July 7, 2011

Homemade Bokashi Brew explained.

I didn't expect my post about Homemade Bokashi to receive so much interest. Comments/questions made by Abang Mat, Lee and my Aunt Tina got me thinking about the whole workings of the process. I got the recipe for the concoction over the internet but said instruction did not explain the reason behind the process. So I decided to look under the hood. If I am going to be a successful modern farmer, then I would have to understand the process and the scientific aspects of farming. Therefore today, I put away my pitch fork, my straw hat and dived in to my research.  

One particular farmer/scientist who hails from the Philippines has been particularly helpful. In fact, I think the recipe came from him but others (and soon myself) started spreading the love around but always gave credit to him. His name is Gil Carandang. 

Why Rice Wash (Rice Water)

Apparently rice wash i.e. the water that you used to wash your rice, is a perfect media to cultivate microbes. Don't ask me why it is perfect, I haven't found out yet. Hey, cut me some slack, I'm a farmer; not a scientist. 

The instruction said to take 1 part rice and 2 parts water. Put rice into a container  and pour water into the same and shake well (yes close the lid genius). Still don't understand? Ok, let's say you use a cup to take 1 cup of rice, use the same cup to take 2 cups of water. Kapish!? Oh yah! Make sure you don't use water with chlorine in it. Use rain water. Otherwise, your microbes would just go kapoot! That's what chlorine is intended for you know; To keep our tap water clean.

Find a cool place with no direct sunlight and place the container there. Close the lid to the container but don't tighten the lid cover. In other words, just let the lid cover sit on the container. This way, air is still able to flow into the container. One more thing, make sure that you don't fill the container to the brim. There must be airspace inside the container, about 50 to 75% of the container. Let the rice water sit or ferment for 5 to 7 days. 

Why the Emphasis on Air?

Without air, you won't get any microbes into your rice wash. There are millions of microbes/bacteria flowing  in the air. Ah!! So the rice wash is also meant as microbes catcher. After 5 to 7 days, your rice wash will be infested with microorganisms, both the good ones and the bad ones. We only want the bacteria genus that is called Lactobacillus (Lacto Bacilli). 

Lactobacillus falls under a group of bacteria that is called Lactic Acid Bacteria (LAB). They are under this group because most of the bacteria in this group convert sugar to lactic acid. Which means, wherever this group of bacteria is present, the environment(soil) that they are in would be acidic. Hence, inhibiting the growth of harmful bacteria. Still with me? Don't you dare move your cursor to the address bar. I spent time preparing this for you. 

Bacteria drink Milk also you know

So how do we get rid of the other unwanted bacteria and just keep the pure Lactobacillus? Have milk, will travel; That's the motto of good ol' Lacto. LAB love milk.

After the 5th or 7th day, the rice wash would become cloudy even frothy at the surface and it will smell sour. Trust me, it will! I smelled it and phewey! Strain the water, we only need the liquid. Mix 1 part of this liquid with 10 parts Milk. For my experiment, I used 1 litre of Milk and mixed with 100ml of rice wash (1000ml : 100ml). Again, let this mixture ferment for 5 to 7 days.

Milk will eventually get saturated, thus eliminating the other microbes leaving only pure Lactobacillus. Gil said that carbohydrate, protein and fat will float to the surface and there'll be a yellow liquid. Collect the yellow liquid. Farmers have a fancy term for this liquid, they call it The Serum.

Abang Mat has suggested that I add Yakult for the fermentation of the rice wash and milk. For some reason, non of the stores in my town carries Yakult, only found Vitagen. I guess it's the same. It contains Lactobacillus Acidophilus.

Source : http://www.healthyjunkie.com/view/14646/Acidophilus
L. Acidophilus (acid loving milk bacteria) is a beneficial microbe that exists naturally in our mouth, gastrointestinal tract and vagina (well, I don't have a vagina). However, the taking of antibiotic or the application of certain cream on the vagina would decimate their population. In which case, you are to head to your nearest store and gulp a bottle of Yakult or Vitagen to repopulate these microbes in your system.

Is it good to have these things swimming in your vagina? Apparently so, their presence keep yeast infection of the vagina at bay. Hmmm... come to think of it, I think ancient culture had known of the benefits of these microbes long before we invented microscope. I mean, why or how could anyone thought of coming up with the idea for that leisure past time they call Oral Sex?? In which case, if Oral Sex is beneficial to our health, shouldn't it be made legal in La Malaisie?       

Uh? Why are we talking about vagina and oral sex? Moving on. Anyway, I think I would just add some Vitagen in my milk concoction just to give my serum a jump start. Read Prof. Higa studies on Effective Microorganisms here.

What to do with the Serum?

According to Gil, you can store it in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it or you can mix it with molasses. If you mix it with the molasses, you can keep the serum at room temperature but no direct sunlight please. The ratio for serum and molasses? 1:1 but you can add more molasses to your heart's content. The molasses is actually food for the microbes, so there's no harm providing more than enough, it just means more food for them.

How to apply the Serum to the soil?

Mix 1 part serum and 20 parts water (1:20), again, do not use water with chlorine. This will be your EM mixture. If you think you want to bottle it and keep for a few days, then adding molasses would not be a bad idea. The microbes need food.

Take 2 to 4 tablespoon of the mixture and mix them with about 4 litres of water(no chlorine) spray the mixture to your soil to propagate them with these beneficial microbes. The idea is to populate your soil with more LAB. Soon they would overwhelm the population of bad microbes and deprive them of food, eventually the bad microbes would just wither away. Hence, keeping your soil disease free.

You can also spray the mixture on your compost to help with the break down of organic matter. These microbes also help release the nutrients in your soil for your plant's uptake. Continue to feed your microbes by doing some mulching. It's pointless to spray them with these microbes if there's no food in your soil.

Some people suggested spraying this mixture to the leafs of plants to help intake of plant food via foliar but I've my reservations on this because I read somewhere that this mixture could cause leaf burns and I think some of my plants did get leaf burns when I accidentally sprayed on them.

Like everything else in the internet, digest and apply what I have written here with your own discretion. If you think you want to try this, do it at your own risks. It worked for me but I can't guarantee the same for you. However, by and large, a number of farmers attest to the effectiveness of these microbes.

Happy Farming!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...