The first step is to obtain some starter culture. This is available as 'mother culture', EM1 from several locations but the most accessable way to obtain your starter culture is to buy Maze liquid bokashi from Bunnings or Maze dry bokashi culture. You can make either of these forms yourself after you make your first batch. It is a bit like yoghurt or sourdough in that you keep your culture going.
Bokashi: This is a great way to use your kitchen scraps. Just cut them up small so as to increase the surface area for the bugs to colonise rapidly and place them in an airtight container with some spray or dry bokashi culture. It is amazing that these scraps will not smell bad even after a week or even two. Every time that you add more scraps just give them a spray or sprinkle. When your container is full seal it up and leave it for a week or two in a shady place. You can dig this 'pickle' into a garden bed that you want to plant out soon, spread out on the surface for a few days and then lightly incorporate into the soil near plants. add to composts or worm-farms etc. You can also use your little bokashi 'pickle' to make a lot of Ekihi.
Ekihi: This is a liquid form of bokashi that is easy to make and easy to use. It also has the advantage of having a good shelf-life if stored in a shady, cool place.
The ingredients for a 200lt drum are:
- 130lt of chemical-free water. If you can't get rain-water, fill your drum with tap-water and leave open for a few days.
- 130lt of fresh cut grasses and herbs. I used the mower and catcher and cut a vatiety of grasses, herbs, weeds, legumes etc. The best time is early morning and make your brew as soon as you have cut the green material. If you can't get straight onto it just spread the cut material out in the shade so that it won't start breaking down before you add the bokashi microbes.
- 6.5lt of seawater
- 6.5lt (miimum) bokashi pickle. You can also use a few litres of e previous batch of ekihi or some 'mother culture mixed with rainwater.
- 3lt food-grade molasses. The lower the sulphur content the better. Organic is best.
- 500gm fine powdered basalt (optional) you can also add small amounts of trace elements in oxide form if you have deficiencies in things like Boron or Cobalt but the sea-water and basalt will have most trace elements. The microbial action in the fermentation process will chelate the minerals.
Mix the molasses with water prior to adding it. It should look like stout and, if you like guinniss, may make you a bit thirsty
Add the ingredients in layers
Keep going until the drum is full.
If you haven't got an airtight lid for your container, you can cover the top with a sheet of plastic and place a weight on it.
Your ekihi will be ready to bottle in about ten days. You can dilute it at 100:1 or more and usit as a foliar spray or soil drench. Once you have a good supply you can use it for your starter culture, treat smelly septics, spray around stables or chicken coops, spray manure piles, teanage boy's sports shoes and anything else that gets smelly
The latest blueprint from the Wentworth Group is a must read item. We really need to be pushing our MPs and political parties and lobby groups for a subsidy of some sort on soil Carbon sequestration as a matter of urgency. As well as making agriculture profitable and sustainable, if we pay farmers to stay home and 'grow' Carbon it will free up all of the jobs in the towns that they are doing now, create jobs in support industries, save transport fuel because people won't have to drive to work from their farms.
Good subsidies for Carbon farming would be the single biggest rural employment scheme in Australia's history.
Jack and I had a lot of fun and reached over a hundred people with our workshop series on Bokashi and Ekihi. Nambucca gets the gold star with about fifty people at the Community Gardens in Bowraville. Jack's handouts, Bokashi Ekihi Jack's method, and Rhodopseudomonas palustrus, will be on the files page.
ROLLANDS PLAINS HALL
SATURDAY 8 NOVEMBER
9:30 - 2:30
Dr Bernard Doube was a Principal Research Scientist with CSIRO for 29 years and has had extensive research experience with dung beetles in South Africa and Australia. Bernard is also an international expert on earthworms and the biological basis of soil health and co‐edited the books “Soil Biota: Management in Sustainable Farming Systems” and “Biological Indicators of Soil Health”.
Bernard is now Principal of Dung Beetle Solutions Australia, which collaborates with water authorities, federal agencies, universities and other organisations to research the influence of dung beetles on water quality, grazing systems and carbon sequestration in southern Australia.
Find out about the Rollands Plains Landcare Group’s Dung Beetle project and bring your beetles along for identification. Bernard will discuss the ways dung beetles improve pasture production, how to minimise threats to dung beetles and what new species are available for our area.
Copies of Bernard Doube and Tim Marshall’s new book Dung Down Under will be available $33.