Bokashi in sunken beds

Here we’re busy building raised beds to get things to grow in this arctic climate (and they are definitely the way to go. Warm, well-drained soil and no digging or weeding required — perfect!)

But in a decidedly warmer and drier part of the world, somewhere in the US, these guys have made a massive sunken bed powered by Bokashi. You can watch the short youtube film they’ve made here. They started with a bobcat and a looonnnggg trench. Then…

We added in a bokashi/sheep manure/ compost mix with the soil from the beds to fill them. Once full, they were tilled to make them smooth and then the drip tape was laid. Then the seeds were planted.

Looks promising.

The EM-A they’re talking about is a cousin of the EM Bokashi bran we use in our kitchen composters and more suitable for large-scale applications like this. The microbes are the same as in the EM bran we use but in an incredibly concentrated fluid form. The guys here in the film have activated the concentrate by adding sugar, water and heat to start a fermentation process and get the microbes multiplying. In some countries you can buy this liquid ready-fermented in which case you dilute it and spray on. Otherwise you can buy the concentrate yourself and ferment for a week in a warm place before diluting and spraying. Not particularly difficult either way, and well worth the effort if you are growing on any sort of scale.

You can spray the activated EM (microbe mix) onto any normal garden bed or field, but the effectiveness depends on the amount of organic material available. Microbes need to be fed! In this application they’ve made a mix with sheep dung and other goodies that in the end is not so different to what we make in our kitchens. In other countries they use whatever is available — cow dung in India, banana leaves in Indonesia, rice husks in Japan, leftovers from wine production in New Zealand.

What natural resources do you have close by that everyone else thinks are waste? Could be the start of your field-scale Bokashi production!!

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