Well, I finally got my rear in gear again with my bokashi experiment. I was hoping to get back to it sooner, but it was a little challenging to find time over the holidays. Anyway, I’m really glad I got it taken care of this weekend since I still have to wait an additional 2-4 weeks before I can start using my bokashi mix.
Truth be told, I wasn’t really looking forward to making my own mix. I thought it was going to end up being a huge hassle, and I wondered why on earth I hadn’t simply ordered ready-made bokashi. Now that it is all taken care of however, I’m very I glad I did! It was a lot of fun, and much easier than I expected.
I still need to track down a good source for large quantities of wheat bran. I got mine from the ‘Bulk Barn’ (I love that place!), which was certainly a better choice than the supermarket (which only sold small bags of it), but still a bit of a pain when looking for really large quantities (a.k.a a big ol’ sack of wheat bran). That being said, the amount I bought (approx. 2.5 lbs) ended up being the perfect amount to hone my bokashi-making skills with, and should provide me with enough mix to keeping going for a little while (once it is ready to use). I’m sure I’ll be able to track down someone who sells the stuff in much larger quantities, and if not I’ll simply head back to the Bulk Barn and buy a bunch of bags.
Being very unsure of how to make bokashi (the novice that I am), I made sure to refer to a couple of reliable sources, numerous times, before getting started.
The EM Bokashi page on the City Farmer website has an excellent set of instructions, and I also referred to Neal ‘The PodChef’ Foley’s instructional video. In the end I decided to follow Neal’s recommendations, since it involved adding proportionally more water/microbes/molasses. I figured adding more water would make it easier to mix everything up and ensure that the all the bran is thoroughly moistened.
The ratio Foley uses is 1:1:100 – microbes:molasses:water. In my case (using Foley’s water:bran ratio), I determined that I needed to add approx 750 ml of water, so I also added 7.5 ml each of microbes and molasses.
I started by boiling the water to ensure that it was sterile and because I wanted it warm anyway. Once it had cooled down to about 100 F or so I added the molasses and microbes and mixed it up very well.
The mixing part was a lot more fun that I had expected! I had envisioned some sort of sloppy gunk that would get all over me and be very hard to get off (kinda like making hamburgers using ground beef/bread crumbs/egg), but the material was very easy to work with, and even smelled nice – it felt like I was getting ready to bake some bran muffins!
Once the mix was evenly moistened I filled a couple large ziplock freezer bags with it, squeezed out as much air as I could, then sealed them up. I made sure to write the date on them and then sealed them inside a bucket (more as a safe storage spot than anything).
Now I simply wait. Neal Foley suggests 2 weeks as the time needed (although he does mention something along the lines of “the longer the better”), while the City Farmer page says 1 month. Given the small quantity I’m making, I think 2 to 3 weeks should be sufficient. If any of you bokashi ninjas out there have some thoughts to share, please do so. I’m still learning!
In the meantime, I’m going to track down a larger supply of wheat bran and make another batch!
Stay tuned – much more bokashi news on the way!
[tags]bokashi, em, effective microorganisms, friendly microorganisms, compost, composting[/tags]