EM, or effective microorganism, are those good little microbes that are useful for composting, fertilizing, reducing odor & improving digestion. People usually use EM in bokashi compost, cleaning chicken coops & even purifying the water.

Brief EM background

EM was discovered by Dr. Teruo Higa in the 90s. What he found was that it was not only one type of good bacteria that could do the work. But instead, it was the synergy of different types of microorganism that had proven to be optimal. So he named this EM.

As for good microbes, the types we usually refer to are:

  • Bacteria
  • Fungi

For EM to work well, we will often see these guys in the mix:

  • Lactic acid bacteria: the guys that turn foods acidic
  • Yeast: those found in bread yeast or beer yeast
  • Photosynthetic bacteria
  • And some other fungi

Benefits of EM

EM, first of all, can be very cheap to make. It exists all around us on the foods we eat. Indeed, the microbes in one local area may be different from another local area. So it's recommended that we collect those native ones to best suit the local environment.

Secondly, EM are renewable. Once we collect the first generation of EM, we can use part of it to start a new generation EM2, EM3. This multiplication gives us a crowded family for longer usage at lower cost.

Finally, EM is safe for us humans, our plants, our pets & the overall eco-system. The idea is basically to use life (biology) to encourage or discourage other life forms in the places that we want.

Using EM in the garden can help add vitality back to old soil, prevent plants from diseases & shoo away undesirable insects, flies or pests. There will be less excessive reliance on harmful chemical fertilizers. Growers will enjoy good bountiful crops.

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