In our previous blogs, we’ve shown how microbes in the soil are ESSENTIAL for breaking down organic matter, making nutrients more available for plants’ roots, enhances water retention in soil, increases a plant’s root ball, and makes the plant much more resistance to disease.
But what do the microbes do for HUMANS? Great question!
Microbes benefit humans in at least three distinct ways.
First, they make our food more nutritious. Think about it–certain minerals and nutrients in the soil are simply impossible for most plants to absorb through their root systems. You can have plenty of a certain nutrient, say like nitrogen, sulfur, copper, calcium, etc.–but in its raw form, plants simply can’t absorb it. Microbes, on the other hand, CAN absorb it–and excrete a form of that mineral or nutrient that IS absorbable by roots. So, when microbes are in the soil, plants can absorb a much broader spectrum of nutrients, which they then put into their fruits or vegetables. Without those microbes, the plant can absorb only a much narrower spectrum of nutrients, meaning the produce from that plant will be deficient in certain nutrients. Make sense?
Second, microbes make our ecosystem in general healthier. These microbes not only help plants, but also are food for other beneficial organisms in the soil, such as certain protozoa, nematodes, etc.–when are in turn eaten by larger predators, such as worms and other shredders. Each of these organisms play a healthy role in the soil as well–keeping the soil aerated, creating tunnels in the soil that makes root growth easier, or even releasing nutrients locked up in their bodies upon their own death. Bottom line–microbes are a key food in the soil food chain–without microbes, it’s hard for soil to support all other other living critters that are so necessary in soil!
Third, and perhaps most interestingly, a large body of scientific evidence show that microbes directly affect human mood. While microbes do dozens of other things, multiple scientific studies have shown contact with a range of microbes found in soil (specifically mycobacterium vaccae) leads to increased levels of serotonin in the brain–the exact same effect created by Prozac, but without a doctor’s prescription!
If you want lots more detailed scientific studies on the positive effects of a healthy microbial biome, check out the Human Microbiome Project at hmpdacc.org for some fascinating reading.
Microbes–they literally make us healthier and happier!
As a bonus, check out this video of a panel discussion with Jeff Lowenfels, author of Teaming With Microbes a very important book about soil microbiology and a bunch of heavy hitters in the soil food web world at last year’s Emerald Cup Event!
That's great to hear! I know a lot of people have success in feeding bokashi pre-compost to their worms. Make sure to introduce it slowly at first. Thanks for the tip about the Red Wigglers. Happy composting :) Nicki (Bokashi Living team, www.bokashiliving.com)
A friend of mine The Worm Guy down here in South Africa now begs us for boakshi'd food-waste. He's a large scale worm farmer. I wish I had his picture of worms feeding on his onions.The real benefit, in my mind, is that (a) you no longer have to separate your food-waste, (b) as it's pre-digested and full of beneficial microbes there's no waiting before the worms get into it, (c) as mentioned, happier worms.Key here is that the worms are Red Wigglers. Dr Danuta Plisko a global worm expert, mentioned the other day that Red Wigglers tolerate (prefer?) low pH environments. So I don't know if other worm species would quite have the same love for boakshi'd food-waste.Best,Gav
Place your Bokashi Bucket where it is easy for you to use but out of direct sunlight and away from any heaters. Inside your kitchen, garage, laundry room or basement are great places to keep it.
When done correctly you’re Bokashi Bucket shouldn’t smell. Foul odors come when you don’t add enough Bokashi Activator, add too much scraps at a time, air gets into the bucket, or you’re not draining your bucket. Address these issues to fix a stinky bucket.
It’s good practice to drain your Bokashi Bucket or at least check it for liquids every 2-3 days.
Alongside your garden bed, around trees or in an area where you plan to plant are garden are great places to bury your fermented food scraps. Anywhere in your yard is fine too. We like to bury ours in a plastic storage bin with some soil or compost. In about 4 weeks, it’s ready for planting!