I finally did it. I made my first batch of bokashi mix.
I used the recipe from TeraGanix website which called for 50 pounds of wheat bran, ¾ cup molasses, ¾ cup of EM and about 2 to 3 gallons of water (I actually used more water).
The most difficult part of the whole procedure was mixing it on the ground. My back got a little annoyed at remaining in the hunched position for so long (note to self – next time use a table).
The good thing about making it on the floor, however, is there is virtually no cleanup. My dog enjoyed the remnants of the wheat bran and molasses. If he starts neighing and galloping around the house, I’ll know why.
I have 3 5-gallon buckets of bokashi mix. From the looks of things, I’ve got enough mix to last for several years. If my mix works as it should, I’ll probably give some away or even sell some to local Hudson Valley folks embarking on bokashi fermenting.
I waited two weeks for it to ferment, but during those two weeks, I had two concerns:
- Did I add enough water?
- Is there air in my storage containers?
The instructions said to add enough water until it can hold its shape without excess water being released. I believe my mix held its shape, sort of. I made a fist full and the majority of it remained in a ball. There were a few flakes that didn’t want to remain in the ball, but I was hesitant to add more water. You can always add more water to the mix, but if you add too much, the mix is toast.
The next concern was air in the containers. Two of the three containers were filled to the brim. I pushed the mix down to remove the air and then placed the airtight lid. The third container had about 2 inches of airspace.
In the third container, I placed a plastic bag over the mix, inserted a plate about the same diameter of the bucket over the plastic bag after pushing the mixture down to remove the air. I then folded and placed the mixing tarp (aka tablecloths) on top of the plate to take up any excess airspace before placing the airtight lid.
Two Weeks Later
When I pulled out one of the buckets 2 weeks later, it smelled great but it didn’t have the white fuzz that so many bokashi makers talk about. I was concerned that I had created a 50-pound dud.
In a bit of a panic I wrote to the TeraGanix folks to explain my concern. I was assured that my mix was just fine. So, with that assurance I used it in my next bin of fermented matter. And guess what? They were right. It worked just fine.
Drying the Bokashi Mix
To permanently store the mix, it must be dried. Dried bokashi mix can last for several years. The only problem I had was how do I dry 50 pounds of bokashi bran? The answer to my question is the same answer I give myself when looking to eat an elephant. In this case, it’s one pound at a time rather than one bite at a time.
Fortunately, the sun cooperated and I was able to dry 1/3 of my 50-pound batch. Hopefully, I can dry more next weekend, weather permitting.
I have come up with an indoor alternative in the event it’s not sunny, but my daughter was crabbing about the pickle-ish smell of the mix, so I guess I’ll wait until next weekend to dry the rest.
In the meanwhile, I’m fermenting my kitchen scraps, fertilizing my indoor plants and outdoor container garden. I call that a triple win!