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EM-1 Microbial Inoculant

EM-1 Microbial Inoculant

EM or effective microbes, a combination of soil- and plant-borne microbes, developed by Dr. Teruo Higa who realized that an active microbial life in the soil and on plants was a better solution than synthetic chemical fertilizers. A liquid combination of yeasts, actinomycetes and two kinds of bacteria, photosynthetic and lactic, which promotes plant health and growth and improves nutrient absorption and soil fertility. Increase the volume of active microbes by further fermentation. Adam Tomash raved that for two years in a row he sprayed his tomatoes several times with activated EM-1 and they made it into September with no significant blight damage. EM-1 is also useful for making rice hulls and molasses into low-cost homemade Bokashi bran.

To “activate” EM-1

Note on Organic Molasses: Organic molasses tends to have some type of pH buffer in it, which sometimes prevents the fermentation process. You can add in an equal amount of vinegar (apple cider, wine, etc.) to the molasses to help break the pH buffer.

You can increase the volume of effective microbes provided by EM-1 through fermentation. Mix one part EM-1 and one part molasses with 20 parts warm water, 110°. Put into an airtight bottle or brewing container with an airlock. Ferment at room temperature for 3–5 days. (If you use an airtight bottle, unscrew the lid daily to release pressure buildup.) Let the activated EM-1 rest for 5–7 days. By then it should smell slightly alcoholic. Use within 45 days.

For 5 quarts of activated EM-1, use 1 cup each of EM-1 and molasses with 4½ quarts water.
For 1 quart of activated EM-1, use 1½ fl oz each of EM-1 and molasses with 3½ cups water.

Recommended uses for activated EM-1:

  • As a component of the Holistic Orchard Spray. A 5-qt batch of activated EM-1 is enough for the spring applications; then brew 1 qt in fall.
  • As a drench for transplants, make a 4% solution (1 part activated EM-1 to 24 parts water) and apply it to the furrow or hole.
  • As a foliar spray use 1½–3 gal/acre or 4½–9 oz/1000 sq ft of activated EM-1 mixed with enough water to provide coverage.
  • As a soil treatment apply 40 gal/acre of activated EM-1 over the course of a year.
  • To help break down crop residue spray the fields after harvest with 1–5 gal of activated EM-1 per acre.
  • Add to compost to speed up the breakdown and digestion of plant material.
Item Discounted
8175A: quart (3#) $33.00
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Additional Information

Organic Certification

Inoculants, soil amendments, fertilizers, livestock supplies and pesticides are labeled as:
OMRI: Organic Materials Review Institute. Most state certifying agencies, including MOFGA, accept OMRI approval.
MOFGA: Maine Organic Farmers & Gardeners Association. Reviewed by MOFGA and allowed for use on MOFGA-certified farms. Check with your certifier.
WSDA: The Washington State Department of Agriculture’s Organic Certifying division has approved these products for use in organic agriculture in Washington State. MOFGA has indicated that they will accept products on this list for their certification program. Check with your certifier.
Nat’l List: One-ingredient products on the NOP* List of Allowed Substances (subpart G of the Organic Foods Production Act, sections 205.601-606). Check with your certifier.
AYC: Products whose active ingredient is on the list of allowed substances, but which are not on the OMRI or WSDA list. Ask your certifier.
Not Allowed: A few of the products we list are not allowed for organic production but we think they have a place in sensible agriculture and can be used when certification is not an issue.

• Click here for our list of soil amendments, fertilizers, and disease and insect controls along with their certification status and manufacturers.

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