Has my food waste been in my bokashi bucket for too long?
I have left the food waste in the bokashi bin for 3 or 4 months. I have not even opened it or drained it and it is completely full of food waste. What do I do?
Thanks for the question. My initial guess is that everything will be fine. Once the fermentation is complete, the bokashi microbes will go dormant and you can leave your full bucket until you are ready to use it. However, as you have not drained the tea, the moisture levels may have built up and the bin may have gone bad. If so, its not a big deal.
Either way, the first thing to do is to open the bin and take a look and a smell.
What does it smell like? Is there any mold? Is it sweet and pickly, or does it smell putrid and rotten? Is the mold blue/green or white? If it smells sweet and pickly maybe with white mold, then everything is fine 🙂 Drain the tea, bury your pre-compost and start filling your bucket again.
If the contents smell putrid and there is blue/green mold on the surface, then the bin has failed. Likely from build up of too much liquid. Don’t worry. You can still bury this in the garden just bury it a bit deeper and add a generous few handfuls of bokashi bran when you bury it. It will still add goodness to your soil but a failed bin will take longer to break down, will smell nasty and may attract pests. Alternatively you can dump this in the garbage (or organic collection bin) and pencil it up to lessons learnt and move on. More about what to do with a failed bin here – https://bokashiliving.com/help-my-bokashi-composter-stinks/
Hope that helps. Let us know if we can help further.
Nicki and the Bokashi Living team
Intuitevely, I would disarm the failed compost by letting it dry out in the air and sun, instead of burying it in the healthy ground.
If the bokashi compost has failed, leaving it to dry out could work but this could also be a very smelly process for you and your neighbours as a failed bucket can smell pretty bad. Our recommended approach for a failed bucket is to either put it in the trash or, ideally, to bury it deep and add extra bokashi bran. The bokashi microbes and the soil food web will help the failed compost assimilate with the surrounding soil.