What! You’re still reading? Of course, don’t do it. That would be gross! Bokashi, the process where garbage is fermented, produces food for the soil, which in turn feeds plants. And don’t forget that you are keeping garbage out of the landfill. Things that can’t or shouldn’t be put in a regular compost will go in a bokashi bucket; meat, fish, salad dressing, creamy pasta, anything that contains fat.
Time to Clean off Garden
I only have a small garden (too much shade) and part of it is done for the season. (The green you see looking through the trellis are tomato and pepper plants that are still producing, I believe, due to use of bokashi). I ripped out the spent cantaloupe and squash vines and tossed them on a compost heap, double dug the raised bed, and planted some rye (wheat was my other choice) seed that I bought at the garden store. When I walked out to my garden this morning, the rye had sprouted and started to grow.
The rye will add organic matter to the soil, prevent winter erosion, and can easily be tilled under next spring before garden season. It was too late to start a “nurse” crop with a legume to lock nitrogen into the soil…my bad! Long story, short, I watered the rye after I planted it and doh… it hit me! I could have washed the rye seed before planting and used the starchy water to begin another batch of bokashi “serum”. I have tried rice with proofed baking yeast one time and barley another time. I think the rye would also work. Somebody else try it and let me know how it works. Anyway, I have enough “innoculated” bran flakes and newspapers to last me a while. Now that melon season is over, my wife and I do not produce much compostable garbage.
I have sister-in-law who, along with her friends, keeps a sourdough starter alive and bakes some delicious bread. I am not familiar with this process, except for knowing that she can bake a loaf of bread on short notice if she knows which friend has an active culture to start the process.
Bokashi “innoculant“, on the other hand, has a limited shelf life (about 30 days) and requires from three to five weeks of preparation from start to finish before you are ready to start fermenting garbage. So, from an ecological standpoint, there is a sustainability issue.
When making bokashi serum, you flood the starter with ten times the volume of milk and add molasses, preferably unsulphured blackstrap molasses, to end up with mostly lactobacillus bacteria. Don’t use white cane sugar. It is highly refined and does not contain organisms, unlike the molasses which is processed less.
So, I started looking for other sources of lactobacillus bacteria and saw that it is present in yogurt and some over-the-counter digestion aids. I noticed some capsules on the table at one of my daughter’s houses and read on the label that the main ingredient was lactobacillus. I made a tongue-in-cheek suggestion on another forum, that maybe I could add that instead of milk to my bokashi mixture, and the answer was yes, it might work.
I didn’t but afterwards I asked my daughter why she had the capsules. I assumed it was it was for her. She told me it was for my 8-year-old granddaughter, and then it hit me. She had a series of four stomach surgeries when she was a baby. She had infections, was on several antibiotics, became extremely weak and lethargic, and then it got worse. She got c. diff. The antibiotics kill off all the beneficial bacteria and what remains is the bad stuff with nothing to keep it in check. The doctors in the hospital finally got it under control and my granddaughter finally went home on a feeding machine in order to regain her strength for a fourth surgery. If you want to know the look of terror, look into a child’s eyes when they are unable to stop gagging and unable to breathe.
Well, I kind of got off track, but the point is that there are beneficial bacteria in your gut and you want to try to promote their growth for your good health. Prebiotics promote the growth of beneficial bacteria, while probiotics are the beneficial bacteria.
Somewhere in my reading I came across kambucha tea, a fermented tea, that is popular in China. It contains active lactobacillus culture. I found some at my local health food store in the refrigerator. This was the same store that I had been to before looking for the authentic EM starter.
Details will follow, but I have been drinking it and used part of a bottle to start a new batch, which I will bottle when it is done, plus use some for bokashi starter. I brewed the tea four days ago and left it upstairs in a warm, dark room to ferment. I have checked on it every day, but when I opened the door to the upstairs today, I knew from the smell that it is alive!