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Frequently Asked Questions

What's the difference between EM and Activated EM? Can I keep re-activating my Activated EM?

I wish! Sadly EM is a bit different from yogurt or sourdough making. The first activation will turn out very closely similar to the mother culture, but with subsequent activations the intricate balance of microbe species and numbers will start to shift, and the effectiveness will decrease. I only ever use fresh mother culture when activating.

EM mother culture can be used the same way as Activated EM, but for economic reasons most people buy it to make their own activation. If you're new to gardening with EM and you just want to try it out, or if you don't want to spend the time and effort of activating, then go for the already activated product.

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Product Application Conversion Rates

Here is a handy conversion table to help you figure out dilution rates.

It's important to get enough of a dilution with water in order to facilitate proper coverage and not overwhelm plants with certain organic fertilizers and microbial inoculants.

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Product Recipes

For ongoing health management of food crops, gardens, and lawns, I generally end up coming back to the same formulas.

Granted, I often do a soil test once a year and use specific products until I have the nutrient ratios balanced and I also play around with refractometers and other fun tools to zero in on the most important products to be using at any given time, but for day to day optimization of health, I often use the same basic recipes. I've outlined them below.

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Which products to use?

Choosing which products to use can be a daunting task. They all look so interesting, and many of them seem to be fairly similar. If you've read my product recipes article, you'll have seen that I use them all, because they all bring distinct and incredible benefits (that's why I sell them), but I'd like to summarize here the key differences between them for those who want to start with just a couple of products.

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Making Activated EM (AEM)

Effective Microorganisms (EM) can be activated so that you end up with approximately 20 times the original amount. This is definitely not necessary, but it is often done to save money. It also helps to awaken dormant microbes. Application rates are the same either way.

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All about Bokashi

Bokashi is traditionally a fermented substrate such as rice bran or wheat bran, but it can also be made with many other kinds of waste materials such as sawdust, manure, other grain scraps, etc.

It is fermented (kind of pickled) by mixing it with effective microorganisms (EM). It has traditionally been done to make use of the above waste materials, which are transformed into the some of most incredibly beneficial organic matter possible for the garden.

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Products in Composting

Almost all of my products are excellent to incorporate into compost, but there are a few that come to mind as being at the top of the list. They will not necessarily make a poorly built compost into a good compost, but they can greatly increase the speed of decomposition and improve the final product:

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