Composting is probably the oldest form of recycling. It is the best way to “act locally”. To do it, all you need is a small amount of yard space. Local agricultural extension agencies across the country have been promoting composting to teach people how to use food wastes, trimmings, and even some small amounts of paper to cut down on what is going into landfills.
Additions of compost to soil and mulching with it will hold in moisture, requiring less watering, keep weeds down, and provide a home to worms and microbes. The homeowner has a variety of choices. You should try a few and pick what works best for you. Below we have some suggestions that incorporate EM-1®. Remember, Let EM-1® Do The Work! Adding the Effective Microorganisms™ will ensure control of pathogens, odors, and accelerate the breakdown of materials by several months. The EM-1® Bokashi method is very quick and preserves the much-wanted nitrogen of green materials because it controls the heat process.
The turners and tumblers you see everywhere for composting are designed to allow air into the materials you wish to compost. Compost, by definition is the aerobic breakdown of organic matter. It is a rotting process. During this process, you turn the contraption often and will have to add water to keep the materials moist.
Add 10 ounces of EM-1® for every cubic foot of material.
Static Pile (Anaerobic Method):
This is usually for larger items like sticks and leaves that will take a longer time to break down than grass and food scraps. These piles are usually left for about a year and may be turned once or twice during that time.
Add about 10 ounces of EM-1® for every cubic foot of material.
EM-1® Bokashi Method (Semi-anaerobic):
This is a quick fermentation method that is centuries old. Organic (carbon: leaves, grass, wood chips, etc.) materials are collected and piled. Be sure to include some fresh manures (cow, chicken, pig, rabbit, etc.) at a ratio of 1 carbon: 20 parts manure.
As the materials are piled, water with a solution of EM-1®, molasses, and water (1:1:100). The moisture content of the pile should be about 35-40% moisture.
Once this is achieved, cover the pile with a tarp and weight down with rocks and/ or boards. Fermentation will take about two weeks. The longer you let it sit, the better.
After the fermentation cycle is complete, the materials are ready to incorporate into the soil. You will likely see white mold on the pile. This is a beneficial mold and is a sign of success. Depending on what was used (food scraps, etc.) you will not want to mulch with this material as it will attract animals. If it is made only with plant material, you can mix it with compost or bark mulch to mulch with.
For larger piles of a cubic yard, the application rate of EM-1® Microbial Inoculant Lawn & Garden is about 1-1.5 gallons per cubic yard (ton), diluted into the water use to reach proper moisture for composting.
The following guidelines will help with your successful use of EM-1® Microbial Inoculant: It is important to build up the organic matter content in your soil. EM-1® lives on the organic matter and clay particles in your soil. To accelerate the conversion of plant residue to stable humus spray all plant residue and mulch your garden beds with EM-1®.
When irrigating a garden with EM-1® moisten the top 3-4 inches of soil to ensure that the EM-1® penetrates into the rhizosphere (root zone).
EM-1® soil treatments should be more frequent during your first couple of years of use to ensure the populations of beneficialmicrobes in EM-1® are established. Over time, EM-1® will improve soil structure, moisture retention, and nutrient cycling allowing EM-1® application frequency to be reduced.
Based on years of experience we have learned that the optimum application rate for average soils in most climates is equal to a rate of 40 gallons per acre per year for the first one to two years. You may wish to have a soil analysis before using EM-1®. Soils that have higher levels of organic matter and have not been treated with conventional synthetic fertilizers will require significantly less EM-1® than soils with low organic matter and those that have been treated with synthetic fertilizers that kill the microbial populations in the soil.
Deal With Weeds
When we get ready to plant a garden, naturally we pull out pre-existing weeds. However, there may also be hundreds or thousands of weed seeds hiding in the soil, waiting until the conditions are right before they sprout and grow. Here is a method of dealing with weeds in your garden beds. EM-1 Microbial Inoculant accelerates seed germination, exhausting weed seed supplies in soils. Remove the weeds and recycle them for the ultimate garden bed preparation and prevention of further weed growth.
It is possible to prepare a garden bed without the backbreaking labor of turning the soil, also known as no-till. In addition, it is possible to control weeds without chemicals or additional hours of hard labor.
Below are a couple options for you to try. You will be building zymogenic soil that is disease-suppressive and an incredibly healthy foundation for plants, beneficial insects, and beneficial microorganisms to flourish in.
Materials: EM-1® Microbial Ionculant, molasses, watering can and teaspoon or hose end sprayer, Bokashi or fermented cafeteria waste and soil/compost, tarp, rocks or bricks.
Procedure A (using recycled weeds as mulch): First pull out any pre-existing weeds. Cut them into small pieces and leave them on the soil surface of the area to be treated. Sprinkle a light covering of Bokashi over the weeds. Saturate the weeds, Bokashi and soil with a 1:1:500 dilution of EM-1®, molasses, and water. Cover this area with a tarp. Secure the tarp with rocks, bricks, or earth staples. Leave the soil covered for 2 weeks. Remove the tarp and let the soil rest for 1 to 2 weeks longer. Now the soil is free of weeds and ready to plant.
Procedure B (using EM-1® Food Waste): Pull out any existing weeds and put them to the side. Cover the soil with 1″ of fermented food waste. Chop up weeds and put a 2″ layer on top of the food waste. Sprinkle a light layer of EM-1® Bokashi over the weeds. Over the fermented food waste, weeds, and EM-1® Bokashi, cover lightly with soil or finished compost. Cover this area with a tarp and secure the edges with rocks or earth staples. Leave the soil covered for 2 weeks. Remove the tarp and let the soil rest 1 to 2 weeks longer. After this rest period, the garden bed is ready for planting.
To plant, simply rake back any residual organic matter, dig a hole big enough for the transplant or seeds, and water in with a 1:1,000 EM-1® solution. If using transplants, residual mulch may be returned to planting area. There is no need to dig up the entire bed. Digging up the entire bed will actually disturb the established soil micro-flora and begin oxidation of organic material.
Household plants can easily be maintained with Effective Microorganisms™. Spraying the leaves with EM-1® can help deal with any problems on the leaves and leave the plants looking great. A weekly spraying of EM-1® and water will help your indoor plants thrive, giving longer blooms and brighter flowers. It is easy. EM-1® Microbial Inoculant adds enzymes, trace minerals, and various B-complex vitamins to the soil…all of which can feed the plants.
Mix 3/4 teaspoon of EM-1® in a gallon of water and water your plants. You can mist the plants once or twice a week with this solution. If you are in the habit of watering on a daily basis, use a 1/4 teaspoon in the gallon of water and water daily.
Make sure to feed the plants some nutrients once a month or so to prevent nutrient loss from the EM-1®. (Effective Microorganisms™ needs food too and will use some of the nutrients in the potting soil to survive.)
You can also mix in some EM-1® Bokashi with the potting soil when you are potting the plants. Usually a ratio of 1%-3% of EM-1® Bokashi is added to the potting soil.
We often stress directly applying EM-1® Microbial Inoculant to the soil or to make high quality composts with EM-1® Microbial Inoculant Lawn & Garden. When it comes to trees and shrubs the applications are mostly foliar (sprayed on the leaves). Soil treatments should be done as well by spraying one of the EM-1® Microbial Inoculant Lawn & Garden formulas we have below. Additionally, sustainable landscaping practices enourage the use of organic composts and bokashi that can be dug into the soil along the drip line of the trees or shrubs.
Treating Trees and Shrubs with Effective Microorganisms
Using the methods below, insect infestation can be deterred by encouraging a healthy plant and soil. Problems such as brown rot that tend to appear on stone fruits (peaches, apricots, cherries) can be kept at bay through organic gardening techniques. Insect problems will also be easily controlled with regular EM-1® applications. (Also refer to our section on EM5 for pest problems and follow the alternating programs if pest problems do occur. )
EM-1® Microbial Inoculant Lawn & Garden foliar treatments are best applied in the morning before 10 am. and in the evening after 3 pm.
A hose-end sprayer is recommended to use for application of the EM-1® Microbial Inoculant Lawn & Garden. If a garden hose cannot access the garden a backpack or hand-held sprayer will work.
EM-1® Microbial Inoculant Lawn & Garden can be added to water or foliar spray solutions that include liquid fertilizers, mineral supplements, or teas. Add the EM-1® Microbial Inoculant Lawn & Garden to the spray solution just before application.
It is important to build up the organic matter content in your soil. EM-1® Microbial Inoculant Lawn & Garden lives on the organic matter and clay particles in your soil. To accelerate the conversion of plant residue to stable humus spray all plant residue and mulch in your garden beds with EM-1® Microbial Inoculant Lawn & Garden.
When irrigating a garden with EM-1® Microbial Inoculant Lawn & Garden moisten the top 3-4 inches of soil to ensure that the EM-1® Microbial Inoculant Lawn & Garden penetrates into the rhizosphere (root zone).
EM-1® Microbial Inoculant Lawn & Garden soil applications should be more frequent during your first couple years of use to get EM-1® Microbial Inoculant Lawn & Garden thoroughly established. Over time, EM-1® Microbial Inoculant Lawn & Garden will improve soil structure, moisture retention, and nutrient cycling allowing EM-1® Microbial Inoculant Lawn & Garden application frequency to be reduced.
Amount of EM•1® applied per 100 sq. ft.
Amount of EM•1® applied per acre
All Plant types
1.5 oz. every application
5 gallons every application
1st & 2nd year- 6-8 times per year
3rd year- 3-4 times per year
Consult your EM America technical specialist for further information regarding Buy EM-1® Now For You Trees & Shrubs.
For other techniques, you may wish to look into permaculture practices. Dr. Higa’s formulas fit in nicely with sustainable, organic, and permaculture development programs.