BOCASHI OR BOKASHI

BOCASHI

This fertilizer has been tried by many Mexican and other Latin American Farmers. In each place the ingredientes vary, the result of trial and error and local knowledge.To prepare 200 kg (about 12 gunny sacks) of bocashi Ingredientes

5 sacks of manure 
5 sacks of rice hulls or 4 bails of oat or barley straw. 
5 sacks local soil, without clods or rocks 
1 sack charcoal dust or small pieces (this can be made from corn husks, etc). 
10 kg rice polishings, wheat bran or pig feed. 
10 kg of agricultural lime 
1 lbs bread yeast. 
4 liters of molasses 
200 liters water

Prepartion Gather appropriate quantity of ingredients in an area that is protected from sun and rain, near a water source. Otherwise the prepared fertilizer should be covered with a large sheet of plastic or equivalent. A cement floor is good.

1. The ingredients are layered in the following order: rice hulls, soil, manure, charcoal, bran, lime.

2. It is placed by layers the ingredients in the following order: husk of rice or straw, earth, dung, coal, polisher of rice or concentrated bran or, lime.

3. The molasses and yeast is mixed with (luke warm) water and then added to the water to be used.

4. The water mix should be applied uniformly as the pile is made. NO FURTHER WATER SHOULD BE ADDED.

The 'fist test' for the right amount of humidity: firmly squeeze a handful of bocachi. When released it should stay in a ball that falls apart easily. If it falls apart water is lacking, if water drips out, its too wet. Too much water is corrected by adding more dry matter.

5. We recommend turning the heap at least 2 or 3 times so that it is uniformly mixed.

6. Once mixed, it should be extended in a pile about 50cms high.

7. Cover with sacks or a plastic tarp.

During the first three days the fermentation is intense and temperature can reach above 80º C, which should not be permitted. Try and keep temperatures below 50º C by turning the heap twice a day, morning and evening.As it heats up over the first three days it is a good idea to extend the heap more to a height of around 20 cms. After about 4 days, one turning per day is sufficient. Between 12 and 15 days (depending on climate and specific ingredientes) the compost should be ready. It will be at ambient temperature and will be completely dry, gray in color with a sandy consistency. It has a pleasant smell (like a Japanese nursery).Bocashi has many uses. Aged, (2-3 months) and sifted (with the charcoal pulverised) mixed with 60 to 90% loam, it is used in seed boxes. A small handful can be placed in the hole and covered with a little soil for transplanting vegetables. It can be applied in a band during the growing phase. For corn, a motoroil can spread in a circle around each hill, just before flowering.

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Yovany Munguia, country director for SHI's Honduran affiliate, provided this recipe:

To make 100 pounds of bocashi you need: 

1. 30 pounds of rich soil
2. 20 pounds of a nitrogen-rich plant material (such as legume leaves)
3. 20 pounds of sawdust, rice shucks or rotten wood (for ventilation)
4. 20 pounds of some type of manure, such as cow, pig or chicken manure, or fermented coffee grounds. (If you use chicken manure, you will probably want 40 pounds of manure, as this usually contains the sawdust or rice shucks mentioned in #3, above, already.)
5. 1 gallon of molasses, cane juice or cane candy
6. 1 bag (about 25 pounds) of carbon (ash; charcoal dust or small pieces of charcoal; this may be made from corn husks, etc.)
7. 1 pound of a leavening agent (bread yeast) 

This mixture is turned twice a day for 15 days, then it's "ready to feed the earth," according to SHI field staff.

Geralyn D

Ref: http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/biochar/message/10824

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