Using Microorganisms to Promote Healthy Soil for Healthy Plants and Healthy Farmers, Part 6

A primer on using EM (efficient microorganisms) making your own organic fertilizer.

Read Part 5.

How to Benefit from EM-Power

Making your own compost:

• Dilute 1 liter EMAS with 50 liters of water. Spray this onto your usual compost pile to hasten decomposition. It will take about 3 to 4 weeks instead of the usual six months, depending on the materials used for your compost.

• Bokashi can also be used to hasten decomposition. Spread a thin layer of bokashi on every 10-15 cm of compost materials. Fermented kitchen waste and farm waste can be used. Ferment biodegradable kitchen waste like fruit and vegetable peels, entrails, leftover food using the Mr. Brown Fermentation Bin.You may also make your own contraption.

These fresh kitchen wastes can be chopped into small pieces.Squeeze as much liquid as you can out of the materials. Place a piece of newspaper on the elevated bottom plate of the bin. Apply a thin layer of bokashi.Place the daily kitchen waste on top. With every layer, always apply bokashi.

The Mr. Brown bin can be filled up within a week’s time by a family of 5 to 7 members.Remove the liquid that is collected at the bottom of the bin through the faucet provided. Dilute the yellowish brown liquid, which is called “bokashi juice,” 50 to 100 times and pour into the soil where you have plants. This is a good soil conditioner filled with millions of friendly microbes.

Fermenting biodegradable public market wastes like fruit and vegetable peels and the entrails of fish and chicken. Do not use rotten fish or meat. Your sense of smell is your tester. Chop these into small pieces.

Remove as much liquid as possible. The waste should not include toxic disinfectants or antimicrobial soap residues.

Apply bokashi thinly on the waste material. Place the treated materials inside a recycled onion bag or plastic woven bag. If using a PE plastic sack, punch as many ¼” holes around the bottom part of the bag as needed. 20 holes will do to allow the liquid to be excreted through the fermentation process.

Place bags inside a blue plastic drum with black cover. At the bottom of the drum, place a small stool—one made of stainless steel is best for this purpose—measuring 10” x 12” x 4” high. This is to allow the liquid to be separated from the bags.

A faucet at the bottom of the drum will allow the liquid to be collected.

The resulting bokashi juice can be used as a soil conditioner by diluting it 50 times with clean water, or if it is to be used as foliar, diluted 100 to 200 times for plants. Diluted 50 times, it can also be used to neutralize odors in market garbage piles and eliminate flies—because if there is no odor, there are no flies After one or two weeks, the fermented waste can be mixed with the soil in city parks, road islands, planted pathways along sidewalks, or potted plants. Dig shallow holes around trees and apply the fermented waste. Cover with topsoil to about a foot deep and water with EMAS diluted 50x. Cover the treated plot with rice straw if the weather is very hot.

The fermented market wastes can also be used as basal fertilizer in garden vegetable plots or urban farms. Dig a trench about a foot deep under the planned planting plots. Apply the fermented waste to about 6 inches deep. Apply EMAS diluted 50 times before covering the trench with topsoil.The depth depends on the crops to be planted. If planting leafy greens, the topsoil can just be 6 to 8 inches thick over the fermented waste material.

In three to four weeks, the fermented waste will be become compost, enriched with lots of micronutrients and millions of beneficial microbes.Use EM-power to condition your soil and protect your vegetables, rice, corn, and trees. It’s the cheapest soil conditioner and plant protector!

(Story continues after photo.)

For vegetable farmers:

• After harvest, the vegetable rejects, stumps, and leaves left on the field can rot and develop billions of pathogens that will harbor soil-borne diseases. You can avoid this by spraying them with EMAS diluted 50 times and applying a thin layer of bokashi on the waste materials. Plow them under with a power tiller or cover them with soil with a hoe. Do this immediately after harvest. This will hasten the decomposition of the remaining plant parts and convert them into organic basal fertilizer instead of rotten, foul-smelling garbage with lots of flies and pathogens.

• For a cleared field before planting, apply 1-2 kg bokashi per square meter of planting area. Compost can be applied simultaneously. Rotavate with a hand tractor or use a hoe.

• Dilute 150 ml of EM-V in 1 liter of water or 1-2 liters per 16 liters of water and spray this once a week on plants.

• Dilute 30-160 ml of EM-5 to 16 liters of water and spray this onthe leaves, stems, and soil once a week to prevent pest infestations and diseases. If pests start to build up, spray the solution 1 to 3 times a week.

For Fruit Trees

• Put all the fallen leaves and grass around the base of the tree. Add a thin layer of bokashi to hasten their decomposition.

Dilute 1 liter of EMAS to 50 liters water and pour this around the tree. This will serve as mulching for weeds and will soon become fertilizer for the tree. Once a week to twice a month, sidedress with bokashi on the soil under the canopy of the plant. Cover with a thin layer of soil. Dilute 1 liter EMAS to 200 liters of water and pour it around the fruit tree.

• For oil palm or coconut trees, apply the kernel pulp or shredded coconut husk around the tree and apply bokashi with diluted EMAS 50x. Apply bokashi and EMAS every week for three weeks. Cover with a thin layer of soil. Then twice a year, sidedress 5kg of bokashi per tree and dilute 1 liter of EMAS to 100 liters of water and pour 1 liter of diluted EMAS (DEMS) per tree.

• Dilute 1-2 liters of EM-V and 30ml-160 ml EM-5 to 16 liters of water and use this separately as foliar spray to prevent pest infestations and diseases.

Foliar Applications

• Spray EMAS, EM-5, or EM-V once a week to supplement plants with additional nutrients, improve photosynthesis, and control insect pests and diseases. Just dilute 30-150 ml of EMAS, EM-5, or EM-V with 16 liters of water. If symptoms of pests and diseases are noticed, spray twice to 3 times a week and
observe their recurrence.

For Rice Seed and Seedling Preparation

• In 200 liters of water, dilute 200 ml of EMAS. Soak rice seeds for 12 hours. Remove the water and wash the seeds thrice to remove carbon dioxide accumulated during the soaking. Again, dilute 200ml EMAS in 200 liters of water and soak rice seeds for another 12 hours. This will hasten seed germination and prevent the development of seed-borne diseases.

• Prepare seedbeds 5-7 days before sowing by broadcasting 1-2 kilos of bokashi per square meter and spraying 1 liter of EMAS diluted in 100 liters water.

• 15 days after sowing, dilute EMAS, 1-2 liters of EM-V, and 30-150ml of EM-5 in 16 liters of water and spray this on seedlings at least once a week. This will promote healthy root development and prevent pest infestations and diseases.

Rice Field Preparation and Crop Management

• After harvest, add all crop residues and compost to the field and apply 1,000 kg of bokashi per hectare.

• Dilute 1 liter of EMAS to 200 liters of water per hectare and use this to water the whole field.

• One month before next cultivation, do the first plowing. Dilute 1 liter EMAS in 100 liters of water per hectare. Apply this to a flooded field during land preparation. Leave it for 20 days until the weeds germinate. Do the second plowing and incorporate the weeds into the soil.

• 15 days after transplanting, dilute 1-2 liters of EM-V and 30-160 ml EM-5 in 16 liters of water, and use this separately as foliar spray to prevent pest infestations and diseases.

Broadcast 500-1000 kg of bokashi per hectare once a month for additional nutrients.During its flowering stage, instead of spraying, pour EMAS or EM-Von the side of the dike.

Read Part 7.

This article was prepared by the Harbest Organix Department of Harbest Agribusiness Corporation, with its major reference being the EM Training Manual 2011 Edition published by the EM Kyusei Natural Farming Center, Saraburi, Thailand. Write us for guidance and a free consultation. You can reach us at the numbers given above and [email protected] or [email protected]. You can also visit our blog online at

This appeared as “Healthy Soil for Healthy Plants and Healthy Farmers” without a byline in Agriculture Monthly’s September 2015 issue.

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Agriculture Monthly magazine is the Philippines' best-selling magazine on all things agriculture. It is packed with information and inspiration on how to make the most of your farm or garden.

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    1. […] Using Microorganisms to Promote Healthy Soil for Healthy Plants and Healthy Farmers, Part 6 […]

    2. Good to use.
      Good to earth
      Good to health.

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