All you have to remember is to salt and submerge. We like to tell people, “Sinking in brine conquers evil every time.
1. Keep your ferment comfortable. If the temperature is too cold the bacteria cannot eat and multiply fast enough to acidify your vegetables properly. (It is this acidification that preserves—not the salt.) If it is too hot they may work to quickly to do a good job.
2. Watch for the air pockets building as the CO2 releases. If your ferment looks like a glass of champagne you know it is time to press down the vegetables so that the brine surrounds the vegetables again.
3. It should smell. But make sure it is a pleasing smell, like vinegar and pickles, not rotten like compost or rotting potatoes.
4. Scum happens. Maybe you see something growing on top of your ferment. This is where the air and oxygen are mingling with your ferment. Sometimes this can cause yeast or even mold to grow. Don’t worry. Just take this top layer off and throw it into your compost pile. Everything under anaerobic brine is safe and delicious.
5. Sometimes you will feed the worms and not your family. If something went wrong and you have air-pockets and stink and scum and maybe even slime throughout, just throw it out. You will know it is bad—there is no question, all of your senses will tell you so. Most importantly, don’t worry; we all have unsuccessful batches now and then. If you do, it's okay—don’t be afraid to try again.