Can microbes wipe out banana pest?

Things are happenning in our EM world!

Picked up this one from the Phillipines, advocates of organic farming are promoting the idea of using effective microorganisms (EM) technology to battle the deadly black sigatoka pest that has affected banana plantations in Mindanao. Apparently farmers are already seeing good results with EM and Bokashi in terms of general farming productivity in the area, good to hear!

When it comes to the banana pest it seems the alternative is fungicide. Which is hardly a pleasant option. Costa Rica has had the same problem and are having success with EM — lets hope it turns out to be a hit in the Phillipines too. No discussion which is the more organic way to go!

“I’m new to the Bokashi idea and want advice!”

Came across this cry for help on the Wildlife Gardeners forum and seeing as we have a number of Bokashi “gurus” in our numbers here, maybe there’s someone would like to have a go at helping out? I think you need to join the forum to post a comment, but the more of us that are out there spreading the word the better!

A posting like this is interesting because it takes up a lot of the questions we all asked in the beginning. It’s hard to see how it all hangs together and why it makes sense. Read on and I’ll throw in a few comments after the posting!
And please let us know if you join the thread and where it heads!


I’m new to the bokashi idea and want advice

Oh mighty bokashi gurus, please help a novice with some basic questions.I have read most of these threads, and have the general idea. However, a couple of things are not completely clear.

First, when you discard the fermented stuff to start again, how do you know it is ready? Is it decomposed enough to count as compost without odors and flies once it is out in the air, and is it decomposed enough it won’t attract my friendly raccoon family to start foraging for it?

Second, is it really odor free enough to keep in your kitchen? I would rather put it out on my deck, but it would have to be a metal bucket, well sealed, or my friendly raccoons and squirrels would be into it in a heartbeat.

Third, is the purpose predominantly to get the “juices” to use as plant food, or the solid decomposed product at the end? (I realize the overall goal is to keep the scraps out of the landfill, but what is the gardening goal?)

Fourth, several threads discussed spigots, several talked about nested buckets; was there any consensus on which worked better from those who have tried both?

Thank you for all of your help!

My two cents worth on these good questions:

First>> You can’t really see when a bucket is ready. If it’s been left to ferment indoors for a couple of weeks it will be ready. You may get some white mould, you may not. But the Bokashi should always be dug down (or otherwise submerged in a compost or planter), if you leave it open to the air it will start to rot and the point is lost. Can’t say I know anything about racoons but if it turns out they want to dig up your Bokashi you’ll just have to dig it a bit deeper! Or put a metal grid or other barrier over the soil for a couple of weeks.

Second>> No worries whatsoever about having it in your kitchen. It may well work outside too, depends on the temperature. The closer to room temperature the better. Not in direct sunlight though!

Third>> The gardening goal is that you’ll get the best soil you’ve ever seen in your life! The environment goal is of course enormous, not only do you keep the food waste out of landfill, the thing with Bokashi is that all carbon goes into the soil and stays there. Rather than sneaking off up into the atmosphere as it does in traditional composting.

Fourth>> Both buckets give you the same end result, it’s all a matter of convenience and what you prefer, how much money you want to spend and so on. You can also take a plain old plastic bucket with a tight-fitting lid and put a torn-in-two newspaper top and bottom to take up the liquid. The newspaper goes into the ground/compost along with the rest of the Bokashi and will be popular with your worms. The only disadvantage with that is you don’t get the Bokashi liquid, which is every bit as good as people say it is.

I’m sure between us we have a lot of other things worth saying on the subject. What do YOU think are the most important aspects we need to make sure get spread?