is possible that the non rotted, non fermented manure could be part of the problem.

Previous episodes of spinach and other greens were traced to the use of non composted, rotted or fermented pig manure.

It is never a bad idea to be cautious when using manures that were not composted, rotted or fermented.

Redhawk

Note: the book is on hold for the moment due to some health issues that decided to raise their head.
 
Travis Johnson
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It could be bad...

I know around here some farms...but very few...would take raw humane manure from the city water treatment plants and spread it on their fields to get the grass to grow, But few did that.

But here our PH is really low so we need lime, yet our own agricultural lime quarry is located in New Brunswic Canada making it VERY expensive per ton. So we use wood ash which is used in the paper making and biomass electricity process and acts as a lime. That is free stuff so every farmer wanted that.

So the powers that be decided in order to get rid of what few farmers wanted to take, they mixed it in with what they did, so mow humane manure and wood ash is mixed together and given to farmers for free. Grudgingly, but not really having a choice, farmers took it, and now they are finding out it is problematic. Imagine that!!


I never have, so my manure never had any cross contamination with human feces.
 
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Hi,
totally new to EM but are blown away by it. Ohhh my veg garden, orchard, community garden and ornamental gardens  are going to be wonderful. *doing a happy dance *

Questions
1) does the EM need or should it be aerated?
2) Would adding some mushroom slurry, before spraying, be advantageous?
3) for a new inoculation of all of the above areas what would a good time span be? weekly, fortnightly, monthly ??

Thanking you all in advance
Susan
 
Susan Hutson
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Bryant said

Over the years I have used EM less and less, mostly because there are better methods for getting the 50:50 bacteria to fungi ratio I am looking for in my soil. 


Bryant can you please expand upon this  for me

Thanking you in anticipation
Susan
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Hau Susan,  to understand why I said there are better methods, first you have to look at what "EM" actually is.
It is a group of bacteria, amoeba, flagellates and some others that are fed from a fermented food source that is lactobacillus based.

This material must be aerated in order for it to work properly, ferments are great for mineral additions, not so great for organism inclusion.

I can actually create a far better microbiome to add to my soil by building a good compost heap and then using that to create aerated teas to water the area with a microbe rich liquid.

I am always making a new compost heap on Buzzard's Roost, it has become a weekly event now that summer weather is here.       
So for me to go to the trouble to make a ferment just to be able to add to my soil microbiome, means a time expenditure I do not want to spend.
I can get a complete organism tea going and two days later I can spread it on the areas that need more microbes and fungi.
If I  just need more fungi, then I can whiz up a good mushroom slurry, spread it where it needs to go and I'm done.

Redhawk
 
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