‘Doing’ Bokashi


Recently, I posted about the value of Bokashi liquid . I had a couple of inquiries, about how I do my Bokashi composting, so I thought I’d expand with this rough guide.

The Bokashi system of composting is an anaerobic (without air) system of composting. It utilizes the services of different microbes than are found in your well turned compost heap or bin.

Bokashi is, essentially, a fermentation system. It has more in common with sauerkraut or the dark, wet bad smelling organic material that sits in waterlogged areas and unturned bins. Saying that makes it sound bad, but I thought I’d get that idea out of the way.

Yes, it does contain anaerobic microbes, but the Bokashi system is designed for indoor use and has much less smell that the traditional kitchen scraps bucket that may be sitting by your sink right now. It attracts fewer flies too, as it is sealed and airtight. Actually, it is safe to say that it doesn’t attract flies at all… when it’s closed.

Added to those benefits is the fact that it can handle meat and citrus. Actually, the claims I saw for that are a bit exaggerated. The claim that it handles meat seems due more to that fact that the lid is closed most of the time and the meat buried in lots of fresh smelling (?) scraps.

So, what is the best way I’ve found to ‘do’ Bokashi? Here’s my method…

The Maze Indooor Composter was the only kit available at the local hardware store, but I’m happy that I bought one. It’s made from a tough plastic, has a strong handle and well fitting lid, and a sturdy, easy to turn tap. Inside it has a perforated tray and comes with a scoop a presser.

 

The Maze indoor composting system
The Maze indoor composting system

 

 

 

To make your Bokashi –

Start by moistening the bin, then add a couple of scoops of Bokashi bran.

 

A layer of bran in the bottom
A layer of bran in the bottom of the Bokashi bin.

 

Add a layer of scraps. Make sure they’re well mixed. The Bokashi system handles citrus and meat better than aerobic composting. Make sure they’re packed tightly to expel air wherever possible.

 

Scraps covered by bran.
Kitchen scraps covered by Bokashi bran

 

When the scraps have been placed in the bin, add a scoopful of Bokashi bran to it. If you have the Bokashi EM1 liquid, a couple of sprays of this will do instead of the bran. I find the bran better to use, plus I can make it myself.

 

Pressing down the layers
Pressing down the layers of scraps and bran.

 

The last step when adding scraps and bran is to push down the mix. This helps expel air and gets the microbes in contact with the scraps and presses out liquid.

Bokashi composting is an anaerobic system, so it is best to expel as much air as possible from the bin. I keep a week or so worth of bran in a Ziploc bag on top of the scraps to help fill the space. One benefit – as the level of the scraps gets higher, the bag gets emptier and smaller.

 

keeping out the air
I use a bag of the bran to help fill the space and expel the air from the bin

 

As I mentioned before, the Bokashi compost needs a little time before adding it to the garden, compost heap, or the worms. Generally, it must sit for a week or so before using it for its next application.

I keep two 20 liter buckets to put my Bokashi in. I fill one from a couple of Bokashi bins as they fill up. It usually takes two weeks to fill one of the white buckets at our normal level of scrap ‘production’.

When the first bucket is full, I start on the second. The two weeks that this takes to fill is enough time to let the first bucket ‘mature’. I empty this bucket to where it must go, give it a good hose out and start filling this one when the next Bokashi bin is full. I don’t scrub it out with soaps or the like, as I work on the assumption that there’s always going to be some live micro-organisms left if I don’t.

 

Bins for weeks 1 and 2
Bins for weeks 1 and 2

 

The liquid must be drained from the bin periodically or it can make the system too wet. It’s full of beneficial microbes and has a wide range of uses itself (see my post on Bokashi Liquid).

 

bokashi liquid
Some liquid gold from the Bokashi bin (don’t worry about the label. Its the only bottle I had!

 

Soon I will be posting an article on making your own, home made Bokashi bran, just like in the bucket below, as well as an article on the uses of Bokashi compost.

 

my bucket of homemade Bokashi bran
My bucket of home made Bokashi bran

 

There’s more intereting Bokashi stuff on our Bokashi Composting page.

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