If you’re familiar with bokashi composting you are probably aware that you can put all food waste into your kitchen composter. This includes, bones, meat, cooked food, grains, baked items, coffee grounds, vegetable and fruit scraps… Everything. In fact, the list can be extended to include all compostable items; cut flowers, used tissues, dirty or wet paper even dog and animal waste.
Even though all these things can be composted in the bokashi composter, not everyone will necessarily want to, or need to, put all these in. What are the best things to put in your bokashi composter?
What are the best things to put in your bokashi composter?
Firstly, think about why are you using the bokashi composter?
The main reason for bokashi composting varies between individuals but these can be broadly grouped into:
- making high-quality compost and building healthy soils, and
- reducing household waste.
Obviously many people (including myself) do it for both of these reasons. The reason will likely influence your choose of which items are best to put into your composter.
1. To make high-quality compost and build healthy soils
Bokashi composting is a fantastic way to add essential microbes to your soil. These microbes support life in your soil and are critical for developing healthy, productive soils and, in turn, strong, healthy plants. Read more about the importance of healthy soil and bokashi composting’s role here.
If your focus is on building healthy soils then you want to maximize the number of bokashi microbes in your fermented bin. The bokashi microbes love food waste so make sure to collect all of your food scraps. You might want to leave out bones and tough skins (such as avocado skins) as these take longer to break down in your soil and the bokashi bacteria can’t penetrate them as easily as other food waste. If you add bones and tough skins to your bin you’ll likely see them in your soil for some time. Avoid putting in bulky, non-food items such as cut flowers, compostable plastics, used tissues and food contaminated paper. Whilst these are fine in the bokashi composter, they take up space and won’t add much value to your soil.
If you are only need to make enough bokashi compost for containers in your rooftop or balcony garden then you can be even more selective. Choose food waste which is small (less than an inch in size) so that it will break down quickly. If you only need a limited amount of bokashi compost, you may also choose to avoid putting meats and cooked food in your bin as these typically take longer to ferment.
2. Reducing household waste
Food waste typically makes up around a third of household waste. Bokashi composting offers a simple and effective way to prevent food waste from ending up in your local landfill and thereby can reduce your household waste by a third.
If your focus is on reducing your household waste and striving for zero waste living, then you will want to take advantage of being able to add all food waste to your bokashi kitchen composter. In addition, you can use your bokashi composter to save lots of other items from the landfill; anything compostable in fact. Used tissues, dirty or wet paper (such as butchers paper, paper towel), cut flowers, and compostable plastics. These items will all break down (eventually) through the bokashi composting process although you may need to set up a three bin composting system if you are going to add lots of extra items to your bokashi bin.
The decision about what items you put into the bokashi bucket will often vary between households. It will depend on a variety of factors; do you have an existing compost pile, do you have time to separate your food waste; do you have a organics pick-up etc. The bokashi system is so simple and easy that it can readily be adapted to suit your needs. Go ahead and play around with it to find out what works best for you and what your plants love most.