What is Bokashi Composting?
Bokashi composting is an ancient fermentation process that originated in Asia approximately 200 years ago! The process uses inoculated bran in a specially designed bin to break down and ferment food waste. The bran accelerates the breakdown of food waste and rebalances its pH, turning it into a nutrient-rich soil builder.
Bokashi itself is a dry blend of natural bran, molasses and EM Bacteria (Effective Microorganisms). EM bacteria are a combination of various common microorganisms, most of which are anaerobic (meaning they don’t need oxygen to survive). The reason why EM are so effective in composting is because they contain specific bacteria that have the ability to ferment organic substances. These bacteria include lactic acid bacteria, yeast, and phototrophic bacteria.
How Does it Work?
It all sounds very complex and scientific, however, the actual process couldn’t be simpler! All you need to get started is:
- Food scraps
- Bokashi Bran
- Compost Bucket (ideally one specifically for bokashi composting as they have a spout for draining the liquid produced during fermentation)
Once you have all the equipment, you’re ready to begin composting. Here is a quick step by step guide for bokashi composting:
Bokashi Composting: Step by step Instructions:
Step 1: Spread approximately 65g of bokashi bran on the bottom of your bucket prior to adding food scraps.
Step 2: Add food scraps. For every 2”(roughly) of food waste, sprinkle some fresh bokashi bran onto the top.
Step 3: Continue these steps until your bucket is full. Then leave the bucket unopened for two weeks to allow the fermentation process to take place.
Step 4: The fermentation process produces bokashi liquid which will need to be drained every couple of days (this is why it’s better to have a bucket specifically designed for bokashi composting).
Step 5: Once the two weeks are up, it’s time to remove the leftovers from the bucket. These leftovers can either be added to regular compost (because they are already fermented, they will break down very quickly) or they can simply be buried in your garden.
Ok, now that we know the basics of bokashi composting, let’s look at some reasons why you should give it a try.
5 Benefits of Bokashi Composting:
Bokashi composting has many advantages over regular composting. Here are some of the most compelling benefits:
1. Faster than Regular Composting
The microorganisms contained in bokashi bran greatly speed up the breakdown of food waste, making it a much faster process to regular composting. Traditional composting can take anywhere up to 6 months to break down, whereas bokashi composting takes between 2-4 weeks.
While bokashi compost isn’t entirely odorless (it has a vinegary smell), its scent is a lot more pleasant than regular composting.This is because the EM in bokashi bran suppress putrefying bacteria during the fermentation process. It is the slow putrefaction (decay) of food waste that causes regular compost to smell so bad.
3. Better for the Environment
The decomposition process of regular composting releases CO2 (in the same way that we release CO2 when we exhale) and other gasses such as methane and nitrous oxide. In comparison, bokashi composting does not produce any gasses during the fermentation process. This is because it is stored in an airtight bucket and does not require oxygen. The absence of oxygen means that the food scraps cannot be completely broken down into CO2.
4. Pest Control
Bokashi composting does not attract pests or insects in the same way that normal composting does. There two main reason for this:
- It is stored in an airtight bucket, meaning scavengers cannot pick up on the smell.
- The byproduct of bokashi composting is extremely acidic which deters insects and flies.
5. More Versatile than Regular Composting
Thanks to its sealed bucket, you can add most types of kitchen food waste to your bokashi compost (with the exception of rotting food). Unlike regular compost bins, you can put cooked and uncooked meat and fish into your bokashi bucket because its airtight environment ensures that it will not attract pests such as rats.
Bokashi bran has many benefits other than composting, such as:
As we mentioned above, bokashi composting produces a concentrated liquid, this liquid can be used as a natural alternative to chemical fertilizers. Find out how to make compost tea in our blog ‘Bokashi Compost Tea – DIY Natural Fertilizer’.
Bokashi bran is packed full of natural nutrients, making it the perfect addition to your soil. By adding the bran to your garden, you will improve the structure of the soil in your plant bedding.
Add to Animal Feed:
If you have livestock such as chickens, you can actually mix bokashi bran in with their feed to improve the odour of their manure.The bran introduces beneficial bacteria into their gut. The lactic acid bacteria in bokashi bran is extremely efficient at reducing odour which means that once it goes through their gut, their manure will not smell as bad.
If you want to get started with bokashi composting, take a look at our essential products here.