I forgot about a full Bokashi bin, and left it stewing in its own tea for weeks. Upon opening, it is very stinky (has a sewage type smell to it), it is highly liquid, and has larvae. I know that this is a “failed” Bokashi, because it doesn’t smell or look right at all. But do I have to abandon it? Or can I rescue it?
I’ve drained off some of the tea/stinky soup to trap horse flies with, so it’s not a complete waste. But I’d really like to try to revive it and see if I can ferment it when it’s drier. If I keep it drier, can I rescue it and get it to ferment? Is that possible? Or will the microbe balance be too far gone and I’ll just waste my time? Or can I add lots of bran/microbes and dry stuff to it and try to get it to ferment again? Do I need to try to force the pH low so it’s more acidic? Or do I just give up and add it to the compost as is?
Thanks for the question. It definitely sounds like this bin got too damp and failed. Plus, if you are seeing larvae, it suggests that the bin wasn’t completely airtight, therefore allowing the flies to lay eggs and the larvae to survive.
You may be able to recover using the method you suggest (draining and squeezing out lots of the water and adding lots of extra bokashi bran). However, it probably isn’t really worth the effort. Best to just start again. Bokashi composting is quick, so you can have another full bucket of fermented waste in just 2 to 4 weeks.
The contents of the failed bucket can still be buried in your garden. Your soil will benefit from all the nutrients in the food waste. We recommend burying failed bokashi a few inches deeper than usual and mixing in a couple of handfuls of bokashi bran. The failed bucket will take longer to break down than a successful bucket, but it will do eventually.
And don’t forget to give your bucket a good rinse before starting again.
Happy composting 🙂