Sep 14 2011, 3:02 PM ET 4
Feeding antibiotics to livestock creates an ever-increasing number of resistant bacteria, including many that can harm humans
A recent study from the Maryland School of Public Health has found a simple way to help overcome the health problems caused by antibiotic resistance: stop adding antibiotics to animal feed.
December 1st was a great day for myself and gardening co-conspirator Diann Dirks of Hillside Gardens located in Auburn GA.. We held the first of a series of Training Workshops on Korean Natural Farming Techniques and inputs. The first of this series was "Small Scale BioChar Production for the Gardener and Hobby Farmer." Diann graciously hosted the event at her home where we had seven people in attendance. The guests ranged from the curious, to the aquaponics enthusiast, the horse farmer, and permacultural enthusiast. The weather was very cooperative for this time of the year in Georgia and most of the workshop was held outdoors.
I had several requests for the short Power Point presentation and I will have a link below for those interested to be able to download it. The focus of this workshop was the benefits and uses of BioChar along with how to make your own TLUD (Top Lit - Up Draft) retort form common material that can be found in the home, your local recycle center, or even in the "Big Box" do it yourself home centers. Everyone went home with a BioChar sample and some went home with a portion of the BioChar made as part of the demonstration; one guest took home the 1G TLUD that I made in under 4 minutes.
The last two weeks here have been busy. I had the priveledge of demonstrating ProKashi Bokashi Composting in Downtown Auburn Ga on April 14, 2012 and the following week at Whole Foods Market in Duluth GA.. My family and I had a great time and got to meet some very interesting people. Curiousity seemd to get the best of most people who came to visit or demo and upon speaking with them a similar theme appeared. Most people who did not compost "Didn't know how", "Have to little space," or "Had a bad experience." Of those who do compost, they wished that the process "Was faster and easier" or "Fit into their lives and routines" more appropriately.
For the past few months it has been cold and wet here - a real bummer and not very motivating to go out in the yard. FINALLY today Mother Nature smiled on me here and I smiled back - determined to make the most of it. So between drying out some fresh Bokashi Bran, fixing one raised bed and building another, I mixed up some of my own homemade potting soil for our seedlings. There are a mountain of recepes and no shortage of store bought bags; however, I get a lot of joy out of doing it myself with what I have at home. Here are my ingredients and why I use them.
Years ago it was a very common site to see gardens in just about every back yard and even small live stock such as chickens, goats, and rabbits. Then for a number of reasons the practice died out but a few hard core gardeners and hobby farmers. With our current troubling times in the economic sector, social sector, and world stage, people are going back to their roots of self sufficiency. There is an ever increasing number of gardens going back into production; people are raising back yard poultry again; hobby farms are on the increase, and their produce is finding its way back into the communities through local Farmer's Markets.
Weekly scares filling our TV sets telling of Salmonella poisoning, Listeria recalls, tainted food products being imported from less than reputable merchants/Countries does nothing to instill confidence in our current system of food production. Again, we as a people are going back to the basics of becoming more self reliant and are purchasing more locally sourced food products. For many beginning on this road; however, there is a high learning curve. We have not learned the valuable, solid, sustainable lessons and practices from our forefathers and we are falling prey to "Fad Marketeers" of fancy gadgets and chemical inputs, The bottom line is that we as a people are all too often paying so much for our garden inputs and garden set up that it is costing an inordinate amount of money to produce that "Home Grown" tomato, cucumber, squash, etc..
Instead of reaching our desired independence, we are still dependent on the store bought bags of lifeless soils, expensive petroleum based fertilizers, outsourced and genetically modified feeds, antibiotics, and herbicide/fungicide/insecticides - all at an increasing financial cost. The current Western model of chemical food production and improper practices is leaving our lands less and less fertile. Nature's ability to produce and replace healthy soil and its associated web of micro and macro organisms (vital to the very existence of a successful food chain) is being out stripped by us.
Biochar is getting alot of attention in the organic gardening and agricultural fields currently; however, biochar has been around for thousands of years. Simply put, Biochar is charcoal that is meant to be turned into the soil. Unlike regular charcoal that you may cook your weekend meals over and buy in the store, Biochar is different in its production and does not contain fillers, binders, and accelerants.
Poor soils lack organic matter, moisture retention, fertilizer/mineral retention, structure, and tilth. Compost can provide alot of these missing qualitites but it breaks down over time. This breakdown requires organic matter to continually be replaced and releases Greenhouse Gasses into the atmosphere such as carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and ammonia. Biochar is a stable form of carbon which breaks down much more slowly; in fact, its rate of decomposition is measured in hundreds to thousands of years whereas compost carbons are measured in weeks and months. While all of this seems nice, what does it mean for us - the garderner, ubran farmer, or hobby farmer?
I want to congratulate Dr Katharine Geier and Mr David Dunagan of Atlanta for winning the ProKashi Composting System at the DeKalb County Farmers Market on October 1, 2011, Included was (1) 4 gallon food grade composting bucket, (2) inner liners and (1) 650 gram bag ProKashi Bokashi Bran - a $38 value!The DeKalb County Extension Agency - organized by Mr. Gary Peiffer - had an exhibition at the garden area of the Farmers Market where about 20-25 people stopped by my display and registered for a chance to win. It was a beautiful and breezy day, perfect to spread the work about Recycling and Composting.
What does the 5 Star Al Qasar hotel in Dubai UAE (right) have in common with the 5 Star Mudbrick Vineyard and Restaurant in Waiheke Island New Zealand (below left)? Both use Bokashi composting to recycle their organic wastes.
Mudbrick's Mark Robinson utilizes up to 3 tons of waste each month to recycle the restaurant's kitchen wastes. Using the same Bokashi Method of composting that the home resident/gardener uses, the kitchen scraps are first collected in a large 5 gallon buckets throughout the day and are then transfered to larger 50-60 gallon containers where the waste is mixed with Bokashi Bran. After a two week fermentation, the waste is turned into the Restaurant's own garden plots; this quickly decomposes into the rich soil that now grows their micro greens, herbs and vegetables. An award winning restaurant is not going to risk their international reputation on a process that does not meet the highest standards.
As an HVAC Technician I get to go to alot of businesses and see alot of things on a daily basis. Today I ran into one of my Customer's employee break room to a pleasant surprise. There on the counter next to the coffee machine was a little compost collector. I was sort of floored by the fact that for as many places as I do travel to, this business was the first that I have seen with a compost collector. I checked with the office manager to find out whos this was and met the acquaintance of one of the Customer Service representatives. For quite some time this woman has been collecting everything that the staff happens to put into her bucket.
Owing to the fact that it is close to the coffee machine she stated that she gets alot of coffee grounds and filters which she loves to put into the composter and then ultimately into her garden. Paper towels, fruit peels, partially eaten lunch items, and the occasional party leftovers tend to round out the daily collection.
Being the "Bokashi Guy," I couldn't resist asking the woman about what type of composting she uses. "My Girlfriend and I have a normal pile where we just throw everything into" was the reply. As our conversation carried on she told me how cumbersome and difficult it is for her and her Girlfriend to turn the pile. I asked about her collection method in the office and she conceded that sometimes the odor of the bucket gets to be a bit much if she does not collect it every day. Monday mornings or holiday weekends also get pretty rough for the smell and the bucket clean up. Who wants to help out collecting wastes when the smell brings back the treat you just enjoyed eatting.
Here in Lawrenceville GA we have had over a month of 90 degree days and the lawn and garden are showing the effects. Around here this time of year finds many gardeners staying out of the hot weather by staying away from the garden. So in your absence give your plants a way to beat the heat by adding compost and mulching.
In a world of designer clothes, designer coffee, designer this and that, is there really such a thing as "Designer Compost?" The answer is YES. The average person knows their Gardening Alphabet (no not our elementary school ABC's but the NPK's). We are so stuck on these three macro elements of Nitrogen, Phosphorous, and Potassium that we forget that a lot of our soils are deficient in the all important micro elements. One of the most common soil problems is a lack of organic matter. For many of us the soil is either to sandy or has to much clay. I call this the Goldilocks paradox - things seem to be either too this or too that (never Baby Bear right). Bokashi composting helps to overcome this Goldilocks principle by restoring biomass to soils as well as increasing the biological diversity, colony numbers, and activity. Surprisingly enough, Bokashi Composting can also help us with increasing the micro elements in our soils as well. Just as the name implies, micro elements are those elements that our soils and plants require in very small amounts.
Well I finally have my 4 Gallon Bokashi Fermentation Buckets available. With Bokashi Composting being a new concept and technique in our Western gardening culture, this progression only seemed natural. First came the hurdle of "What is this Bokashi thing?" followed by "How do I do it?" Well with the addition of our 4 Gallon Bucket System to our 650 gram packages of Bokashi Wheat Bran, gardeners now have all of the basics that they need to quite literally recycle tons of food wastes that would otherwise be sent to Municipal Landfills.
Each bucket can easily accomodate 30+ lbs of food/organic wastes. Assuming that it takes 2 weeks for a family of 2-3 to fill its first bucket, 2 weeks to allow the completed bucket to fully ferment, and 2 weeks to breakdown into biological and nutrient rich compost, one can be adding in the neighborhood of 750-1000 lbs of organic matter to their garden each year. Lets assume the low range of 750 lbs in the first year. If a gardener were to buy 30 lb bags of store bought compost to the same amount, that would be 250 bags. Depending on what you buy and how you buy it lets further assume $3.00 to $5.00/bag. The average gardening household would spend $750.00 to $1250.00 - that makes for some really expensive tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, and pole beans - just in soil alone.
With Bokashi Composting you have benefits not available other wise:
You know what materials went into your compost (you bought it in the grocery store).
No artificial chemicals, fertilizers, or ingredients that you cannot even pronounce.
Better soil, water retention, nutrients, and biology - not sterile root anchor material
Compost faster, easier, and less labor intensive than standard techniques
Composting year round
Real, local, effective, conservation results and impact - not just romanitic lip service
Money savings in less garden inputs, less water cost, less pesticides, less fertilizers
Self reliance and independence
Bokashi is by no means a "Magic Bullet" or "Alpha/Omega Be All/End All." It is; however, a very powerful, useful, productive, and simple technique to add to your Organic Arsenal. With the addition of our Bokashi Buckets to our Bokashi Wheat Bran, there now is no reason that you, the informed gardener, cannot take greater control of your life, money, garden, and environment in real, measurable, and benefical ways. The only limit to your success is you.
What else can you do with Bokashi Composting. Why not make Compost Tea. Bokashi Compost excels in creating microbial rich and diverse soils. The quality of the soil used in making your "Tea" directly affects the quality of your "Soil Soup." Aerobically brew a few gallons of non-chlorinated water, add a few tablespoons of non-sulphered molasses, and a few cups of finished Bokashi Compost for 24 hours using a few airstones and an aquarium air pump. Give the water and compost a few stirs throughout the day to loosen and mix up the bacteria and fungi. The aerobic brewing multiplies the millions of beneficial microorganisms in the Bokashi Compost into tens of millions of benefical microbes in an easy to apply solution.
You can use the "Tea" straight out of the bucket as a soil drench or dilute it 5:1, 10:1, 20:1 (water to tea) to water plants, lawns, bushes, trees, reduce or stop damping off in seedlings, promote faster seed germination, reduce stress in transplants, or use as a foliar feed (be sure to get the bottom and tops of the leaves - at least 70% leaf surface coverage - in the evening or early morning hours. Remember UV kills the beneficials in the "Tea" and plant stomata are open during these times).
Compost Tea, unlike regular fertilizer, cannot be over used or damage the plants. The biota in the "Tea" kills or out competes pathenogens by taking up physical space on the plant or taking up food resources otherwise used by the diseases. See the articles under the Research section on how Bokashi Compost - and most certainly Compost Tea - reduces bacterial and fungal infestation in plants and lawns.
Dr Elaine Ingham's book Compost Tea Brewer's Manual is an excellent and easy to read reference on Compost Tea history, uses, production, and results.
Now you know....so get busy. Spring is upon us!!
We are all aware of the natural disaster in Japan now where areas are without basic facilities and service is not likely to be resestablished soon. Christ Church New Zeland suffered a sever earthquake as well.
Christ Church is a community that has embraced the use of Bokashi Composting at all levels for years now. The residents/entire community uses Bokashi to reduce their waste stream to landfills and incinerator plants. The local government and businesses use Bokashi in their offices, collecting lunch wastes and meeting wastes. Workers have a schedule or lottery to see who the fortunate person will be to take home and use the collected wastes in their gardens - bringing back the bucket the following Monday. The food industry, hotel and tourism industry does the same; specifically the Mud Brick Vineyard and Restaurant use Bokashi Composting in their private organic garden to grow superior vegetables for their dishes.
With their tragedy and their basic sanitary services gone for an indeterminate time, the people there have come up with a unique way to handle their own waste issues with Bokashi Bran. The idea is an adaptation of one for household pet uses. Pretty smart and resourceful people.
The moral of the story, keep a few packages of Pro-Kashi Bokashi Wheat Bran around your house for every day and unforseen emergencies. Hunters and fisherman take note as well. This is a great easy way to bring some home comfort to your outback adventures.
Our thoughts and prayers to the people in both countries as they struggle to regain their lives and families.
Usage is simple
When you have constructed your facility add 1/2 cup of Bokashi into the bottom of the hole/bucket, then add 1 tablespoon for each usage or add 1/2 cup at the end of each day.This will depend on the amount of times used. Sprinkling over each layer with a little dry soil will also help.
One Christchurch resident has sent an image of their Bokashi bucket modified which has been modified as a toilet . This is set up in the privacy of their house. A plastic bag can be inserted inside if required to make disposal easier in this situation.
If you are looking for an economic product for use with your 'short drop' then Bokashi is ideal.
We would like to say thank you to Farmer D Organics for working with us to bring our Pro-Kashi Bokashi Bran to their store. Special thanks to Mrs Tyson Deal for her interest, patience, and support. Look for it at their location or give them a call directly at 404-325-0128.
I recieved a call today asking if Pro-Kashi's Bokashi Bran can be used by itself as a soil amendment. The answer is definitely YES. Pro-Kashi by itself out of the bag can be mixed into the top several inches of any soil or scattered as a top dressing in the garden, plant pots, raised beds, or bucket systems. It can even be used at the end of the growing season. Simply cut down and mulch your trimmings and left over organic matter, leave it in place, sprinkle a few handfulls over the area, and let the area fallow. The beneficial microbes present in Pro-Kashi's Bokashi Bran will break down even the toughest materials into plant soluble nutrients. Next season start with a rich, no hassle, composted bed.
Try adding Pro-Kashi to your store bought or homemade potting soil mix (about 5% by weight for the technically minded or a handfull or two for the rest of us). It will lighten the soil similar to Pearlite or Vermiculite; the difference being, Pro-Kashi adds millions of beneficial microbes, yeasts, photosynthetic bacteria, etc.. You see, the problem typically lies in the fact that most store bought stuff has been sterilized and acts as nothing more than an anchor for the plants. That's probably why it is almost impossible to find potting soil WITHOUT some chemical fertizer in it. Nature never intended the Earth to be a mere anchor. Without the whole "Civilization" of microbes present in every gram of naturally healthy soil, nothing will grow without adding more and more chemicals.
Homemade potting soil is an excellent choice and has varying degrees of life in it. Pro-Kashi simply ADDS to that. The key to healty soil and plants is diversity and numbers; that handful of Pro-Kashi adds to the diversity in a quality soil/compost and does the same while increasing the numbers present in poorer quality soil/compost.
Give it a try for yourself and let me know.
Until then...Best Wishes!!
Thanks for checking in with us here at Pro-Kashi. We have just begun setup of our web site and web store.
We have 25 lbs of fresh Bokashi fermenting now and ready for sale locally and here online in approximately 2 weeks.
I am also making several liters of ready to use Activated Beneficial Microorganisms for a test trail for a local trail club. They, in coordination with the National Park Service, are responsible for upkeep of two remote hiker rest facilities along the Apalacian Trail in North GA. The intent is to keep the rest stops clean and odor free while also reducing the waste solids and there composting time generated there.
These are exciting and busy times for us so stay tuned for more in the near future!!