Hi – we are using the bokashi to collect food scraps and tissues in the classroom. However, it does not seem to be breaking down and we haven’t produced any ‘juice’. I am not sure if we are maybe not using enough grains? Instructions say to use a light layer. Can you please advise. Thank you
Great to hear that you are using bokashi in your classroom. It really is a great way to teach children the benefits of saving their food waste and appreciating healthy soils.
In answer to your questions, the food scraps in your bokashi bucket will not look like traditional dark brown soil-like compost. If everything is working properly, your bokashi bucket should have a sweet pickly smell and there may be signs of white mold on the surface. Signs of a failed bin are a foul putrid odor and/or blue/green mold on the food. What does your bin smell like? Is there any mold?
A bit more information about what you are looking for in a successful bin here: https://bokashiliving.com/successful-bokashi-bin-look-like/
In answer to your question about the bokashi tea. The amount of tea will depend on the types of food waste in your bokashi bucket. Fruit and vegetable peelings (with lots of liquid in them) will produce more bokashi tea than drier materials. Not getting tea, does not mean that your bokashi composting has failed. Try tilting your bin. Do you hear any liquid slopping about? If so, maybe the holes in your drain plate or your spigot has become blocked.
Finally, how much bran to add? We recommend using 1 to 2 tablespoons of bokashi bran for each inch of food waste. But, remember, you can never add too much bran. Be more generous with the bran if you are adding harder to compost scraps such as cooked food, meat, or bones.
Hopefully that helps. Happy to answer any follow-on questions.