Feed Your Dirt

Rye Beer?

I was surprised to learn that there is actually beer brewed with rye!  But my purpose was to ferment a rye wash with milk added to make a bokashi serum.  What started this idea was after I purchased rye seed to sow in my raised garden beds.  I sewed one of the beds with rye and it came up in a few days (see pictures in previous post).  Then it hit me!  I could have washed the rye before sewing it and make some bokashi serum.  So, when I cleared my second garden bed, I did just that.  Unfortunately, none of the rye germinated.  It apparently needs the starch on the outside of the seed.  I replanted after a week or so went by and it has finally started to grow in the garden.

The water from the barley?  I let it sit lightly covered for 5 days and then flooded it with milk.  This mixture is supposed to sit for two weeks and then be ready for inoculating bran flakes (or something else) to use in ones bokashi bucket to ferment their garbage.

Big Problem

The mixture made it for eleven days and then a spot of white mold began to form.  It took a couple of hours for the stink to get out of the house after I took it outside.  You farmers know what it smells like when grain contains too much moisture, plus you get docked on the price you get at the grain elevator!


I had some bags of leaves, with a little grass mixed in, cut and bagged by my lawnmower.

bags of leaf mold

I unrolled the tops of the two bags on the left, pulled aside the pulverized leaves, put the curds off of the top of the rye/milk wash in the bags, and recovered with leaves.  Then I mixed a handful of worm castings and a couple of ounces of blackstrap molasses with the liquid from the rye/milk wash, added water and poured it in each bag, then resealed the bags.  So, in reality, I am substituting the pulverized leaf/grass mixture for the bran flakes.

I got this idea from Jenny’s Bokashi Blog, http://bokashiworld.wordpress.com.  Here’s a small excerpt:

Next autumn I have a secret guerilla campaign planned. Instead of being depressed by how many villa owners put out sack after sack of autumn leaves outside their gate to be collected I’d like to go round and collect a few myself. They’d make a great start to the winter soil factory — ready filled with leaves, it’s just to add Bokashi and wait.

Because waiting is something a gardener can’t avoid in the winter. And in spring we have so much else to do it’s nice to get a hand from a few billion busy microbes just longing to get working.

Since I had a problem with mold, I will probably use kombucha tea to start my bokashi inoculants, at least until it warms up again.  That is what I used to inoculate the leaf/grass mix in the other three bags.  Well, actually, I used some finished fermented garbage from one of my bokashi  buckets, also, plus I have a whole straw bale to do something with, but I will leave these stories for future posts.


About reluctantretiree

recent last-minute retiree, husband, father, grandfather, student, technology nerd, fabricator, builder, etc., trying to figure out what to do with the rest of my life.
This entry was posted in bokashi, bokashi composting, compost, composting, kombucha, retirement, vermiposting, worm castings and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Feed Your Dirt

  1. JennyH says:

    Let us know how you get on! Your bags seem like a really nice way of making life a little easier…


    • I will have to wait until spring to see what I have. The bags contain mostly leaves along with grass cuttings. I added finished bokashi, along with a shovel of dirt and a gallon of water. Although not nearly as cold as Sweden, it has mostly been below freezing here in Central Illinois since. I am still trying to form an opinion on making biogas from garbage.


  2. an earthian says:

    So very interesting. I was reading all the posts above too. I bought my micro organisms at a flower show recently and added them to the composting pot I have on my terrace. Some day I would like to brew my own though the way you have done. I am constantly adding things like terrace dirt and dried cow dung to my pile assuming I am inoculating my pile this way. I was surprised one day to find earthworms had made it up to the fifth floor in some dirt I had carted up. I have dug them in, and am praying for their health, and hoping for some good bacteria to come via their castings. Your photos look brilliant, I am am still struggling to add photos to my blog as I am a newbie on wordpress (at the moment they look tiny and over-crunched). Ended up liking my own post too by mistake, thanks so much for stopping by. If this retirment, I hope to retire soon too….


    • Sounds like you know quite a bit about soil makeup. I think I am making mostly lactobacillus bacteria by fermenting milk or tea. I, then anaerobically ferment my garbage, including fats, meat, and dairy products. I highly encourage you to try it. A container with an airtight lid (bucket, bowl) is all you really need to obtain. I was interested to hear about the fermented breakfast food. That is mostly unknown in the US. The photos are from my cell phone, uploaded to Flickr, then resized for WordPress. Thanks for the comment!


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