This week in the Flog:
- Using Super Lacto on Bokashi Leachate
- The awesome results after just a few days
So let’s look at how I’m using my super lacto culture. I made this culture by pouring just a little of the pure strength lacto (the 1:1 mix of lacto and sugar) into a 6 L jug with water. I then poured in a bunch of sugar. Not sure how much, like I said there are no rules with this. Maybe it was .5-1 cup of sugar. The jug wasn’t full, it had maybe 4.5L of water in it when I started. About 3 days later the jug was ready to burst it had become so hard with pressure. The color of the water also changed, becoming murky/milky colored rather than light brown as it started.
I already used part of the jug on some sinks in the house that were getting close to clogging because they were so full of junk. It took a day but the sinks got fixed nicely and now drain perfectly.
Today I’m going to use the rest of the jug on some bokashi leachate that I fear is nasty. So remember I wrote a flog some time back on how to make your own bokashi bin? Well the bin I made is great but it doesn’t quite seal between the top bucket (full of bokashi materials) and the bottom bucket (full of bokashi leachate that drips down out of top bucket). Little tiny flies were able to get in, so there are maggots and all kinds of things in the bottom bucket. And it stinks like a really strong dairy farm or something. Like a bad barnyard smell. Not particularly putrid but not nice either. I’m going to try and save the smell of it. I’ve already used some on the plants and they absolutely love it, but I (read: wife) don’t like the smell. I have this jug with the rest of my lacto culture in it, which I’ll just add the bokashi leachate too. I’m also going to add a bit more sugar (maybe half a cup), just to give the lacto some additional nutrients if they need:
And I have this bokashi drain bucket holding the bokashi leachate that smells bad. You can see the fly larva (white dots) and pupa cocoons (brown dots) around the inside of the bucket, they are also swimming in the nutrient broth in the bottom of the bucket:
Now the funnel goes on the lacto jug, and the bokashi leachate will be poured right into it:
Now the jug gets sealed with the cap (or airlock for those using airlocks, the superior method since you don’t need to crack the cap to release pressure buildup). This is critical, since we really need an anaerobic (no oxygen) environment for this to work. The idea is that the lacto, in combination with all the organic acids and other compounds they’ve produced so far in the jug I’ve had them in, will overcome the bad microbes present in the bokashi leachate.
Look at the jug now that they’re combined. Wow that is a really black liquid in there. Looks pretty strong. I know my plants love it as it is, I used some in the watering bucket already, at about 1 tbsp/gal, and the plants blew up in the following days. Let’s see how it works after being fermented (at least I hope it ferments!).
Pretty cool huh? How do we know it’s working? You will see air build up again as the lacto consume the sugars added as well as the nutrients in the leachate, and produce gases through their metabolizing. You should also notice a change in the smell – it should no longer smell foul, it should have very little smell. Let’s see how this performs over the next little while.
A few days in and the air buildup is astonishing. Look at how the air space inside the container has changed – the pressure in there is crazy, the jug is like a rock after just a few days. The color has also lightened up a little.
The lacto are definitely going to town on the bokashi leachate. You can see the bubbling once I loosen the cap – the CO2 that was trapped in solution due to the pressure within the vessel is able to escape now that I’ve lessened the pressure. The smell is still very strong when I crack the jug to release the air that built up.
A side note here, if you don’t want to deal with the smell every time you crack the lid, you can make your own air filter/airlock using pvc and biochar. I’ve used this when making fish fertilizer before and it worked great. I’ll share the instructions for making that in a future post.
A week later and the jug still smells strong when I crack the lid. The rate of air buildup is incredible, indicating the amount of microbial activity going on. The smell is starting to change a bit, and I think this batch will get to the same place as fish fertilizer in terms of smell. Remember when making fish fertilizer, during fermentation you get all kinds of smells out of the bottle, as the fish is digested. However by the end, you end up with a very faintly sour smelling fish fertilizer that not only doesn’t smell bad, but has awesome benefits for your garden.
We’ve caught up to real time now, I only started this bokashi batch about 10 days ago, so it has some more fermenting to do (it might run longer than the usual 14-21 days considering how much activity there has been so far). Let’s see how it goes over the next few weeks – I can’t wait to see how it turns out when fermentation is complete!
So, that’s how you use super strength lacto culture on your really tough stuff! Have fun making super cultures, let me know how they work out for you – share your lacto story in the comments!
Keep on growing