On-Farm Recipe Trials and Yield Impact from fermented compost (bochasi) for vegetables

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2015: $5,680.00
Projected End Date: 02/15/2017
Grant Recipient: Perkins' Good Earth Farm
Region: North Central
State: Indiana
Project Coordinator:
Daniel Perkins
Perkins' Good Earth Farm

Annual Reports


  • Vegetables: beans, greens (leafy)


  • Crop Production: foliar feeding, nutrient cycling, organic fertilizers
  • Education and Training: technical assistance, extension
  • Natural Resources/Environment: soil stabilization
  • Soil Management: composting, soil analysis, nutrient mineralization, organic matter, soil quality/health
  • Sustainable Communities: local and regional food systems


    “Bochasi” or fermented compost is a valuable soil amendment according to a review of literature and social media, as well as small scale production we conducted in 2013.  However, we need to finalize a “recipe” using raw materials-leaves, digester solids, and/or kitchen scraps, and test the impact on vegetable yields. 

    Year 1 report had compost analysis results and a greenhouse rate trial from the three recipes.  Leaf bochasi at 10% of a potting media performed the best of all the recipes.  Leaf bochasi at 20 and 30% of potting mix showed a negative effect.

    It appears the leaf compost offered the best potential for effect at the lowest rate with the most volume of material locally available.  Leaf compost recipe was chose for year 2016 trial.

    Compost analysis of 2016 Leaf Compost Recipe attached.

     A slight yield advantage was found with bochasi on radish total yield, but more testing needs to be done.  Especially given that test plots had very high fertility as noted in results section.  A poorer soil may show yield benefit more significantly. 


    Currently, we use leaves that have been cold composted for 4 years as our main soil improvement amendment.  However, this requires a long wait time, heavy equipment and significant land to produce enough material.  We are machine and land limited on our farm.  Bochasi, may offer a more time efficient and scale appropriate way to boost soil health and crop yield, especially in our hoophouse production which is highly valuable and intensively cropped. 

    Project objectives:



    To determine the effect of BC on the yields of vegetable production, a randomized complete block design will be used as advised by Dr. Hoagland.  Treatment and control.  BC will be applied to 15 bed feet for the summer and fall plantings in block design.  Annual soil testing is done already and that information will be used as part of this project.


    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.