Bokashi and wormeries

Nutrient and microbe rich bokashi compostWhat is worm composting?

Composting with worms (or vermicomposting) is becoming an increasingly common way to compost food waste at home. Put simply, a worm composter (or wormery) is home for worms with a perfect environment to encourage them to eat as much of your food waste as possible and turn it into compost (worm castings… the polite term for worm poo).

Unlike bokashi composting, there are quite a few restrictions on what you can (and should) put into your vermicomposter. Do not add the following items to a worm composter:

  • meat,
  • bones,
  • dairy,
  • egg shells,
  • grease/ fat/ oil, and
  • pet or human feces.

How bokashi composting can support vermicomposting

Scrapping food waste into bokashi bucketBy adding bokashi composting to the vermicomposting process, vermicompsters are able to compost all food waste. Items in the list above that cannot be directly added to the wormery can be put into a bokashi bucket. After the 2 week fermentation period, the bokashi pre-compost can then be added to the wormery, following the instructions below.

Adding bokashi pre-compost to a worm composter

Bokashi fermentation is an acidic process. The pH of the final bokashi product can be around pH 3-4; fairly acidic. Worms do not like acidic conditions, preferring a near neutral pH.

Adding acidic bokashi pre-compost to a worm bin where the worms dislike acidic conditions sounds like a sure route to failure. However, bokashi pre-compost can be added directly to a wormery. In fact, many people have found that the worms love the bokashi food waste. The bokashi pre-compost is full of bokashi microbes that have worked on the food waste to make it soft and have started breaking it down. It may take the worms a few days to get used to the bokashi pre-compost. However, after adding bokashi pre-compost to the worm bin it breaks down in very little time.

Tips

As with any changes to a worm composter. You should keep an closer eye on your bin when introducing bokashi pre-compost. Here are a few tips for successfully adding bokashi pre-compost to your worm bin.

  1. Only add small amounts to start with. Increase the amount of bokashi pre-compost as the worms get used to it. Finally, you should be able to empty a bin load of bokashi waste into your worm bin. But if your worms start to show signs of not liking the bokashi pre-compost, then ease back on the amount that you feed them
  2. Also, remember to add extra paper or other carbon source to maintain an appropriate carbon/ nitrogen ratio.
  3. Adding bokashi will increase the acidity of your worm bin over time. Even if your worms get used to the bokashi food waste, they won’t thrive in an increasingly acidic environment. Add material to neutralize the acidity, such as lime.

In summary, many people have had great success adding bokashi fermented food waste to their wormery. However, make sure to take steps to neutralize the pH to prevent an increase in the overall bin acidity.

Order now! Find all your bokashi composting supplies in our online shop.

Other posts you might like to read:

What can I put in my bokashi bucket?

https://bokashiliving.com/how-to-bokashi-compost/

11 responses to “Bokashi and wormeries”

  1. Moses says:

    I’m wondering what would be the most effective way of measuring the pH in your wormbin. Also, any suggestions on knowing how much lime to add in? Or simply retest pH until it’s neutral?

    • Nicki Casley says:

      Hi, Thanks for the questions. Using a pH monitor is the best way of regularly checking the pH of your worm bin. Also, keep an eye on the behavior of your worms. Sick or dying worms are often an indication that something is wrong in your bin and, often times, it is related to the pH of the bin. Keep gradually adding lime to your worm bin until the pH has returned to neutral. Crushed eggshells also work to reduce the acidity of your bin.
      Happy composting 🙂

  2. Emily Lukens says:

    So Ive been getting conflicting opinions on if you can add bokashi processed meat/dairy/etc to worm bins. Some argue that since it has been fermented in the bokashi process, its fine to add, but others say that it is still a no-no. What are your thoughts?

    • Nicki Casley says:

      Thanks for the question. Yes, these are fine to be added to your worm bin after they have been through the bokashi fermentation process. This is one of the benefits of combining the two systems as it allows all the no-go items to be added to your worm bin. As with anything new for your worm bin, make sure that you add the bokashi pre-compost slowly at first, and then slowly increase the amount you add each time. If you notice that your worms are not happy, then add a little less.

  3. Nicki Casley says:

    Hi,

    Thanks for the question. The amount of lime you need to add will depend on how much bokashi pre-compost you want to add and the sensitivity of you worms to an acidic environment. Ideally, we would recommend adding the bokashi pre-compost in small quantities at first (without any additional lime) and getting to know how your worms respond to the bokashi pre-compost. Slowly increase the amount of bokashi pre-compost if your worms can handle it.

    Hope that helps 🙂

  4. Maria says:

    Can I use wood ash instead of lime? What is the final pH required? Thanks.

    • Nicki Casley says:

      Yes, wood ash will work to neutralize the acidic bokashi pre-compost. Anything that has an pH greater than 7 will help to reduce the acidity of your worm bin. Ideally you’re aiming for a neutral environment for your worms; a pH of around 6 or 7.

  5. Barbara says:

    Hello!
    How does adding lime to the wormery with bokashi help with the acidity? I’d think it helps it get even more acid. Could you explain?
    Thanks you very much 🙂

    • Nicki Casley says:

      Hey, thanks for the question. Lime is alkaline and so it will neutralize the acidity of the soil and make it more neutral. Happy composting 🙂

  6. Tamsyn Speight says:

    Hi there,
    I would like to know if your bins are made of 100% recycled plastic? The system sounds great and I would love to try it, but i don’t want to bring yet more plastic into circulation.
    Could you also tell me if adding ones pickled bokashi product to a compost pile could attract rats or flies?
    Thanks,. Tamsyn

    • Nicki Casley says:

      Hi Tamsyn,

      Thanks for your questions. Our bins are made from 100% poly-propylene (PP) food grade resin. They are made from this material so that they do not leach any plastic resin into either foods or liquids. All of us at Bokashi Living are passionate about minimizing our environmental impact and work hard to offer the best options to our customers. In the end, we realized that the greater good that could be achieved thru promoting bokashi composting, and making it easily accessible, far outweighed (to us, at least) the introduction of plastics. So, with that in mind we went out to source and manufacture a bin with the best environmental approach possible. These are premium quality bokashi bins, custom made for us with superior quality lids and spigots, ensuring that they are easier to use and durable enough to handle repeated use.

      In answer to your second question, the bokashi composting process should not be attractive to pests and animals. Therefore you can go ahead and add your bokashi pre-compost to your compost pile without attracting unwanted pests.

      Happy composting 🙂

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