white mould on bokashi is a good thing
White mould on your bokashi compost is a good thing! Photo by Jane Peronne, Bokashi Composting, A Beginner’s Guide

Last week Astrid talked about bokashi composting, an “anaerobic process that relies on inoculated bran to ferment kitchen waste, including meat and dairy, into a safe soil builder and nutrient-rich tea for your plants.”

Bokashi composting became popular after being developed by Dr. Teuro Higa, a professor at University of Ryukyus, Okinawa, Japan who believes that what he calls “authentic technologies”, including EM, “have the power to overcome many problems associated with a competitive society and help make a society based on co-existence and co-prosperity come true.”

Bokashi composting is rooted in traditional agricultural practices in Asia. For centuries farmers collected and cultured naturally occurring soil microorganisms.

Astrid showed how to activate bokashi bran with effective microorganisms (EM). Christina Nikolic, owner of Gardener’s Pantry, says that “If I had to choose one product as being most important for the garden, effective microorganisms would be it. EM is a liquid mixture of important beneficial microorganisms that are known to work cooperatively to provide tremendous benefits for soil and plants.” 

EM sparked a lot of interest, especially when Astrid shared that she never sterilizes her seedling trays as she waters with EM diluted in water. She also uses EM in her kitty litter to stop smells and plans on using EM in her chicken coop. Many farmers are now using EM to increase the biodiversity of the microbes in their soil as well.

You can buy EM online from Gardener’s Pantry or Teraganix

And for the people who asked whether bokashi composting can be done in apartments, check out Robert Pavlis’ post on what he calls the Instant Soil Factory

Here’s an indoor method of using your bokashi to build soil. But DON’T add gravel to the bottom of the plant pot! More factsheets like this at EMRO Japan.

And if you’re super keen, an article by two Hawaiian horticulturists, “How to Cultivate Indigenous Organisms (PDF),” describes how to find and cultivate the types of microorganisms used in EM.