You have plants on the balcony that would benefit from compost? But unfortunately you don’t have a garden where you can build a compost heap? And even if you did, your neighbors would never tolerate the „stench“ anyway? You don’t like the idea of keeping worms either? Besides, worms require too much care for you? And actually, you would like to be able to travel without having to worry about the little animals? You have a bad conscience every time you throw your organic waste into the residual waste? (But why is there also no organic waste garbage can in your house complex?!).
I have a solution for you that addresses all these problems: Bokashi!
Bokashi (compost) is an alternative to conventional garden compost, in which kitchen waste is fermented with the help of Effective Microorganisms (EM) and turned into valuable humus. Fermentation takes place in an airtight bucket, which makes „composting“ possible even in a city apartment. The byproduct is bokashi juice, a great liquid fertilizer.
„Bokashi“ is derived from the Japanese verb „bokasu,“ which means „to shade“ or „to tone down.“ In the context of bokashi „composting,“ the word refers to the toning down of the finished, „sharp“ bokashi through mixing it with soil. In the German-speaking area, the translation „fermented all kinds of things“ has stubbornly prevailed, but it is wrong.
The key players in Bokashi are Effective Microorganisms, or rather EM-Active. EM-A(ctive) is an activated and ready-to-use solution made of water, Effective Microorganisms primary solution, and sugar cane molasses, among other things. In contrast to EM-A, the primary solution is inactive. It consists of a mixture of over 80 different aerobic and anaerobic microorganisms, of which yeast, lactic acid bacteria and photosynthetic bacteria form the largest groups. The microorganisms live off each other’s metabolic excretions and thus maintain a balance.
EM (or EM-1, the original EM mixture) was developed by the Japanese agronomist Prof. Teruo Higa in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Teruo was born in 1941 and studied at the Faculty of Agricultural Science at Ryukyu University in Okinawa. For his doctorate, he devoted himself to the cultivation of mandarins. Back in the 1970s, agriculture relied heavily on pesticides and mineral fertilizers. Teruo also used the chemicals for his mandarin trees, convinced that they were a necessary evil in agriculture. Until they made him sick and gave him skin rashes. The effects on his own health made him realize how harmful the chemicals actually were. He then switched his research to microorganisms, which he believed at the time had great potential for agriculture. Teruo experimented with single strains of microbes, as was commonly done in research. He collected the remains of his experiments in a bucket and usually poured them down the drain. One evening, however, he disposed the microorganisms on a piece of grass near his laboratory. Later, when he noticed a conspicuously lush growth of grass in the same spot, he realized that it was not the individual microbial strains that were important, but their combination. Teruo continued to research to find the optimal microbe combination. After many experiments, he obtained reproducible results in the early 1980s from a stable mixture of 80 different microorganisms, which he called Effective Microorganisms (EM). EM have been in use internationally since 1982 and have also been gaining popularity in Germany since the 2000s.
„Permaculture“: Holistic, sustainable concept of agriculture that goes beyond the principle of an organic garden. A permaculture garden takes advantage of cycles of nature and intervenes only where necessary. By maintaining the natural ecological balance, a larger and tastier harvest can be achieved with less effort.
„Zeolite“: Volcanic mineral with tiny pores, whose large surface area can bind pollutants well.
Mixing garden and kitchen waste provides a good C/N ratio.
„C/N ratio“: Ratio of carbon (C) to nitrogen (N) in an organic mass. The closer the C/N ratio, the more nitrogen is present compared to carbon and the faster decomposition proceeds. A good C/N ratio is 1:25.
„Substrate“: Usually industrially produced mixture of various mineral and organic materials used for growing and cultivating plants.
Hi, I’m Lisa from Permapot. I’ve been growing my own vegetables in my small urban garden and on my terrace for 4 years now. With Permapot I would like to make it easier for you to get started with urban gardening!
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