What is Bokashi Fermenting
Bokashi fermentation is a pickling process. Just like a pickle or pickled onion still looks like it did before pickling, so will your organic waste look as if nothing has happened after fermenting it for 2 weeks. It is however structurally and chemically quite changed.
Nutrient rich compost in less than half the time of composting
Can smell really bad
No unpleasant smell
Waste end product far richer in organic content and nutrients
Produces Greenhouse gases
No greenhouse gases
May create heat
Does not create heat
Mass is reduce by more than 50%
Mass stays virtually unchanged
Moisture content is much higher so the soil does not dry out
Nutrient are water soluble
Nutrients not as water soluble and less prone to leaching away with watering and run-off after rains.
Attracts wild life
Does not attract wild life
How To Create Bokashi On A Budget
- Buckets/pails with a good fitting lid either with or without a spigit
- Plastic bag
- A bottle with a lid
- Rubber gloves
- Fresh food leftovers (anything edible, including meat, fatty foods, dairy, baking, cooked foods, tea bags, coffee grounds, fish, bones etc)
- One or a combination of the following;
- whey from either plain yogurt or kefir milk
- outdated plain yogurt or kefir milk
- soured milk
- leftover brine from raw sauerkraut or other cultured foods
- leftover kombucha scobies
- leftover kombucha
- fermented soaking water from grains/rice
- bokashi liquid drained from a earlier batch
- any kind of product of which you know to contain lactobacillus
- Put on your rubber gloves and make sure you have all your equipment and ingredients close by
- Take your compost pail and add the culture to your fresh food leftovers. (The amount depends on how much waste you have, but the idea is that it will coat most of the food scraps when mixed)
- Mix your culture together with your food scraps so that most of them will be nicely coated. If the scraps are too dry, just add a little more to the mix. (This is really important for your first batch. You want to make sure your batch is well inoculated)
- Take your mix and put into your bokashi bucket.
- Press out most of the air.
- Cover the mix with a plastic bag to cover the whole area and close the lid
- Put the bucket in an out of the way area where it is at room temperature, but out of sunlight as UV rays will kill the bacteria.
- When you are ready to add your second compost layer to the bokashi pail try to first drain some of the liquid by tipping the pail and hold it over the bottle.
- Add your food scraps (mixed with the culture) every day to every other day. When your bucket is about full allow the bucket to ferment for the next 2 weeks or more
- When the bokashi has fermented for about 2 weeks you can dig in your bokashi
What’s the best way to add it to my garden?
- Dig a hole or trench approximately 20-25 cms deep. Add your Bokashi Compost and mix in some soil. Cover with remaining soil.
- For established gardens, dig the holes around plants or between rows of trees.
- Create a “Bokashi compost heap” by burying a large plastic bucket with its bottom cut out and a good lid (30 litres and above is ideal) up to its neck. Mix a little soil to each batch of Bokashi Compost that you place into the bucket, and replace the lid.
TIP - Bokashi waste can be also be added to a conventional compost bin or a worm farm.
Some things to remember
- Fermenting in an anaerobic process and so the more air is left the longer it takes for the bacteria to get a hold
- You need enough culture in a batch to get the fermenting started.
- If you end up with a rotting smell you have not added enough culture…..add some more.
- If you end up with another colour mold on the surface than white you did not add enough culture…..add some more
- If either of the above remedies do not work, take your batch to your outdoor compost heap or dig it into the ground/garden and start with a fresh batch
- The liquid you will drain out of the bokashi pails can be used as compost tea, but make sure to dilute 1 cup of tea to 5 gallons of water or you can poor it through your drain to keep the drain free from clogging.
- If your first batch turned out really well, add some of that bokashi tea culture to your future batches to get it started
- The compost tea that comes out of the bokashi pail may be fairly stringy or not at all. You may add some of the food scraps by mistakes, but all this is fine. Sometimes the bokashi is so dry that there is no compost tea
- The compost tea in the bottle may create the white fungus and that is a perfect compost tea that you can also use to inoculate your food scraps with. So never use it all up in your plants, always keep some behind in case.
- If you forget to drain your bokashi you may end up with some of it oozing out of the pail when the pail is full. For that reason make sure to have a rag under that pail so that you don’t have a big clean up
- Always record the date for you to dig in the bokashi
- Don’t use pails that, when full, are too heavy to carry.