The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Bokashi experiment, phase 3


We're moving along to phase three of our bokashi experiment, with the Lactobacillus bokashi in the waiting phase, sealed away in its full bucket. This time around, we're using store-bought bokashi starter, and I have to admit that I have seen a different within the first two days of the experiment.

What differences could I notice so quickly? I applied a light sprinkling of starter on top of the sawdust in the bokashi bucket and then again on top of the food scraps two days ago, and when I opened the bucket for my next deposit I could see white fungi beginning to grow on many food surfaces. In addition, while the Lactobacillus bokashi bucket smelled like composting food scraps each time I opened it (no surprise there), the store-bought starter did live up to the marketing and seemed to have no odor at all from a couple of feet away. (I should note that the gamma-seal lid means that neither bucket smells when closed, though, so don't worry about foul odors in your kitchen.)

* Of course, I'm well aware that this "experiment" is far from scientific. With a sample size of one for each of the three treatments, with slightly different food scraps in each bucket, and with a different time of year (especially temperature) for each treatment, all I can do is get ideas for further research.

Food scraps in the soil

In the meantime, it was the one-month-after-application mark for my control food scraps, which had spent a month in an unsealed bucket with no microbial starter, then were buried in a shallow trench in a very poor-soil area. According to the bokashi literature, food scraps should have become compost by this point if treated with bokashi starter during the bucket stage. Un-bokashi food scraps, though, look very much like rotten food after one month in the soil, with a few worms starting to move in but with the outlines of the scraps well recognizable. The only really surprising part about this phase of the experiment is that Lucy didn't dig up the trench to eat the scraps --- I guess I chose a spot far enough out of her usual stomping grounds.

Stay tuned for more updates as our Lactobacillus and store-bought bokashi buckets hit the soil!

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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