One of the serendipitous benefits of bokashi fermenting is the tea. This tea is power food for plants.
Not everybody uses the bokashi tea. Some fermenting buckets do not have a spigot to drain off the tea. Draining off the tea is not imperative but if you have plants or a yard or know someone who does, bokashi tea is liquid gold.
The tea is filled with beneficial microbes that enhance the soil and promote plant growth. These beneficial microbes work better than any store-bought fertilizer that I’ve used. In addition to being effective, it’s free and not harmful to humans or pets.
Diluting the Tea
I have performed several experiments using the bokashi tea. I’ve diluted the tea at an approximate ratio of 1000 to 1 (1,000 parts water to 1 part tea) and used it on my lawn. When my fermenting bucket produces a lot of tea, the ratio is more like 10 to 1. I’ve also tested it undiluted on a couple of plants.
The reason for diluting the tea from, what I can see, is twofold:
- By diluting the tea you make it stretch further. One cup of tea doesn’t go very far on an acre of land if it’s not diluted.
- The other reason for diluting the tea, especially if you use it indoors, is to dilute the odor. Sometimes the tea can smell bad (although the food scraps don’t). The smell of undiluted tea sprinkled on houseplants can be rather unpleasant. Fortunately, the smell dissipates within hours, but why put yourself through that.
Results of an Experiment
In a recent batch of bokashi tea, I diluted it using a one to one ratio. I used the minimally diluted mixture on some of my indoor seedlings. My seedlings loved it. There was only one problem… fruit flies.
That batch of tea had quite a lot of pineapple and watermelon. The 1 to 1 ratio was not enough water to dilute the pineapple “aroma.” The smell lasted for a portion of the day, just long enough to invite fruit flies.
To solve my fruit fly problem, I sprinkled some diatomaceous earth on the soil. That killed the fruit flies.
When using bokashi tea indoors, dilute it enough to help reduce any tea “aroma.”
Straight bokashi tea is not harmful to plants or seedlings. As a matter of fact, it appears to have a beneficial effect. My spearmint seedlings, which refused to break ground, broke ground shortly thereafter. There’s a long story to my spearmint seeds. The first seeds never sprouted so I threw a few more into the pot. It wasn’t until after giving it the minimally diluted tea did the second batch of seeds sprout.
Fortifying the Microbes
As mentioned earlier, the bokashi tea is filled with beneficial microbes. These microbes do wonderful things for plants leaves when foliar spraying or the soil by direct watering. To encourage healthy microbe growth, they need to be fed. The microbe food of choice (at least in my house) is organic blackstrap molasses for bacteria and hydrolized fish for the fungi.
When I dilute a batch of bokashi tea, I add a small amount of molasses. I usually dilute the tea in a 2-gallon sprayer so I add about 2 tablespoons of molasses and about the same of hydrolyzed fish (the recipe is very forgiving).
The additional nutrients are not absolutely necessary when using bokashi tea but if I’m going to keep the microbes happy, which keep my plants happy, which makes me happy, a little microbe nourishment is a small price to pay.