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How to evaluate Bokashi?

In searching Echo, I see various writings about how to make it and how to use it and what it is etc. but I haven’t seen how does one evaluate that it’s ready to be used. Does one just go by the calendar and begin using it based on time?

We have been making it for sometime now using pure chicken manure. We allow it to process for about 20 days in a 55 gal barrel and then we use it. Other than going by the smell… that it smells good, that is been the only way I’ve known to evaluate it. So I am wondering is there another way.

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@Keith_Mikkelson do you have experience making bokashi?

From ECHO’s good friend Paul in Ecuador,

I’ve mainly used kitchen and vegetable garden and lawn waste to make our compost using the fermentation method, Bokashi. I use 2 5 gallon buckets, one inside the other to drain the liquid, and when full with waste and Bokashi bran mixed in, it is set aside for a minimum of 2 weeks. I believe 20 days is a good minimum when using chicken poop set aside for it to ferment.

Note that after fermentation the fermented waste is very acidic and most plants, other than citrus plants, cannot tolerate it. So I dig a hole, mix the dirt with the fermented waste and bury in the hole for a minimum of 2 weeks so the waste will be more neutral and not so acidic and broken down looking more like dirt but very nutritious. I grew our Goji berry by digging a hole, mixed the fermented waste with that dirt into the hole and immediately planning the Goji berry plant. Works great as it loves acidic soil.

I think you are doing great letting the chicken poop ferment for 20 days. All manure needs longer fermentation time than other organic waste. Also it is ok to allow it to ferment longer than 20 days if you are too busy or on vacation or what ever reason as long as you allowed a minimum of 20 days. But do be careful using it immediately as it is acidic and most plants may not be able to handle it.

Hope this helps

Thanks for the info on ph. That might be one way to evaluate it. Our approach has worked very well for us but the only evaluation has been the plants like it and have no adverse effects. It will be interesting to see what the ph is.

A 55 gallon barrel holds about 300 lbs and we’ve made more than 20 barrels with good results. The time it is stored before using depends on need. We always wait 20 days before using it but often times it is 60 days. In other words, we don’t have an intermediary step before using it. It comes right out of the barrel into the planting hole. We dig a hole, add 1/2 gallon of bokashi to the bottom of the hole, cover it with a few inches of dirt and plant the tree on top of that. We’ve planted 1800 fruit trees like that and have another 3000 to go. So, when we make more, will check the ph at the beginning and a time or two before using it.

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