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Bokashi at Home

What is Bokashi?

Bokashi is a Japanese word meaning “fermenting organic matter.” Dr. Teuro Higa developed this method of layering kitchen scraps (fruits, vegetables, meat, and dairy food waste) with a Bokashi inoculant, Bokashi Bran, in a special Bokashi Bucket.

This same Bokashi layering cycle can be used for agricultural waste, called Bokashi heaps, converting manure into a high-value biologically active product.

Why is Bokashi a BIG DEAL?

Within agriculture and horticulture, there is no other sustainable method of getting as much as possible out of the soil as Bokashi.

For your home

  • No smells because friendly, safe bacteria is used
  • No flies because the Bokashi Bucket has an air-tight seal
  • Small and compact, so slots neatly into any kitchen
  • Meat, fish, and dairy products can all be safely composted
  • Bokashi juice, the liquid fertiliser by-product, will give your house plants a boost
  • Your house plants will thrive when planted with Bokashi

For your garden

  • Bokashi has a higher nutritional value than organic substances that are not fermented.
  • Bokashi is a source of nourishment for micro-organisms that grow in the soil.
  • Bokashi micro-organisms establish themselves permanently in the soil.
  • Once there, these micro-organisms multiply and then dominate harmful bacteria, viruses, and fungi present in the soil.
  • Soil that initially was a potential cause of disease is now turned into a disease suppressing soil.

For your planet

  • The bokashi technology binds 27 times more greenhouse gases than traditional compost.
  • Part of a low impact living solution by recycling and redirecting food waste away from landfill

How is Bokashi made?

We recommend that you read your Bokashi Instructions carefully before starting.

Bokashi technology is an easy way to compost your kitchen waste directly in the kitchen, without foul smells. After the waste has fermented in the bucket for about two weeks, it is buried in the soil for another 2-3 weeks and can then be used to nourish your entire garden. Your efforts contribute positively to the environment by increasing the soil’s micro-life and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The Bokashi Bucket is a compost bin for organic kitchen waste stored at room temperature, for example, under the kitchen counter or in a cupboard. It should not be stored outdoors or in direct sunlight.

Step 1

Place approx.—1 tablespoon of Bokashi Bran in the bottom of the bucket.

Step 2

Pour food waste into the bucket. Tip: chop more extensive leftover food into smaller pieces (approx. 2-4 cm).

Step 3

Sprinkle a layer of Bokashi Bran over the kitchen waste. Dosage: 1-2 tablespoons per kilo of kitchen waste.

Step 4

Compress the organic material. The bucket should be filled compact as possible as the fermentation process is anaerobic (without air).

Step 5

Close the bucket with the lid make sure it is airtight. When the bucket is full, let it stand at room temperature for about two weeks.

Step 6

Drain the collected Bokashi juice by opening the tap. Empty every 3-5 days. The amount of liquid and colour depends on the type of waste.

Step 7

Once the bucket has rested for about two weeks. You can bury it in the soil. It is then converted to nutrient-rich compost soil after about 2-3 weeks.

Note that the contents should have a sweet and sour smell and look the same after a few weeks. There will be no soil in the bucket; this happens later when the Bokashi has been buried in the ground.

What waste can be used in the bucket?

Almost all organic waste. Fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, pasta, rice, bread, coffee grounds, sweets, cheese, and tea bags. Also, flower stems, leaves, and twigs from the garden. Household paper and paper napkins in small quantities are ok. Avoid oils, liquids, and larger bones.

We recommend you use a separate Bokashi Bucket, but why not start converting your very own pet poop into nutrient-rich soil for your garden! Yes, it’s a great way to clear your garden your cat litter box and dispose of that daily walk poos out of their bags*. Follow the same layering process with Bokashi Bran, including a scoop of sawdust or carbon-based product.

*Unfortunately, bags are not a carbon source, so they cannot be deposited in the Bokashi Bin.

EM in Bokashi Bran

Our Bokashi Bran is fermented with Effective Micro-organisms (EM) these ensure:

  • The production of all kinds of critical bio-active substances such as enzymes, natural antibiotics, growth hormones, vitamins, and antioxidants.
  • A shift towards an increasingly disease-suppressive soil.
  • Increased microbial diversity and activity.

How does it work?

  • There is a collaboration between food waste and microorganisms.
  • The food waste feeds the microorganisms, which double in size and then divide into two.
  • Kitchen waste ferments rather than ‘rots’…just like when pickling vegetables.
  • During the process, several enzymes, vitamins, antioxidants, amino acids, trace elements, plant hormones, and organic acids are created.
  • When the waste has been wholly fermented and buried in the soil, worms, insects, and soil bacteria take over and turn the food waste into the soil in an accelerated form of composting.
  • Microbial life in the soil increases and creates more readily available nutrients.

What can I do with the Bokashi while it’s fermenting?

Draw off the liquid that has accumulated in the base of the bucket. This can then be used as plant feed for house and garden plants. Or alternatively poured undiluted down the sink to clear pipes.

Dilute the liquid for plant feed

During the fermentation process, the liquid drained from the bucket is a valuable concentrated nutrient. However, it is far too acidic and strong to be used directly and needs to be diluted with water before it can be used for irrigation.

  • Dosage: Dilute 1: 100 for the kitchen garden and ordinary potted plants (1 dl liquid to 10L water).
  • Dilute 1: 1000 for sensitive plants and seedlings. Use the liquid as soon as possible.

Tip: store in PET bottles in the freezer.

I’ve made my Bokashi; what now?

Congratulations, you’ve made your first Bokashi, and you’re ready to use it in your garden to enrich your soil.

  • Drain off the excess juice before you tip your waste; the mixture can be too acidic for your plants. Remember, Bokashi juice is potent stuff and needs to be diluted 1 part juice to 100 parts water before being used as a plant feed.
  • Dig your Bokashi straight into the garden. All you need to do is dig a trench about 1 metre wide by 40 cm deep for a full bucket.
  • Empty the contents and spread evenly; ideally, it should be spread around 1 inch thick.
  • Try not to empty it too near plant and tree roots as the newly fermented compost is quite acidic. It does lose acidity after being buried.
  • Cover with around 3 to 4 inches of soil and forget about it!
  • After about 4 to 6 weeks, your Bokashi compost should be completely broken down, and you will find rich, dark brown soil to plant into or transfer to other parts of your garden. During colder temperatures, this may take longer.
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