Blog piece contributed by Lucy, Garden Ambition
For many, Bokashi composting may be fairly new and unheard of. What is it exactly? Well, the term bokashi comes from a Japanese word that means “fermented organic matter.” It is a fermentation process that converts food waste into a highly nutrient-rich compost. Inoculated bran is introduced into the food waste which will break it down.
Bokashi composting is also better in many situations than traditional composting. There are a few problems with traditional composting like smell, space, changing landscapes, too much waste, and angry neighbors. With bokashi composting, these problems are out of the equation! It is also very convenient.
Not only that, in some composting methods, it may be restricted to certain types of waste. However, that is not the case here. With bokashi composting, everything can be used as it works on all types of food waste!
Lucy, Garden Ambition
How do you get started with bokashi composting?
First, buy yourself a bokashi composting kit. These start at as little as $45. It usually comes with a bin and two to three bags of premium bokashi bran. Usually, it is recommended to have another bin so that you can make a year-round supply. But this works well too!
So, what is the process of bokashi composting? I will outline it for you in four easy steps!
Food waste that can be fermented using bokashi composting.
- Place your food waste into your bokashi composter. It could be anything from meats, dairy products, bones, grains, baked items, vegetables and fruit scraps. However, not only those can be added. It can even be flowers, paper, and animal waste.
- Mix in a tablespoon or two of your bokashi bran into the food waste, just enough to coat. Repeat this process until the bin is full. This usually takes up to ten days or two weeks. Also, remember to press the bran into the food waste. Sprinkle another before closing the lid. If you have bones in the bin, they will not automatically turn into a mush a course of two weeks. Thus, it is recommended that you cut them up into smaller pieces.
- Once the bin is full, after two weeks, store the bin somewhere that is away from direct sunlight. Draw off liquid as well (the bin comes with a spigot), and it can be used as a fertilizer, albeit in a very diluted form. Bury your bin in your garden, compost pile, soil factory, or potting containers. After two more weeks, the pre-compost is ready to be mixed with the soil.
- Everything is now ready to be used. Prepare your garden. Grow your favorite fruits, vegetables, and flowers.
Start building your own garden once done with bokashi composting!
Bokashi Composting Tips
Bokashi composting can be a learning process. Here are the few things I learned while doing it.
- Since it is an anaerobic process, the bin must be free from oxygen as much as possible. When you are compressing the bokashi bran into your food waste, press it really flat. This is to eliminate as many air pockets as possible. Some sites even recommend using a plate to press down and leaving that same plate on top of the mixture to protect it from oxygen. You can also use plastic to cover the top.
- Remember to draw liquid from the bin. This helps maintain the environment where the bacteria thrive on. Remember when I said that the liquid can be used as a fertilizer? This must be used within a day or so.
- Though bokashi composting does not smell like a field of flowers, it should not smell like decay either. It typically has a pickle-y, yeasty odor. If you do notice something like this happening, it means that something has gone wrong. However, do not lose all hope! You can still salvage this by added more bokashi bran into the mixture. Usually, that helps. If that does not work, then it means that you will have to dump the contents of the entire bin and start all over again. Learn more about troubleshooting your bokashi bucket.
- After two weeks, when the bokashi mixture can be buried, this does not entirely mean that the process is already “done.” The mixture should not be touched after two weeks when it is a “pre-compost” as it is quite acidic. Only after a month, when the mixture is fully incorporated into the soil.
If you have vermicomposting worms, then it should be fine feeding them the pickled bokashi material. But note that this is quite acidic, and the worms can be sensitive to acidity. However, some people have done this, and their worms were fine. Learn more
Vermicomposting worms can be fed with the pickled bokashi mixture!
If you can, try bokashi composting! It is extremely easy. Even if some waiting game is involved, the whole process only takes up to five weeks.
Hi there! I’m Lucy – founder of GardenAmbition.com and I’m a self-confessed garden fanatic. Gardening has always been a passion of mine and will always be my favorite pastime. Now that I am married and have one adorable son, I have the time to write and share my personal experiences with other garden enthusiasts like me.