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Bokashi composting: how to get started

One of the beauties of bokashi composting is it’s simplicity and this is true from the start. Read our top tips to get started with bokashi composting.

What equipment do you need?

Bokashi composting starter kit

All you need to get started with bokashi composting is a bokashi kitchen composter (often called a bokashi bucket), some bokashi bran and a supply of food scraps.

– Bokashi bucket:

The bokashi bucket needs to be airtight with a tight fitting lid and a spigot to allow easy draining of the bokashi tea. The environment inside a bokashi buckets is anaerobic without excess moisture. These are the ideal conditions for the bokashi microbes to thrive and to easily ferment your kitchen waste.

Note that most people use two bokashi buckets. This allows you to continuously collect and ferment your food scraps.

– Bokashi bran: 

The bokashi bran is teeming with essential microbes ready to ferment your food waste. Just 1 heaping tablespoon of bokashi bran contains all the microbes you typically need for a days worth of food waste.

– Food waste:

The final ingredient for your bokashi composting is the food waste itself. Everything can go into your bokashi composter; meat, dairy, cooked food, fruit and vegetable scraps… everything. Simply collect it in a bowl on your kitchen side and add to your bokashi bucket every day or so.

Setting up your bokashi bucket

Bokashi indoor kitchen composter

Each of our bokashi kitchen composters include a bucket, a drainer plate, a spigot and a lid. When setting up your bokashi bucket for the first time make sure that the spigot is turned to the ‘closed position’ and place the drainer plate level in the bottom of the bucket. That’s it! You are now ready to start adding your food waste.

After you’ve added your food waste and bokashi bran, make sure that you close the lid firmly to make an airtight seal.

Our 4-step Bokashi Composting Guide (included free in every bokashi starter kit) will tell you everything you need to know to easily bokashi compost your food waste.

Best place to store your bokashi bucket

There really is no ‘best place’. It completely depends on what works for you and your household. Lots of people keep their bokashi bucket in the convenience of their kitchen, close to where most food waste is produced. Next to your recycling bins or under the kitchen sink are great options. However, you can keep it wherever works for you. Just remember to keep it out of direct sunlight and around room temperature.

What to expect when you start bokashi composting

Vegetable growing with bokashi

Bokashi is really easy and forgiving. But don’t worry if the first couple of buckets are less than perfect. Maybe this is your first time composting food waste. It can seem odd to collect and store your food waste in your kitchen after having spent years throwing it away.

After just a couple of buckets you will find the rhythm that works for you. You’ll start to see your garden benefit and you will no longer see your food scraps as ‘waste’. Instead you will understand them to be a valuable resource from your kitchen.

And microbes? The select microbes in bokashi composting are extremely beneficial for soil structure and plant root development.  Once you see the results yourself, the bokashi microorganisms will likely become your new gardening best friends.

Happy bokashi’ing!

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

Other posts you might like to read:

Why should I compost at home?

48 responses to “Bokashi composting: how to get started”

  1. Mark says:

    Hello, I’ve tried several runs and they always end up with blue mold. I have the skaza organko 2. I have followed all the necessary steps bit every outcome ends up the same with a failed bucket. I understand the bucket should be airtight and the cover plate pushed down on the compost. With this bucket design, I do not see how it can become airtight with the drain holes in the interior bucket and the top lid not fitting tightly. Could it be I have a defective composter?

    • Nicki Casley says:


      Thanks for the question. I’m afraid we are not familiar with this bokashi bucket. As you say, the bokashi bucket needs to be airtight as the bokashi fermentation process is anaerobic. If you are seeing blue mold this could also be a problem with your bokashi bran. Your bokashi bran needs to be stored in an airtight container, at room temperature, and out of direct sun. When stored correctly it should remain viable for at least 18 months. If the bokashi bran is older or stored incorrectly, then your bucket is more likely to fail. Either way, we would recommend contacting the company directly with your concerns.

  2. […] Bokashi composting: how to get started […]

  3. Jo says:

    Two questions:
    What do I do with pre compost in 40 below winter?
    Can I flush pre compost down drain in an apartment?

    • Nicki Casley says:

      Hi Jo,

      Thanks for the questions. There are a few things you can do with your bokashi pre-compost when the ground is frozen outside. The most popular methods are to either make a soil factory or to simply store the bokashi pre-compost in an airtight container until the ground can be worked. There is lots of useful information about bokashi composting through the winter in this blog:

      We would not recommend flushing the pre-compost down the drain in an apartment. This could cause drainage problems even if the food waste is fully fermented. Plus, the fermented food waste will make fantastic soil; it seems a shame to flush it down the drain. Hopefully one of the ideas in the blog post above will help.

      Happy composting 🙂

  4. […] Bokashi composting: how to get started […]

  5. […] Maybe you are already upcycling for your garden, and you didn’t even realize. When you think about it: composting is upcycling. Composting turns leftover food scraps and waste into a higher value product: compost (affectionately called ‘black gold’ by some gardeners. Find out how to start upcycling your food waste into nutrient and microbe rich compost with an indoor bokashi composter (how to get started with bokashi composting). […]

  6. […] Food waste is packed with nutrients that your garden can use to thrive. Instead of throwing this in the trash, turn it into valuable compost for your garden. Bokashi composting is a fast and easy way to compost your food waste. Read more about how to get started with bokashi composting. […]

  7. Krisz says:

    Hello, can I put the pit of a peach or mango into the bokashi bucket? Thank you!

  8. Damian says:

    Would the pre compost be good for a worm bin? I know im not supposed to put meat in them but it sure wpuld be easy for me if this is an option

  9. Michelle says:

    Hi , I’m curious since I don’t have a lot of soil supply, living in an urban setting, can i bury the bokashi pre-compost into other normal buckets than I’ve filled up with soil and allow the pre-compost to finish decomposing there? If yes, what environment should it be in? Anaerobic or aerobic? Under direct sunlight? Or with the bucket covered but not all the way? Do I have to water it as well?

    Thanks a lot for continuing to educate us with bokashi! It really eases up my subconscious worrying about waste managament, especially food scraps that come from our household. Hopefully i can educate others as well.

    • Nicki Casley says:


      Thanks for the questions. Absolutely, you can bury the bokashi pre-compost into buckets with soil. This is commonly known as a soil factory. The pre-compost typically takes slightly longer to break down than when buried directly in the soil. The soil factory does not need to be anaerobic (the life in your soil needs aerobic conditions to thrive) and away from direct sunlight. We recommend putting a loose cover over the top to prevent rain getting in, Soil factories are sometimes prone to getting too wet so don’t add any extra water. If possible, add drain holes to allow excess water to drain. We have a whole blog post on soil factories, which you might like to read:

      Thanks for the kind words. Food waste and depleted soils are both huge problems. Happy to help with any other questions you may have and great to hear that you are spreading the word about bokashi composting 🙂

      Happy composting

  10. Holly Himes says:

    I filled my bucket and set outside to rest and saw some mold growing on top. I covered with more kobashi, any suggestions on what to do? or how to prevent?

  11. Jo Earle says:

    Can I put dog’s hair into my Bokashi bucket?

  12. […] in our garden soilBokashi composting: how to get startedComposting with coffee grounds Bokashi composting […]

  13. Becky Schaller says:

    I have heard that Bokashi pre-compost smells so bad that adding it to your compost pile
    serves as a deterrent too rats. Have you found this to be true?

    • Nicki Casley says:

      Bokashi pre-compost is very acidic; the bokashi process works by fermenting (or pickling) your food waste. This acidity will detract pests from eating the bokashi pre-compost. Hence, making bokashi a great way to compost food waste that would otherwise attract pests (such as cooked food, meat, bones, grains, egg shells etc). I have not heard of people using bokashi pre-compost as a rat deterrent…. but I guess it may work.

  14. Ayumi says:

    Hi! I just got the bokashi starter kit and very excited about starting it. Just a quick question, can I put clam shells and fish guts in my bokashi bin? I’ve been cross-searching about bokashi composting in Japanese as well (I think that’s originally where it came from) and I recall some sources say you shouldn’t put them. Also what about used paper towels?

    • Nicki Casley says:

      You are correct, bokashi composting was originally developed in Japan. Clam shells and fish guts are perfectly fine to be added to the bokashi bucket. You may wish to break up or crush the clam shells so that they break down more quickly.

      Paper towels can be added to your bokashi bin. However, there is little nutrient value in dirty paper towels, therefore you may not want to take up valuable space in your bokashi bin with paper towels. So whilst you can add them to your bokashi, you may choose not to. It depends what’s your main driver for using bokashi; making soil or reducing household waste. Read more here (

  15. SquirrelGardener says:

    Can I put rotten fruit in my bokashi bin? It doesn’t have any mold, and just very acidic (it is watermelon).

    • Nicki Casley says:

      Non-moldy rotten fruit is fine; maybe add an extra tablespoon or two of bokashi bran to be on the safe side as the watermelon sounds like it is close to going moldy. Make sure to drain any liquids before adding it to your bokashi bucket. The bokashi fermenting process is naturally very acidic so the acidity of the fruit is not a problem.

  16. Ellie says:

    Can I add my rabbit droppings, straw and wood shavings to the bucket?

    • Nicki Casley says:

      Hi Ellie,

      Thanks for your question. Yes rabbit droppings, straw and wood shavings can be added to the bucket. However, it won’t add a lot of value to the bokashi compost. We would recommend saving space in your bokashi bucket for high value waste, such as food waste. If you are wanting to make the highest quality compost for your garden we would suggest not adding rabbit bedding. However, if you have the space in your bokashi bucket and you are trying to save it from going into the landfill then, sure, put it in.

      If you have a regular compost pile, it may be easiest to simply add the rabbit bedding and droppings to your compost pile. Or you could use it as mulch around your garden and let it break down that way.

      I will sometimes mix my guinea pigs bedding directly into the soil when I am adding my bokashi pre-compost. Just make sure to mix it in well as the bedding materials can absorb a lot of water and mean that the bokashi pre-compost takes a bit longer to break down.

      Hope that helps,
      Nicki and the Bokashi Living team

  17. Rashmi says:

    i have just started to pile up kitchen scrap into Bokashi bin and add the Bokashi bran on every layer. It will be really helpful if you show some pictures of how the out come of Bokashi pickling.

    • Nicki Casley says:

      Hi Rashmi,

      Great to hear that you have started with your bokashi composting. After the two week fermentation the food scraps may look a bit dull in color with some white mold on the surface. Something like this:
      Bokashi pre-compost ready to be buried

      Bokashi composting is still fairly new to many people here in North America and it can take a couple of cycles to get into the swing of it. Feel free to ask any other questions you may have 🙂
      Happy composting
      Nicki and the Bokashi Living team

  18. Harvie M. says:

    You say that everything can be put in the Bokashi container. Does that include bones?

    • Nicki Casley says:

      Hi Harvie,

      Absolutely! Meat, bones, cooked food… everything can go in your bokashi composter. Bones will take a bit longer to break down, but they will do eventually. You may just dig them up in the garden a few times before they completely break down.

      This blog post looks a little more about whether you want to include bones in your bokashi composter.

      Happy composting 🙂

  19. I keep looking at these and wondering if they’d be a good option for us as we only have a courtyard garden. So no room for a full size composter. I still don’t know what I’d do with the compost though?

    • Nicki Casley says:

      Hi Gina,
      Bokashi composting is a very versatile method and lends itself to many situations. As you are unsure what you will do with the compost, I am assuming that you are interested in bokashi composting as a way to sustainably handle your food waste (please correct me if my assumption is wrong).
      As you may be aware, bokashi composting is a two stage process. The first stage (fermentation) takes place in your bokashi kitchen composter and the second stage requires the bokashi pre-compost to be mixed with garden soil to be broken down into usable compost. This article may be helpful with suggestions on what to do with your bokashi pre-compost if you live in an apartment or condo .
      The suitability of bokashi composting for your lifestyle will depend on how much food waste you produce and whether you can find somewhere locally that would benefit from your bokashi pre-compost.
      Feel free to ask any other questions here. Bokashi composting makes a fantastic use of our food waste. Less waste, more great soil and more opportunities to encourage people to get outside and grow their own flowers and food 🙂
      Happy composting
      Nicki and the Bokashi Living team

      • Peter says:

        Hello, what is the difference berween the existing Bokashi bin and the new Pure Bakashi Bin?


        • Nicki Casley says:

          Hi Peter,

          Thanks for the question. Unfortunately, I do not know what you mean by the ‘new Pure Bakashi Bin’? Please could you provide a link to this product and/or clarify your question.

          Thanks and looking forward to being able to help you out.
          Nicki and the Bokashi Living team

      • Mackenzie Corlett says:

        I keep reading that you should wait two weeks after you bury the pre compost before planting but what do you do during the main season when you have things growing. Are you able to bury the pre compost around the edges of your raised bed or containers ?

        • Nicki Casley says:

          Yes, you can bury the bokashi compost in holes around your garden in exactly the same way as the trench method, just using smaller holes. Or, as you say, you can bury it around the edge of your beds away from your plants’ roots. In the peak growing season, when the soil and plants are active, many people find that they can bury the pre-compost and sow seeds on the surface. By the time the seeds germinate and the roots reach the layer of bokashi pre-compost, it has neutralised and been incorporated in to the soil.

          Alternatively, you can create a soil factory. A soil factory is essentially a large container where you mix the bokashi pre-compost with garden soil. Or add the pre-compost to a compost pile. Or simply save the bokashi pre-compost until you have space to bury it. Lots of options 🙂

          Happy composting

    • Dr Vijaya Joshi says:

      Hi Gina Caro @Gypsy Soul
      You can give it to your neighbours or the school project.
      In courtyard garden, if you have a strip of soil, then burry the food waste there deep but make sure you put bucket or plant pot on top so no animal would dig /excavate it. put in your waste bin, that way it would help to degrade the the waste quickly
      And tea you can throw in sink or toilet to kill all the germs and smell

      Put it in bucket add some soil or coco coir and use for acid loving fruit tree or veg.
      I like challenges and I hope you too as well
      Good luck
      VJ from UK

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