What super-charges the soil?

Bokashi CommunityCategory: bokashi composting questionsWhat super-charges the soil?
Annie Howell-Adams asked 3 years ago

I am trying to put my finger on what is in bokashi fermentation that supercharges the soil, releasing huge amounts of nitrogen for the plants? Is the massive amount of microbes that are introduced in the bokashi? Is it the bokashied food scrapes? I understand that microbes mineralize nitrogen for plant uptake, how exactly does this work in a bokashi soil situation, Thanks for your insight.

4 Answers
Nicki Casley Staff answered 3 years ago

Hi Annie,

Thanks for the question. Its really all about the microbes. Bokashi composting is simply a process of using your valuable food waste to generate garden friendly microbes, yeast, and fungi (all of which are contained in a dormant state within the Bokashi bran). These microbes come alive and multiply when they are added to your food waste. When the bokashi’d food waste (pre-compost) is dug into your garden these garden-friendly microbes immediately benefit the soil structure and plants living in it.

As a home owner, Bokashi is your ideal tool for creating microbe rich compost. Above all, adding quality compost to our soils is perhaps the only task we really need to focus on as gardeners. If we do that, then the microbes in our soil will thrive, resulting in plants that develop stronger root structures, and have better growth, nutrition and resistance to pests and disease.

As you rightly mention, the microbes in our soils allow our plants access to nitrogen. But the microbes provide much more than just nitrogen to our plants. Until recently, plant roots were considered to be a one way highway – where water and nutrients are simply directed upwards through the plant roots. But this is not at all the case. Modern soil biologists have determined that plant roots are actually a two way system. In fact, plants send almost 40% of their energy down into their roots. This energy is released, all around the root zone, in the form of sugary carbohydrates. These carbohydrates are called exudates. These exudates have the specific purpose of attracting microbes to the plants roots. A healthy plant, in healthy soil, will have microbes thriving all around its root zone. And it is these microbes, through their digesting of the minerals and nutrients from the soil, that actually feed the plants.

This is the symbiotic relationship: plants feed the microbes, and in turn the microbes feed the plants. This is nature’s natural process and has been refined and perfected over millennia. As a result, if the soil is lacking in microbes, then the plants will necessarily suffer too.

Happy composting 🙂

Annie answered 3 years ago

HI Nicki, Thanks for the quick reply, I am still confused,though…. you say
“the microbes immediately benefit the soil structure and the plants living in it”
That I understand, but how exactly.
Could you describe the scientific pathway? Thank you, (PS bokashi gardener for many years.)

Nicki Casley Staff answered 3 years ago

The garden-friendly bokashi microbes are the building blocks of healthy, productive soil. The interaction between our plants and the soil food web is fascinating. This blog piece goes into more details (particularly the section on ‘How do plants feed themselves?’): https://bokashiliving.com/regenerating-our-garden-soils/

You can also find a loads more information about bokashi and effective organisms, including case studies and academic reports, on EMRO’s site (https://www.emrojapan.com/).

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