Why bokashi?

Before you start bokashi composting, it’s useful to understand why bokashi is so beneficial for your plants and gardens. This starts with knowing what makes a healthy soil structure, how it affects your plant roots, and where bokashi fits into it all.

Armed with this knowledge, our hope is that you will be motivated to bokashi compost on an ongoing basis. In doing so, you are creating better soil in your garden. Soil that is healthy, live, organic, and ideal for plant health and vitality.

What is healthy soil structure?

Compost teeming with life and worms made from bokashi compost

In a nutshell, healthy soil is soil that is full of life, and plenty of organic matter for that life to feed off. This life consists of macrobes and microbes. Macrobes are the visible life, think worms and bugs and such. Microbes are the invisible life, consisting of bacterias, yeasts and fungi. These living organisms form the soil web, each contributing in its own special way to the success of them all. But, as with most life on earth, it’s the smallest creatures at the bottom of the food chain that are the key ones. And in the soil’s case, these key creatures are the microbes. Healthy soil begins with microbes. If soil has plenty of them, the rest of the life will happily come and join them.

How do plants feed themselves?

This process might surprise you. Soil biologists have recently discovered what is perhaps the most amazing symbiotic relationship in nature. And that is the relationship between plant roots and microbes.

Until recently, plant roots were considered to be a one way highway – where water and nutrients are simply directed upwards through the plant roots. But this is not at all the case. Modern soil biologists have determined that plant roots are actually a two way system. In fact, plants send almost 40% of their energy down into their roots. This energy is released, all around the root zone, in the form of sugary carbohydrates. These carbohydrates are called exudates. These exudates have the specific purpose of attracting microbes to the plants roots. A healthy plant, in healthy soil, will have microbes thriving all around its root zone. And it is these microbes, through their digesting of the minerals and nutrients from the soil, that actually feed the plants.

This is the symbiotic relationship: plants feed the microbes, and in turn the microbes feed the plants. This is nature’s natural process and has been refined and perfected over millennia. As a result, if the soil is lacking in microbes, then the plants will necessarily suffer too.

The problem with today’s soilsPesticide use

Lately, we’ve gotten off track from this natural process. Industrial farming techniques have made it into the home garden, in the form of store bought chemical and synthetic fertilizers. These products are attractively labeled, and heavily promoted by the companies behind them. And yes, they do feed plants. But, because they are sulfate (salt) based, they actually serve to kill off the soil microbes, destroying the healthy soil structure that our plants need and prefer. (The runoff from the global over-use of these fertilizers is creating its own set of problems too.)

Simply put, using these chemical fertilizers in the garden effectively creates dead soil, resulting in plants that become dependent on more and more of these fertilizers simply to survive. This is a dangerous and unnecessary cycle. And, if you grow vegetables to eat, also increasingly considered an unhealthy one.

What is bokashi composting?

Adding food waste to bokashi composter

Bokashi composting is simply a process of using your valuable food waste to generate garden friendly microbes, yeast, and fungi (all of which are contained in a dormant state within the Bokashi bran). These microbes come alive and multiply when they are added to your food waste. When the bokashi’d food waste (pre-compost) is dug into your garden these garden-friendly microbes immediately benefit the soil structure and plants living in it.

As a home owner, Bokashi is your ideal tool for creating microbe rich compost. Above all, adding quality compost to our soils is perhaps the only task we really need to focus on as gardeners. If we do that, then the microbes in our soil will thrive, resulting in plants that develop stronger root structures, and have better growth, nutrition and resistance to pests and disease.

The key to the Bokashi process is fermentation. In using the Bokashi bin, you are in effect rapidly fermenting your food waste, and in doing so converting it to a microbe rich format that becomes extremely accessible to your soil ecology and plant roots. In just two weeks after burying your fermented food waste in your garden, it will be assimilated into the surrounding soil web, where it will benefit everything from microbes to macrobes, and in turn the plants themselves. The more you do this, the better and more natural your garden will become.

Remember, we depend on plants, plants depend on soil, and healthy soil depends on microbes.

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

2 thoughts on “Why bokashi?

  1. I make my own compost from vegetable scraps and ashes from leaves and wood limbs I burn from cleaning my yard. I never use dairy products or leftover meats from the dinner table. I try to keep the compost pile moist but not soaking wet and turn it ever so often. My bin is approximately 8X8 ft. made with cattle wire from Tractor Supply and chicken wire to keep out pets and animals. It must work pretty well because I have a good crop of earth worms. My soil in my lawn is quite sandy so I use it more in my lawn than I do in my raised bed garden. My wife and I raise peppers for canning each summer and we use Miracle Grow potting soil for raised bed gardening for that purpose. I am interesting in learning more about bokashi composting for both projects if it will serve my needs.

    1. Hi Ben,

      Thanks for your questions. It sounds like you have a great composting system already established and bokashi composting will complement your set up in a few ways:

      1. Adding bokashi composting will allow you to compost all of your food waste, including meat, dairy and cooked food.
      2. Composting more food waste will hopefully remove the need to buy bagged compost (and will save valuable food waste being sent to landfill)
      3. Bokashi composting is teeming with microbes which are hugely beneficial to your garden. Your lawn and raised beds will love the extra boost.
      4. A by-product of bokashi composting, is bokashi tea. This tea can be used as a fertilizer on lawns, gardens and indoor plants.

      Bokashi composting is a very versatile system. The food waste is fermented in the bokashi bucket for at least 2 weeks, and then the fermented food waste (bokashi pre-compost) needs to be mixed with soil to complete the composting process. The bokashi pre-compost can be buried directly in the soil (which you may choose to do when you have space in your raised beds) or can be added to traditional compost piles (this approach would likely work well for you). The boakshi pre-compost will give a boost to your compost pile. Many people have seen better rates of composting and have even seen failing compost piles recover after bokashi pre-compost is added.

      I hope the above is useful. Take a look around this site as there is loads of information on bokashi composting and feel free to ask any other questions you may have.

      Happy composting,
      the Bokashi Living team

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