Going the EM way

It’s about two weeks now since I’ve been using EM at my farm having learnt about its efficacy from users. It’s too early to know the difference it has made. I thought why not share the info about EM with you what this is.

Discovered by Dr Higa of Ryukyus, Okinawa (Japan), EM or Effective Microorganisms is a specific group of naturally occurring beneficial microorganisms with an amazing ability to revive, restore, and preserve. Microorganisms are tiny units of life that are too small to be seen with the naked eye and they exist everywhere . Microorganisms are crucial for maintaining the ecological balance. They carry out chemical processes that make it possible for all other organisms including humans to live. These are friendly guys of the microbial worlds known as beneficial microorganisms and a not so friendly group called pathogens that are harmful and capable of producing disease, decay and pollution.

Effective micro-organisms (EM) consist of common and food-grade aerobic and anaerobic micro-organisms: photosynthetic bacteria, lactobacillus, streptomyces, actinomycetes, yeast, etc. The strains of the micro-organisms are commonly available from microbe banks or from the environment. There are no genetically engineered strains that are in use. EM has been introduced in India very recently and has been in use in Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra since couple of years with excellent results. At least that’s what farmers have told.

Current research indicates that EM cultures can suppress soil-borne pathogens, accelerate the decomposition of organic wastes, increase the availability of mineral nutrients and useful organic compounds to plants, enhance the activities of beneficial micro-organisms, e.g., mycorrhizae, nitrogen fixing bacteria, and reduce the need for chemical fertilisers and pesticides. EM helps to increase beneficial soil micro-organisms and suppression of harmful ones.

EM is a combined culture of aerobic microorganisms (requiring oxygen to survive) and anaerobic (requires no oxygen to survive) that co-exist together to the mutual advantage of both (symbiosis). It combines with the existing microorganisms within the soil and works in tandem to build a healthy living soil. A trade mark product used to identify this particular mixture of beneficial organisms, EM is not toxic or pathogenic and is safe for humans, animals and the environment. EM has been used on many different soils and crops over a range of conditions. EM is not a substitute for other management practices. EM technology is an added dimension for optimising our best soil. Marketed by Marble Org India, EM is available in one litre and five litre packaging.

How to make it?

Take a 20ltr bucket and add the following:

  • 18lts Warm water (chlorine free)
  • 150 ml of Natural Vinegar
  • 150ml Whiskey or ethyl alcohol
  • 150 kg of Molasses (Chemical free gur)
  • 1ltr EM liquid concentrate (Rs 285)

Stir thoroughly. Keep the bucket in shade and leave it covered for four days. On the fifth day you will smell a sweet-smelling liquid brown in colour. This mix will make a non-toxic chemical free insect repellent. It can be used to prevent pest and disease problems in the garden. It acts by creating a barrier around the plant thereby protecting it from insects. The mix can be enhanced by including garlic, hot peppers or aloe vera. These are chopped or mashed before adding to the mix.

How to use it?

Pour a ltr of the mix into the farm sprayer along with 14 ltrs of water. Spraying can begin from seed germination or plant establishment and before pests and diseases can be seen. Spray weekly either in the morning or after heavy rains for best results.

As a foliage application apply twice a week spraying directly on to the plants ensuring through wetting. As a soil application spray once in 10 days. As a compost application apply to the compost heap to cut troublesome odours and flies as well as improving the compost process and quality.

Keep reading the posts I shall keep you updated my farm is faring with EM sprays.

Ends

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